Oral Health and Dead Sea Salt

Oral Health and Dead Sea Salt

The word “salary” has an interesting origin. It comes from the Latin word “salarium”, originally denoting a Roman soldier's allowance to buy salt. At that time in history salt was an extremely important part of everyday life, way beyond its culinary use. It was used to treat wounds, keep food fresh over long distances and in many religious ceremonies. I bring this up as an opening to a dialogue I’d like to have with you about one of the most wildly useful and sometimes under-appreciated minerals on earth: SALT.

Here at Lumineux® we love salt. In fact, I would go so far as to say, without salt, we wouldn’t exist. But the history of our relationship with salt isn’t often told to its fullest, and I want to remedy that so that you, dear reader, might understand exactly why we are so dedicated to our Purposeful and Uncompromising™ approach to oral care.

Back in 2002, one of the world’s most devoted and published researchers for gum health, Hessam Nowzari, PhD, DDS, traveled to Manila to conduct research on an extremely aggressive gum disease. The bacteria that causes this particular kind of periodontitis is called Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, or simply Aa.

Aa is a pathobiont, which is bacteria that can become dangerous if the nutrition, stress, or other immune suppressant factors of the individual are too poor to maintain good health. The impact of Aa can be seen throughout Africa, Asia and South America, particularly in poor communities where access to clean water, hygiene and nutrition is lacking. It is characterized by loss of the two front upper and lower teeth at an early age.

In Manila there is a large population of homeless orphans who have this disease and bare the mark of its effects. Dr. Nowzari and a small team of researchers aimed to work with these children to see if they could find a solution that would improve their oral health. Since frequent dental cleanings and oral care products were financially out of reach, they offered a much simpler (and cheaper) approach. They had the children simply rub sea salt on their gums twice a day. In the 10 years he was there following these cases, their team discovered something remarkable. The disease disappeared, though the Aa bacteria was still present.1

This tells us two very important things about disease. The first thing it tells us leads to the second, and I want to spend some time on it, as it is hugely important to understanding overall health. The presence of harmful bacteria is very rarely what causes disease.

I’m gonna repeat that because I think it’s important enough to:


When I first learned this, it nearly broke my brain. The study and subject of bacteria is an incredible and complex one. We have more bacteria in and on our body than we have human cells.2 Bacteria are responsible for so many of the vital functions of our bodies that the idea we have in current society that they are an enemy to our health is so completely wrong and damaging, it needs immediate righting.

Bacteria that are considered harmful, like Aa bacteria, are harmful because they produce toxins. It is their toxic waste that create inflammation and disease, NOT the presence of them alone. So, to go back to the Manila study, what they were seeing was a reduction in toxins, not a reduction in the bacteria themselves. This may seem like a nuance, but it is indeed a paramount fact because until now, the method employed to achieve less disease and improve oral health by most oral care products on the market was to kill bacteria. The logic seems sound. Kill the bacteria, because without them there they can’t produce the toxins that then cause disease. But when we employ this method, we see many other problems arise because most bacteria are providing our bodies with vital functions. Killing them lowers our ability to maintain good health. Wiping out bacteria means wiping out the good with the bad; not something often talked about or considered.

So, with this nuance in mind, let’s go back to salt and our second lesson learned in Manila. What Dr. Nowzari was seeing was salt’s incredible ability to neutralize toxins, thus rendering harmful bacteria almost entirely harmless. THIS is the reason that salt was so imperative to societies of old in preserving meats and healing wounds. This is why, to this day, pork cured in salt can be consumed safely without ever cooking it. This is why when you get a sore throat, your grandmother tells you to rinse with warm salt water. By neutralizing toxins, salt becomes the great balancer3, and that is where Lumineux® comes in.

Lumineux® was conceived by our CEO and Founder, Dr. Kourosh Maddahi, during a conversation with Dr. Nowzari himself. They were discussing why there were no products available that utilized salt, despite the reasons laid out above, and Dr. Maddahi asked his colleague what he would think if he made one? It seemed a good idea, so Dr. Maddahi started looking for the best salt. It led him to the salt you will find included in every Lumineux® product on the market (even our Whitening Strips), for it is the most revered for its healing powers: Dead Sea salt.

The Dead Sea has been a sacred place for thousands of years, the mud and salt farmed and sold to treat ailments such as eczema and arthritis. Even Aristotle wrote about these miraculous waters, and King Solomon presented the Queen of Sheba with Dead Sea salts as a gift when she visited the Holy Land.

What makes the Dead Sea so remarkable is its mineral content. It is the most mineral-rich water in the world, which is also why it does not support life, and gives it its name. It has always fascinated me that a body of water that cannot support life is so good at healing it. The benefits of this salt for oral health are many, because while it is a salt and so reduces toxins3  the way we have just discussed, it also has additional beneficial minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium and so on. To put it into numbers, table salt is 98% sodium and 2% other minerals, while Dead Sea salt is only 18% sodium, with the other 82% being made up of minerals that help promote healing and support enamel.

All of that to say, we love salt. Salt is as awesome as it is delicious. And it is the backbone of our company.

And as a sort of sweet and final note on the subject, we’re lucky enough to call Dr. Nowzari our Chief Scientific Officer, even to this day. He is an incredible wealth of knowledge on the subject of microorganisms and oral health. To read his unprecedented 10 yearlong study in Manila, follow the first study I linked below. 

Swish on, friends.

Caroline Duggan

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23697295/
  2. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-human-microbiome-project-defines-normal-bacterial-makeup-body
  3. https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0665/5737/files/Leukotoxin_LtxA_Study_299168ac-0abf-48bb-8166-caaf1c64c16b.pdf?952

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