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There are many reasons to use a salt water rinse to heal your mouth–whether you are recovering from dental surgery or an abscessed tooth, if you have mouth sores on the gums or cheeks or a sore throat– salt water can help. No one knows when salt water’s benefits were discovered, but there is evidence going back centuries that it was used by the ancient Egyptians and the Greeks, and the Chinese have even been using salt water to treat gum disease since 2700 B.C.

One of the reasons that salt water is so healing is that it temporarily increases the pH balance in your mouth, making the environment more alkaline. Since bacteria thrive in an acidic environment, salt water can prevent it from breeding easily and creating a hostile environment for our teeth and gums.

Salt water is considered isotonic, which means it contains the same salts and minerals as our bodies do and in the same concentrations. So salt water doesn’t irritate the mucus membranes, unlike over-the-counter mouth washes, and it can help with the following:

–Loosens mucus.
–Loosens food deposits caught between the teeth.
–Flushes irritants & bacteria away.
–Healing tissues.
–Reducing inflammation.
–Eases swelling.

Using a salt water rinse:
You can use ½ teaspoon of salt to a cup of WARM water to begin. You may increase the amount up to a teaspoon if you wish. Once you dissolve salt in warm water, take a sip, hold it in your mouth and then swish gently around the gums. Next, swish in the mouth for 30 seconds, spit, and repeat.

After surgery, rinse your mouth every two to three hours and then taper off to three or four times a day. This will also help you healing mouth sores and help your throat recover from strep, tonsillitis, or even the common cold.

There are multiple benefits to using a salt water rinse, including being cost effective as well as environmentally friendly. Convenient to make and use, it can be made up anytime, anywhere, including emergency situations where you don’t have access to toothpaste. People who have sensitive mouths can usually tolerate a salt water rinse whereas they can’t use alcohol mouth washes because of allergic reactions.

Salt water rinses are perfect for healing times and emergencies and are tolerated well as long as they are not used every day long term. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please call Dean Doles Family Dentistry at 972-727-7269.