Most parents think that sugar is the worst enemy of the teeth. Acid-producing bacteria devour on sugar and produce damaging acids that attack the tooth enamel. But did you know that sodium can also affect oral health?
How Salt Causes Tooth Decay
You might be wondering how salt can cause damage to your dental health. While salt itself doesn’t damage tooth enamel, simple carbohydrates and sodium usually come together, particularly on processed foods.
Just like sugar, bacteria inside the mouth feast on the simple carbs and produce acids when you consume food containing carbohydrates. When acids remain in the mouth for longer period, the more time it damages the enamel.
Many people, including children, consume more salt than needed.
· Fast food such as pizza and pasta often contain lots of salt.
· Many processed foods have salt in them.
· Packet foods such as corn chips, potato chips and even crackers contain excessive salt.
· Canned foods often have salt.
Although most of these food are low in sugar, the starches they contain are broken down my mouth enzymes into simple sugar. Simple sugar produce the same damaging effects as sugar would.
Other Hidden Dangers of Excessive Salt Intakes
Sodium may be directly damage the teeth, leading to cavities, but a sodium-rich diet can actually weaken the teeth. Like the bones, your teeth depend on calcium for strength and structure. A diet high in sodium has been found to reduce the level of calcium in the body. Since sodium increases urine output, many minerals, including calcium and potassium get excreted through urine. This leads to osteoporosis and even tooth loss.
How Much Salt Does My Child Need?
The daily suggested intake of salt depends on the child’s age:
· For 1 to 3 years old, 2 grams of salt per day
· For 4 to 6 years old, 3 grams
· For 7 to 10 years old, 5 grams
· For 11 and up – 6 grams
No matter what your diet would be, it is important that you maintain your kid’s daily oral hygiene, including dental checkups and cleanings.