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Do you have an older relative who counsels you to gargle or rinse with warm salt water when your throat hurts or your mouth is sore? If so, you may want to listen! Salt water has been used since ancient times as a remedy to help your mouth heal, whether from an abscessed tooth, dental surgery, or for a sore throat and mouth sores. Salt water has been used by the Chinese to treat gum disease since 2700 B.C.! Salt water can also help your throat recover from strep, tonsillitis, and the common cold.

Why Salt Water
Bacteria thrive in an acidic environment, and salt water temporarily increases the pH balance in your mouth, making the environment more alkaline. This keeps harmful bacteria from breeding easily, which can otherwise create a hostile environment for your teeth and gums.  Because salt water is isotonic (it has the same salts and minerals as our bodies and in the same concentrations), it won’t irritate your mucus membranes, unlike over-the-counter mouth washes.

How to Use a Salt Water Rinse
Begin by dissolving ½ teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water (you can increase the amount up to a teaspoon if you prefer). Next, take a sip, hold it in your mouth, then begin swishing gently around the gums. Finally, swish in the mouth for 30 seconds, spit, and repeat.
If you are using salt water to heal after surgery, rinse your mouth every two to three hours, tapering off to three or four times a day.

Benefits of Salt Water
–Flushes irritants & bacteria
–Heals tissues
–Cost effective to make
–Environmentally friendly
–Convenient to use
–Reduces inflammation
–Eases swelling
–Loosens mucus
–Loosens food deposits between teeth

You can mix up a salt water solution easily and quickly, anytime, anywhere, including emergency situations. Sensitive people who have allergic reactions to alcohol-based mouth washes can tolerate salt water rinses.

Salt water rinses are perfect to use during times of healing, emergencies or situations where you find yourself unable to use toothpaste. If you have any questions regarding salt water rinses, you can give us a call at Meadowdale Dental Clinic at (425) 361-0842 as we are always happy to help!