Some ancient remedies have been proven to not work while others have withstood the test of time. One of these remedies is using a salt water rinse to treat gum disease. As early as 2700 BC we see the use of a saltwater rinse used to treat gum disease in China. This remedy lasts to this day but it’s not until recently that the mechanism of why it works has been examined.
Reducing Levels of Harmful Bacteria
A study from 2017 found that a salt water rinse was effective in reducing the the amount of bacteria in the mouth, at times outperforming a chlorhexidine rinse, a modern antiseptic. One of the bacteria it was extremely effective against was Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans. This bacteria has been found to be responsible for periodontitis by Danish-born periodontist, Jørgen Slots.
Promoting Tissue Regeneration
An in vitro study found that salt water could potentially promote healing. Scientists used tissue from extracted teeth to create a layer of cells in a well plate to simulate tissue. They then simulated a wound by scratching the surface of the cells. When these cells were exposed to salt water they started producing molecules associated with healing.
While salt water rinses do not replace going to the dentist or brushing and flossing, it’s still something you may want to consider adding to your repertoire. If you do want to start doing this keep the following in mind:
- Use warm water to maximize the amount of salt you can dissolve in the water.
- Dissolve as much salt as you can, until you see salt starting to collect at the bottom of the glass since it’s unable to dissolve anymore.
- Swish it around in your mouth and gargle for up to a minute.
- Make sure not to swallow!
If you are having symptoms with your gums make sure to let your dentist know as they may need to recommend you to a periodontist such as Concord Lexington Periodontics.