Most people have a standard oral care routine – brushing, flossing, and fluoride mouthwash. That combination is both common and effective – brushing helps remove plaque and food particles on the surfaces of teeth, flossing helps remove plaque and food between teeth, and mouthwash helps kill bacteria that cause tooth decay and bad breath. Beyond these three common practices, adults and children alike can occasionally benefit from another simple procedure: the saltwater rinse.
Saltwater mouth rinses are easily made at home using a combination of warm water and salt. The salt increases the pH of your mouth, creating an alkaline environment that is hostile towards bacteria. While saltwater mouthwashes can be employed any time, dentists typically recommend saltwater mouth rinses immediately after dental procedures. Saltwater rinses are preferred over medical mouthwashes because the salt content provides minerals and antibacterial properties without the drying nature of commercial, medicated mouthwashes.
Making a saltwater rinse is easy – add one half teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water, and rinse your mouth every two to three hours after surgery. The water should be warm to help dissolve the salt, but not hot – it should be considerably cooler than you would use for a cup of hot coffee or tea. The salt will help treat both dental related issues (such as damaged tissue following tooth extraction) and non-dental issues, such as sore throat caused by the common cold.
While there are benefits to using a saltwater rinse, many dentists typically recommend antibacterial commercial mouthwashes for every day use. While saltwater is great for treating mouths with injuries, medicated commercial mouthwashes are better at killing bacteria, though they’re slightly more harsh on the mouth.
For more information on your oral health call Riverside dentist Dr. Gerald Middleton at (951) 688-3442. Visit our website for special offers, updates and to make an appointment, www.gmdental.com.
Accepting patients from Riverside, Norco, Ontario, Murrieta, Fontana and surrounding communities.