Howard Thomas: Let’s talk about salt

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Curaprox’s Howard Thomas says it’s time for dental professionals to talk about salt

Sugar is public enemy number one for the dental profession, however, it’s also important to consider the impact salt can have on oral health. Research suggests that when too much of the sodium found in salt is ingested there can be negative effects for patients.

One of the biggest problems for patients with a salt-rich diet is the impact sodium can have on calcium. Research conducted by medical researchers at the University of Alberta [1] found that when sodium levels in the body become too high, the body’s instant reaction is to dispose of it through urine.

Because calcium is excreted with sodium through the shared transport proteins in the kidney, high-salt diets automatically result in increased calcium excretion. But what has this to do with dentistry?

The link between low calcium and bone loss is well established [2] and dental studies demonstrate the potential correlation between osteoporosis and oral bone loss [3] . Therefore, if patients experience considerable calcium loss due to excessive sodium intake, we can posit an increased risk of tooth loss.

Salt can also raise blood pressure leading to hypertension [4], and because research also suggests gingival and periodontal disease is associated with hypertension [5] patients with a sodium-rich diet could be at higher risk of oral manifestations.

The latest findings indicate that a UK adult’s average intake of salt per day is 8.1g [6], which is 2.1g above the recommended allowance, which is extremely disconcerting given the research available.

And we can’t just blame this situation on a lack of understanding about the dangers of sodium but must also point the finger of blame at the high salt content in popular foods. People might be ingesting salt without knowing it.

With all this in mind, it is clear that when educating patients about the importance of a healthy, balanced diet there is the need for a greater focus on reducing salt intake while explaining the potential effects of excessive sodium. Sugar might be viewed as the main culprit for dental damage, but salt can also be damaging – and that message needs to be passed on to patients.

Quality oral hygiene advice is essential too, especially for patients suffering from problems such as periodontal disease. Curapox offers a complete range of products to help patients complete their daily oral regimen safely, gently, and effectively, including the CS 5460 manual toothbrush with ultra-fine CUREN® filaments.

In conclusion we can advise that clear guidance about the right techniques for oral hygiene – allied with sound dietary advice – make it possible to reduce the effects of sodium on your patients’ oral health.

For more information about the Curaprox range call 01480 862084, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or visit www.curaprox.co.uk 

References:
1] University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. "Diets high in salt could deplete calcium in the body." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 July 2012. Accessed online at www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120724131604.htm 

2] NIH Osteoporosis and related bone diseases national resource center: Osteoporosis overview. Accessed online March 2018 at https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/osteoporosis/overview 

3] Jeffcoat M. The Association Between Osteoporosis and Oral Bone Loss. Journal of Periodontology. 2005; 76 (11-s): 2125-2132. Accessed online March 2018 at http://www.joponline.org/doi/abs/10.1902/jop.2005.76.11-S.2125 

4] Blood Pressure UK: Salt’s effects on your body. Accessed online March 2018 at http://www.bloodpressureuk.org/microsites/salt/Home/Whysaltisbad/Saltseffects

5] Kumar P, Mastan KMK, Chowdhary R, Shanmugam K. Oral manifestations in hypertensive patients: A clinical study. J Oral Maxillofac Pathol. 2012; 16(2): 215-221. Accessed online March 2018 at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3424937/ 

6] National Diet and Nutrition Survey: Assessment of Dietary Sodium Levels Among Adults (aged 19-64) in England, 2011. Accessed online March 2018 at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/assessment-of-dietary-sodium-levels-among-adults-aged-19-64-in-england-2011 

Photo by Christopher Flowers on Unsplash