Does salt water erode tooth enamel?


You have a lot of information on the site about lemon water hurting tooth enamel, but I've heard that some people think salt water can do the same. ( I use sole in the morning and put Himalayan salt in my water throughout the day.)

Do you happen to know if it can hurt enamel?

Thank you so much!


Hi Jerry, I have heard a few dentists say that salt water is acidic so it does have the potential for wearing down tooth enamel.

However, I believe it really depends on how much natural salt is in the drinking water and how long it sits in one's mouth.

Most of the dentist's comments I have heard or read about have been in relation to salt water mouth rinses.

A typical salt water mouth rinse uses about 1 teaspoon of salt to 8 ounces of water. So that is a fairly high concentration of salt.

A salt water mouth rinse would be similar to the concentration of lemon water we recommend drinking, which is one-fourth to one-half fresh-squeezed lemon (about 1 teaspoon) in 8 to 12 ounces of water.

If I get inspired to test the pH of both a glass of lemon water and salt water (mouth rinse recipe), I will come back here and comment! But I suspect the above recipe for lemon water is actually more acidic than the one for a salt water mouth rinse. That is why I caution people about drinking too much lemon water without taking precautions for protecting tooth enamel.

So, I don't know how much Himalayan salt you are adding to your drinking water, but I usually recommend adding no more than about one-fourth to one-half teaspoon of natural, unrefined salt (such as Himalayan or Celtic salt) per quart of water.

Obviously this salt water dilution is significantly more dilute than the salt water mouth rinse mentioned above.

In addition, most of us probably do not hold or swish our drinking water (with added salt) in our mouths, as we would a mouth rinse.

In summary, I do not think that drinking water with a small amount of added Himalayan salt (per recommendation above) will damage the enamel of one's teeth.

Hope this helps!

Nancy Hearn, CNC

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Mar 16, 2017
Clarification- salt water is not acidic
by: Emilia

Hi there, I just want to clarify that salt actually makes water more alkaline, not more acidic.

Lemon water would definitely be much lower on the pH scale than salt water and is definitely more acidic.

I don't know if an alkaline solution would hurt tooth enamel, but salt water is considered a decent last-resort hygiene solution if you temporarily don't have access to tooth paste or mouth wash. The alkaline environment the salt creates in your mouth will kill many bacteria, which prefer a more acidic environment.

I hope that helps answer future questions.

Feb 24, 2015
Thank you
by: Anonymous

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question. I really appreciate it. (I meant to send you a thank you email beforehand, but it escaped me.)

If it is ok, I also have a follow-up question-

I have been combating a terrible thirst by using the salt/water methods. From what I have read, high quality sea salt will not make you thirsty. Is that correct? I want to make sure I'm addressing the problem and not making it worse.

I have recently tried sole in the morning, as opposed to just putting salt in the water. (However, I have a metal retainer in my mouth and I'm not sure if that takes out the charge of the sole.)

Am I on the right track?

Thank you so much for making this site and taking the time to respond! Much appreciated!

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