Salt Water Rinses
Posted February 22, 2022.
The concern for oral hygiene dates back at least 5,000 years to ancient China and India. Many references are made for using saltwater rinses to treat gum disease as early as 2700 B.C. There is documentation during the Greek and Roman periods, by author Pliny the Elder and Hippocrates, recommending saltwater rinses to the upper classes as part of their oral hygiene routine.
Dentists often recommend saltwater rinses to ease the swelling and pain that can result from a canker sore, an extraction, or dental cleaning. Salt water has been used by multiple cultures over countless generations to clean wounds and rinse out mouths. Salt water deters the reproduction of many microorganisms by changing the PH of the mouth. It also draws excess water out of inflamed tissues, helping to reduce the amount of physical discomfort. And is also very soothing to the mucous membranes of your mouth.
Raw salt, which is primarily sodium chloride, restricts bacterial growth in many foods and preserves them because it absorbs water molecules. Bacteria need moisture in order to thrive, so without enough water, they cannot grow well. Although salt water is not considered an antibiotic, it works by temporarily increasing the alkaline or PH in the mouth, and deterring bacterial growth (most species prefer an acidic environment). Further, salt water is isotonic and not irritating to mucous membranes.
To make a salt water rinse, simply mix ½ teaspoon of table salt in one cup of warm water. Stir until the salt is completely dissolved. Use ½ cup of the solution to gently swish for 30 seconds, being sure to force the solution over any tender areas. The spit out into the sink. Repeat until the entire cup is gone.
Caution: Washing your mouth with salt water and spitting it out is harmless, but swallowing it in large quantities can be harmful.
Regular dental visits and dental cleanings will minimize the need for salt water rinses. If it’s been a while since your last checkup, please call the office at (661) 947-3163 to schedule an appointment. Preventing problems is much easier than fixing them.