You may have heard of South Korea’s famous bamboo salt, but do you know about bamboo salt toothpaste?
Bamboo salt toothpaste has become ever more popular as an alternative to big brand toothpastes. Bamboo salt toothpaste manufacturers touts the inclusion of bamboo salt (also known as Jookyeom in South Korea) into its product. It has garnered a group of fervent followers for its natural composition and claims as a ‘better’ toothpaste.
Over the years, it has gained popularity among Americans for its purported health benefits including teeth whitening, prevention of cavities, and fighting bad breath. In particular, it is said to be highly effective in deterring periodontal diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis. A 2012 laboratory study on the effects of bamboo salt on enamel remineralization also showed that the salt content significantly increased the hardness of the enamel while reducing mineral loss due to acid.
At present, the best-selling bamboo salt toothpaste in the market is LG Bamboo Salt Toothpaste. The company produces its own bamboo salt by harvesting bamboos from Jirisan and bay salt from the West Coast before roasting it via the traditional methods. LG also produces toothbrush with bristles containing bamboo salt extract.
Another notable toothpaste is Insan Bamboo Salt Toothpaste. Insan is currently the largest producer of bamboo salt, having sold over $24 million worth of it in 2017 alone. Over the years, Insan developed a lineup of bamboo salt toothpaste including its original Bamboo Salt Toothpaste, Dental Bamboo Salt (powder), and Triple Dental+ Bamboo Salt Nautral Toothpaste. All of its toothpaste products are parabens-free, triclosan-free, and flouride-free.
Producing Bamboo Salt
Today, there are only a handful remaining bamboo salt plants in South Korea. All production are guided according to a century-old production technique to ensure bamboo salt of the highest quality.
Step one of the entire production involves filling up the bamboos with sea salt. The bamboo is then roasted it in temperatures upwards of 1,600 degree Fahrenheit (900 degree Celsius). This laborious process is repeated 9 times over the next 30 days, producing a premium salt known as nine-times-roasted bamboo salt. The salt is also known as “purple salt” due to the presence of sulfur which gives the salt a dark, purple appearance.
The end product is a high quality salt that is removed of any impurities and infused with minerals from the bamboo.
Due to the lengthy production and amount and labor involved, each kilogram of bamboo salt can fetch a price of up to US$250, depending on the season and producer.
Many believe that the high mineral content of bamboo salt helps with everything from oral health and skin care to the organs and the immune system. The rich antioxidants present in it is also said to aid the fighting free radicals in the body, hence offering anti-cancer benefits. That said, scientific research on the health benefits of bamboo salt has been little so far.
Note that while there are several cheaper variants of bamboo salt such as 2 Times Baked or 3 Times Baked Bamboo Salt, these products contains significantly less minerals than its 9 Times Baked counterparts.
Uses of Bamboo Salt
Bamboo salt is considered a health food in South Korea and is said to confer many health benefits when consumed. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and is said to help strengthen the immune system, improve digestion, and promote overall health.
Apart from bamboo salt toothpaste, the salt is incorporated into the daily lives of South Koreans in a variety of ways. In traditional Korean cuisine, it is used as a seasoning for soups, stews, and pickled vegetables.
It is also said that bamboo salt solution aids in reducing gum inflammation and mitigating bad breath. To do so, rinse a teaspoon of bamboo salt with one-third cup of warm water and rinse your mouth for approximately 30 seconds.
To improve blood circulation and reduce pain associated with rheumatism, arthritis and gout, soak in a bath containing bamboo salt solution.
It is important to note that while bamboo salt is considered a traditional and natural ingredient in South Korea, it’s not been proven to have all the health benefits that are claimed. Also, it’s not recommended to consume it in large amounts or for long periods of time without consulting a doctor.
Side Effects of Bamboo Salt
Due to its purported health benefits, some may consume bamboo salt as a supplement by mixing it with water. On the contrary, this may lead to an elevation in the blood pressure. In 2013, a study highlighted the case of a 20-year-old woman who consumed excessive bamboo salt to aid digestion and weight loss. After several episodes of vomiting and diarrhoea, she was admitted to the hospital where was later diagnosed with hypernatremia, a condition where the sodium concentration in a person’s blood is excessively high. Fortunately, she recovered within a week with no permanent damage to her organ.s