When it comes to oral hygiene, many products on the market can help keep your mouth healthy and feeling fresh. One of these is commercial mouthwash, but for years, some have been using salt water for teeth as a substitute. But is this natural remedy really better than commercial products?
The answer to that question is not a simple yes or no, as the effectiveness of salt water rinse for oral hygiene depends on several factors. Let’s dive into what they are.
What is a salt water mouth rinse?
Salt water mouth rinse is a simple homemade mixture of salt dissolved in warm water that has been used as a home remedy for years for many conditions. Despite limited research on its effectiveness, it has recently become popular as an alternative to store-bought mouthwash.
What are the salt water mouth rinse benefits?
Some claim that salt water mouth rinse can help improve oral health in several ways. It is thought to reduce inflammation and fight bacteria in the mouth, improving bad breath, gum health, cavities, and other oral health issues.
Many, probably including your grandmother, believe it is also helpful as a gentle remedy for sore throats or canker sores. While there is not much scientific evidence to support these claims, some research shows that salt water potentially reduces the severity of your next upper respiratory infection, so maybe grandma was onto something.
Salt water increases the mouth's pH, making it more alkaline and less acidic. This alkalinity is excellent as it means the bacteria that love the acidic environment and cause all the cavities won’t thrive.
Benefits and side effects of a salt water mouth rinse
Benefits of a salt water mouth rinse:
1. It May reduce inflammation and pain in the gums due to gum disease, canker sores, or other infections and soothe mouth sores.
2. Helps reduce bacteria levels in the mouth.
3. Helps prevent bad breath by killing bacteria that cause odor.
4. Works as a natural cleaning agent for your teeth and gums, removing debris and plaque from hard-to-reach areas of the mouth.
5. Aids in healing and soothing cuts and irritations in the mouth caused by braces, dentures, and other dental appliances.
6. It Can help to soothe a sore throat and reduce respiratory symptoms if used as a gargle before swallowing.
Side effects of rinsing mouth with salt water:
1. It May cause dehydration if used too frequently or in high concentrations.
2. May increase sensitivity to certain foods or drinks that are acidic or contain sugar, causing discomfort or toothache after consuming these items.
3. In rare cases, salt water may irritate sensitive gums and tongue, making it uncomfortable to use over time.
4. Not recommended for people on low-salt diets.
Is a salt water mouth rinse better than commercial mouth rinses?
The answer to this question is subjective, as it depends on the individual user. Salt water mouth rinse is an alcohol-free, natural, and inexpensive alternative to commercial products, which is a huge plus for some. Salt water may be the better option for individuals who do not want to use artificial ingredients or chemicals in their mouths.
How to incorporate a salt water mouth rinse into your dental routine
It is as easy as replacing your store brought mouthwash time for a salt water mouth rinse before or after brushing your teeth or rinsing with salt water before bed. Not sure how to make a salt water rinse? Here is a recipe!
Recipe for salt water rinse:
Ingredients (salt water mouth rinse ratio):
• 1/2 teaspoon salt (any kind you have available will do)
• 8 ounces of warm water
Some people add extra ingredients like honey, which I don’t suggest due to the sugar content, or clove oil for its numbing effect if you are experiencing pain. I recommend you check with your dentist before turning your mouthwash into an at-home dentistry experiment.
1. Mix the salt with the warm water in a clean container or cup. We use warm water as the salt will dissolve more efficiently, and warm salt water can be less unpleasant on the teeth if you are sensitive!
2. Stir until all of the salt has dissolved.
3. Swish the solution around your mouth for 30 seconds
How to store your salt water mouth rinse
1. Store the salt water mouth wash in a clean container with a lid or cover.
2. Keep the solution away from children and pets and dispose of it after using it each day.
3. Do not swallow the saline solution because it contains salt, which can be dangerous if ingested in large amounts.
4. Discard the salt water gargle for teeth and make a new batch each time you use it.
5. Do not reuse the solution after 24 hours have passed since you made it.
6. If you feel any irritation or discomfort while using the salt water rinse, discontinue use immediately and talk to your doctor or dentist about alternative treatments.