Most of us are familiar with the importance of rinsing our mouths and are accustomed to using solutions that contain fluoride. But did you know that using salt water mouth rinse is beneficial to your oral health?
In fact, a salt water rinse is effective for various oral disturbances like canker sores, candidiasis, tooth abscesses, and cold sores. Rinsing your mouth with salt water has numerous healing properties as an isotonic solution which contains the same salts and minerals as our bodies do.
As a result, it doesn’t irritate delicate mucous membranes as those that contain fluoride. Subsequently, it is a frequently recommended healing aid after an oral procedure.
According to Men’s Health, salt inhibits bacteria by “temporarily increasing the PH balance of your mouth, creating an alkaline environment in which bacteria struggle to survive”. Because these bacteria prefer an acidic environment, the salt water rinse makes it difficult for them to survive.
There is a history of different cultures using salt water mouth rinse for oral hygiene. Specifically, the use of salt dates back as far as the ancient Egyptians who recorded medicinal treatment recipes on papyrus using salt as an anti-infective. Similarly, the Greeks used salt over 2000 years ago for anti-inflammatory purposes.
Why use a salt water rinse?
Although there is not sufficient enough scientific evidence to prove that salt water mouth rinse is more effective than traditional fluoride rinses most of us use daily, there is no debate around its bacteria-killing properties. Controlled tests have not yet been performed to prove that you should forgo the Listerine in your medicine cabinet.
However, if you chose to try it, there are plenty of great reasons to do so:
- Cost effective – aside from being environmentally healthy, rinsing your mouth with salt water is much more cost effective than purchasing one at the store. Since salt is readily accessible anywhere, it is a frugal choice for maintaining oral hygiene
- No alcohol – For those individuals that are unable to use a mouthwash that contains alcohol, the salt water rinse is perfect. Whether these ingredients cause discomfort or allergic reactions, you can rest easy with the simplicity and alcohol-free content of a salt water rinse.
- Convenience – when you don’t have a regular mouthwash available, a salt water rinse is the next best thing. The mix is easy to prepare and doesn’t take too many ingredients to complete. The convenience of a salt water rinse allows you to prepare it anywhere.
How to make and use a salt water rinse
Making a salt water rinse is fairly simple. The mixture requires convenient ingredients that include salt and water. The key to making an effective solution is to ensure the salt content is not so high that it becomes too salty.
It only requires a half a teaspoon of salt and 8 ounces of warm water in a dinner glass. If you chose, you can also add 2 teaspoons of baking soda. It may be easier to start with a small amount of salt, and gradually add more to the water as needed.
When your salt water rinse solution is just right for you, use it, in the same manner, you would a store bought mouthwash:
- Take a small sip, hold it, and swish around the mouth and gums
- Continue to swish the salt water rinse for approximately 30 seconds and spit out
- Repeat this process as many times as you’d like. Doing so will help remove buildup on your teeth and gums and rid you of any bacteria in your mouth
- Once you’re done, continue brushing and flossing
- Do not use every day or too frequently since the salt water is acidic and if used too often, can erode the teeth
Using a salt water mouth rinse can also help with a sore throat caused by strep, tonsillitis, or a common cold, freshen breath and soothe bleeding gums. No matter how you use it, you can’t go wrong using a simple salt water rinse for your oral health.