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If you have recently had any kind of dental surgery, or have a sore throat or sores on the gums, you may benefit from using a salt water rinse while you heal. Saltwater has been used for centuries by the Egyptians and the Greeks, and the Chinese have been using it to treat gum disease since 2700 B.C.

Using salt water as a rinse temporarily increases the pH balance in your mouth, making the environment more alkaline. Bacteria thrive in an acidic environment, so salt water prevents their breeding as easily.

Salt promotes healing, reduces inflammation, and eases swelling, and it doesn’t irritate the mucus membranes, unlike over-the-counter mouth washes. Salt water is also isotonic, which means it contains the same salts and minerals as our bodies and in the same concentrations.

Gargling several times a day can reduce swelling in the throat, loosen mucus, and help flush irritants or bacteria away. It can also loosen food deposits caught between the teeth.

How to use a salt water rinse:
Start with ½ tsp. of salt to a cup of WARM water. You can increase the amount up to a teaspoon, once you are used to it. Once you dissolve the salt in warm water, sip some, hold it in your mouth and then swish gently around the gums. Swish around your mouth for about 30 seconds, spit, and repeat.

If you have had surgery, you can rinse your mouth every two to three hours and then taper off to three or four times a day. This will help you heal mouth sores and help the throat heal from a cold, strep or tonsillitis.

Benefits to using saltwater rinses include:
–Cost effective and environmentally friendly.
–Convenient to make and use.
–Can be made anytime, anywhere, including emergency situations where you might not have access to toothpaste.
–People with sensitive mouths can often tolerate a salt water rinse when they can’t use alcohol mouthwashes because of sensitivity or allergic reactions.

While salt water rinses are good for temporary situations, it is not recommended for use every day long term. If you have any questions or concerns, please call Hansen Dental Care at 626-793-2273.