Salt-based therapies have been around for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians recognized the disinfectant properties of salt and so did the Greeks, applying tinctures of salt directly to wounds as a disinfectant. While salt may not be as good of a disinfectant as the triple antibiotic ointments that we use today, there are some places where your doctors don’t recommend you use triple antibiotic ointment which include your mouth.
Doctors have no intrinsic problem with home or alternative remedies, especially when they actually work. Dentists often recommend saltwater rinses after dental procedures. The reason? Saltwater actually does work as a disinfectant and you can put it in your mouth (just don’t swallow).
How is saltwater effective against mouth bacteria?
Saltwater rinses have proven effective against plaque. Plaque is a soft substance that builds up between your teeth. When it comes into contact with sugary foods, it creates acids that are highly erosive to tooth enamel. Essentially, plaque + sugar creates acid that erodes your teeth. Studies have shown that salt water helps improve your daily war against plaque building up in your teeth. However, it cannot be a supplement for brushing and flossing daily.
In addition to removing plaque, saltwater has also been shown to:
- Speed wound recovery
- Inhibit inflammation (reduce pain)
- Kill periodontal bacteria in the mouth
Saltwater can also help manage the symptoms of colds, sore throats, sinus infections, and even COVID-19. While saltwater can’t “cure” COVID-19 or prevent COVID-19 infection (like the vaccine) it can reduce symptoms of sore throat, reduce inflammation in your throat, and make your mouth a less hospitable place for opportunistic infections.
Doctors believe in natural remedies?
Doctors only need reliable research to get behind a remedy. In this case, saltwater has proven effective for millennia and we know how it works. Saltwater protects the tissues of your body by desiccating them (withdrawing the moisture) and creating a barrier that germs cannot easily pass. It is therefore wise to finish off your daily regimen of oral hygiene with a saltwater rinse.
A wise reader may ponder whether or not their alcohol-based mouthwash accomplishes the same sort of desiccation to protect your mouth. It does. However, alcohol-based rinses may aggravate mouth sores as opposed to alleviating them. Hence, saltwater may be a gentler remedy.
Saltwater: A recipe
This is a bit like a recipe for gruel which has two ingredients. The first is dried oats and the second is hot water. Saltwater is similarly simple to make. First you need a cup of warm water, and then about ½ teaspoon of salt. You place the saltwater in your mouth, splash it around, gargle, and then spit.
Talk to a Flagstaff, AZ Dentist Today
Peak Family Dental serves the Flagstaff, AZ area providing top-quality dental services to Flagstaff residents. Call today to schedule an appointment and we can begin work on getting the most out of your smile.