Saltwater rinses have many uses. Those who have a sore throat, sores on the gums or recent dental work can benefit from a salt rinse. A salt rinse should never take the place of traditional dental hygiene practices (brushing and flossing the teeth), but it is a very effective supplementary measure for both adults and children.
Medicinal Uses of Salt in Ancient Times
The medicinal use of salt has a long history, dating back to some of the oldest medical scripts, ancient Egyptian papyruses from 1600 B.C. These scripts provide recipes of medicinal salt treatments, including anti-infectives. Over 2,000 years ago, the ancient Greeks used salt for similar medical treatments, as well as anti-inflammatory treatments.
Why Salt Is Good for the Teeth
There are several ways in which salt is good for the teeth.
• Saltwater rinses are very helpful for your mouth, especially if you have recently undergone dental treatment or if you have an oral wound. Saltwater can reduce swelling and act as a natural disinfectant if you have an infection, gum swelling or have recently undergone oral surgery.
• Salt can improve the pH balance in your mouth, thus making an alkaline environment in which bacteria struggle to survive.
• According to the American Dental Association, foaming toothpaste commonly contains salt, which helps the toothpaste stay in your mouth. This helps prevent dribbling while you brush your teeth.
Healing Properties of Salt
Salt promotes healing, so it is a great tool to use after minor dental surgery to help the area recover. Salt contains the same salts and minerals as our bodies do, in equal concentrations. Because of this, salt doesn’t irritate the soft tissues of the mouth as a mouthwash might. This is why many dental professionals recommend salt as a gentle healing aid after a dental procedure.
How to Make a Saltwater Mouth Rinse
Making a saltwater mouth rinse is incredibly easy. Simply add a half teaspoon to a cup of warm water. For the first few days after an oral surgery, rinse every two to three hours. After that, rinse with saltwater three to four times a day until the healing period is complete. Other great uses for saltwater rinses include:
• Soothing and healing sores in the mouth.
• Improving a sore throat that is caused by strep, the common cold or tonsillitis.
• Providing a means of emergency dental hygiene if your regular mouthwash or toothpaste isn’t handy.
• Managing soreness and discomfort after braces adjustments.
• Promoting healing from irritations on the lips, cheeks and tongue caused by braces brackets.
Again, a saltwater rinse should never replace regular dental hygiene. A saltwater rinse can be a great addition to brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day. We welcome you to contact Andolino Orthodontics PC at (212) 753 - 5575 today to learn more about the benefits of saltwater rinses and to schedule your next visit with our orthodontist in New York, New York. Dr. Andolino and our team look forward to helping you reach a straight, beautiful smile!