Mouthwashes are very helpful to cleanse your mouth and freshen your breath that toothbrushes cannot do. However, salt water rinses are generally affordable and can be equally effective in improving your oral hygiene.
Salt water rinses can kill many types of bacteria via osmosis, meaning it removes the water from the bacteria. This results in the loss of water from the bacteria cell, thereby causing cell death or retarded growth, making it dead. Hence they are a good guard against infection after most dental procedures.
Aside from their disinfectant properties, salt water rinses can benefit from other oral problems like canker sores, allergies, and toothaches. They can also affect your respiratory health positively, acting as a remedy for cold and flu season.
The use of salt for mouth rinse is one of the easiest and convenient home remedies for toothache. Your dentist can also use this rinse to ease oral discomfort instantly. There are several benefits of this homemade solution.
History of Salt Water for Medicinal Use
Did you know that the medicinal use of salt dates back to 1600 B.C? The health benefits of salt have been recorded in some of the world’s oldest medical scripts.
It was believed that salt could dry out and even disinfect minor wounds. Most ancient Egyptian medicine prescribed anti-infective solutions, which contained salt as a base ingredient.
These solutions were applied as an ointment, administered orally, or used as a suppository (a solid medical device designed to be inserted into the rectum to dissolve). Greek medicine also used a mixture made of honey and salt to create a topical application to disinfect cuts and wounds.
The benefits of salt are discussed below, along with the procedure to make and use them.
Health Benefits of Salt Water Rinses
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, most mouthwashes have a high alcohol content that can irritate your mouth, particularly your gums.
Salt is chemically a mineral composed of sodium chloride or NaCl. Rinsing your mouth with a NaCl solution is an ancient remedy. The salty rinse not only promotes healthy gums but encourages recovery from mouth ulcers as well.
Salt water rinses are safer alternatives as they instantly kill germs and bacteria and keep your mouth clean. When plaque on teeth interacts with high doses of sugary foods and beverages, it creates acids that attack your tooth enamel.
Plaque build-up for a longer period could contribute to gum disease. Your dentist might suggest that you frequently rinse your mouth using salt and warm water in such a scenario. This is because salt is known for its natural healing properties.
In addition to preventing bacterial growth, saline water rinses can benefit your oral health in many ways. These include promoting a safe recovery from dental procedures and reducing the amount of plaque formation in your mouth.
1 Salt water rinses stop the growth of bacteria
The salt water rinses can help stop the growth of bacteria in your mouth. This happens because the salt helps to cut down on the acidic environment that allows bacteria to thrive.
In simple terms, saltwater rinse works by increasing the pH balance in your mouth. This creates a much more alkaline oral environment, thus making it difficult for the bacteria to survive. The harmful bacteria in your mouth prefer an acidic environment. So as the saltwater neutralizes, your mouth can become less inflamed and healthier.
Where bacteria thrive, it gives rise to different problems. When you use a salt rinse, the bacteria find it difficult to grow spores that generally thrive and breed in your mouth. It is these bacteria spores that lead to a sore throat and sickness.
A 2017 study proved that salt water rinses effectively decrease dental plaque and oral microbial count when used alongside routine plaque control methods.
2 Help in the healing process after dental procedures
Salt water rinses aid in the healing process, especially after your dental procedures like tooth extractions. This is probably because it promotes gingival fibroblast migration and an increased amount of extracellular matrix components that help regulate your wound repairing activity.
Saltwater will not irritate the soft tissues in your mouth, and it will also not burn or cause any mouth pain. It can also prevent painful dry sockets or alveolar osteitis that might occur after an extraction?
3 Respiratory health benefits
A 2019 research found that gargling with saline water as well as nasal irrigation might be helpful in providing protection against the common cold and flu. Similarly, another study confirmed that salt water gargling could effectively reduce upper respiratory infections within a couple of days.
The experts also suggested that it can provide potentially safe and effective intervention for people diagnosed with COVID-19 after contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
4 Fights bad breath
If your teeth are sensitive to traditional alcohol-based mouthwashes, salt water rinse could be a cheap and natural alternative for fresh breath.
The salt water can fight off oral bacteria responsible for everything from gingivitis to bad breath. Swish with salt water immediately after lunch or your coffee break, and enjoy a fresh breath. Many individuals are not able to bear the intense sting of alcohol-based mouthwashes and so prefer salt water mouthwash.
Salty water rinses also be beneficial in removing particles of food that are stuck in between your teeth. If left for long, those food particles could irritate and even inflame your gums. As a result, it could lead to more tooth cavities and more trips to your dentist.
When Should You Use Salt Water Mouth Rinses?
As you might be knowing, salt water rinses have multiple benefits. But its usage is different depending on what they are used for.
1 After tooth extraction
You should wait for 24 hours after tooth extraction before using mouthwash. Use salt water to swish rinse very gently so as not to damage the blood clots. You can rinse several times a day, especially after meals, to ensure that your mouth stays clean. The saline water will remove the bacteria from the affected area, thus preventing further infection.
2 Periodontal disease
Salt water rinses can be very useful for people suffering from periodontal disease. To prepare your own rinse, simply put one teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water. Then rinse your mouth using this saltwater for temporary relief. Salt water is not only good for the bacteria but also if there is any pain and inflammation.
Salty warm water will provide instant aid in temporarily soothing your tooth pain until you can visit your dentist.
4 Gum infection
Salt water rinses are very beneficial in gum infections, as it draws our excess fluid from your infected tissues. But for most gum disease treatments, your dentist will remove the bacteria, plaque, or tartar that caused the infection.
5 Sore throat
Try gargling with salt water for about 30 seconds. Then spit it out, and repeat the steps several times a day. It will help soothe your sore throat and wash out all the harmful bacteria.
6 Canker sores
Rinse with salt can cause your canker sores to sting, but they are still good to use. Try using a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water, and rinse with this warm saline water for a while for better results.
Remember, salty water rinse would not actually cure your allergy but can help alleviate some of its symptoms. If you have tonsils and have swollen throat, gargling with saltwater can bring relief and reduce swelling
Salt Water Rinse a Cost-effective Solution
Salt is perhaps the cheapest ingredient you can find at the store. You can easily add this versatile ingredient to your daily dental health routine.
From fresher breath to healing wounds faster, try using saltwater rinse just once a week to make a difference to your dental health.
How to Make Salt Water Rinses
To prepare your salt water rinse at home, you should follow these steps.
1 Always use lukewarm water because warmth gives more relief to a sore than cold water. Plus, the salt will dissolve in the warm water more effectively.
2 Use any ordinary type of salt available and consider ingredients like hydrogen peroxide or honey for their additional healing and soothing properties. Most salt water rinse recipes generally suggest 8 ounces of warm water and one teaspoon of salt. However, if you think your mouth is tender and the salt water rinses will sting, then decrease the salt to a half teaspoon for the initial few days.
3 Bring water to a boil. Remove it from the heat, add salt, and stir well. Then let the saltwater cool down to a warm temperature before you start rinsing with it. Once you finish rinsing, you should discard the leftover solution to avoid contamination.
As you have learned, salt water rinses can help to improve dental health problems in several ways. These include reducing bacteria and plaque and also preventing infection following a dental procedure.
Remember, there are several benefits to using salt as a mouth rinse. It should never replace your daily oral hygiene routine. Taking good care of your teeth – starting with brushing, flossing, and interdental cleaning can go a long way in maintaining oral hygiene.
Doing this effectively removes bacteria, plaque, and food particles that can get stuck between the gaps of your teeth. Before you use this at-home remedy, you should consult with your dentist to know more about how and when to use it.