Savouring the Balance: Understanding How Salt Intake Affects Your Baby's Gum Health

Savouring the Balance: Understanding How Salt Intake Affects Your Baby's Gum Health

Salt is a common ingredient overwhelmingly used to enhance the flavour of our favourite dishes. While salt is an essential component of our diet, excessive intake can have plenty of adverse effects on our health, including negative effects on our teeth and gums.

The biggest effect of excessive salt on our oral health is the increased risk of developing gum disease. Since this link is not well-known, this article seeks to explore and understand how salt consumption and gum disease are connected. We will also explore how maintaining a balanced approach to salt consumption can contribute to better oral health.

The Link Between Salt and Gum Disease

Before we learn how to maintain the balance between enjoying salt in our diet and good oral health, we need to understand how the two are linked.

First off, we need to know more about gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. This fairly common oral condition is diagnosed due to its characteristics of inflamed gums and tissue damage where the teeth enjoy the most support. Gum disease is generally caused by the build-up of plaque along the gumline, the sticky film of bacteria that is usually removed during brushing. Thus, poor oral hygiene is often the cause of gum disease. However, dietary factors like excessive salt are also thought to play a role in enhancing gum disease.

Beyond high blood pressure or weight gain, eating too much salt can also lead to dehydration. By affecting the saliva production in the mouth, its crucial process of washing away food particles, remineralising tooth enamel, and neutralising acids is interrupted. Compromisation of this process can allow harmful bacteria in the mouth to grow and develop, increasing the risk of gum disease and tooth decay.

Additionally, high salt intake has already been linked to systematic inflammation, which can also exacerbate existing gum inflammation and contribute to the progression of gum disease. This is because chronic inflammation throughout the body weakens the immune system and thus impairs the body’s ability to fight off infections, including those that affect the gums.

Maintaining a Balance in Salt Consumption

It is obvious that, despite its role as an essential nutrient for our body’s functionality, and overall deliciousness, salt should be consumed in moderation. Otherwise, various adverse health effects, including increased risk of gum disease, are possible.

For adults, it is advised that no more than 2,000 milligrams of sodium are consumed in a day. This is the equivalent of around 5 grams of salt or a single teaspoon. Maintaining a daily intake around these boundaries can help promote better oral health.

To help reduce salt intake in daily life, individuals can attempt the following:

  • Read Food Labels: It is not uncommon for processed and packaged foods to have high levels of sodium. Take the time to read any food labels of such products carefully and choose low-sodium or salt-free alternatives whenever possible.
  • Cook at Home: Cooking meals at home from scratch is an easy way to control the amount of salt added to the dishes you regularly eat. Instead of more salt, try experimenting with other flavours, spices, and herbs to enhance the taste of your meals.
  • Limit Processed Foods: We already know processed foods tend to have a higher amount of sodium, so try to limit the amount of processed meats, sauces, snacks, and canned goods in your diet. Look to fresh, whole foods whenever possible instead.
  • Rinse Canned Foods: In the case that you do use canned foods in your meals, such as beans or vegetables, be sure to rinse them thoroughly under running water to remove excess salt.
  • Be Mindful of Condiments: Surprisingly, condiments have a high amount of sodium. This means condiments like ketchup, salad dressings, and soy sauces should be used sparingly or swapped for low-sodium alternatives.
  • Encourage healthy eating within the household: If you have little ones in your home, encouraging healthy eating from the get-go, including balanced salt consumption, can help teach them correct behaviours for the future. Encouraging others in the household to follow healthy eating habits around salt can also help keep your diet on track.

Continuing to maintain good oral health practices is also crucial for limiting the harmful effects of excessive salt consumption. Brushing and flossing twice a day, while also using a mouthwash can help keep your teeth clean and prevent gum disease. Even diabetes patients can utilise mouth rinse to help treat gum disease, indicating that there are always dentistry tools to support cleanliness, even if an individual is dealing with unique conditions.


In the end, there are plenty of aspects of health that depend on a balanced approach to salt intake. Its effects on oral health are just one of the lesser-known ones, which should be addressed to reduce the amount of gum disease cases caused by salt consumption. By taking the time to reduce salt intake and look towards healthier eating habits, it is possible for individuals to experience better oral health and a lesser risk of developing gum disease. Remember, savouring the balance in salt consumption can lead to a happier, healthier smile.