How to Protect Your Teeth

Two Reasons Why Not To Rinse With Salt

If you've been looking for a mouthwash that won't be too harsh on the inside of your mouth, warm saltwater might look appealing. It's what dentists tend to recommend after you've had a dental procedure, so it can't be bad, right? Well, saltwater is actually pretty good. But there are a couple of reasons why switching back to a commercial mouthwash, at least fairly often, is also a good idea.

Masking Symptoms

Saltwater kills a lot of bacteria, including many types that can cause bad breath and infections. But it won't kill all bacteria, and sometimes oral health problems stem from more serious causes than just eating stinky food or a lot of sugar. You could have a serious gum infection, for example. The saltwater can mask some of the symptoms like bad breath, but it won't necessarily cure the gum infection -- and since you might not realize what's going on due to the masking effect of the saltwater, the infection would just fester until more severe symptoms started up.

Additives in the Salt Changing pH

If you look online for advice about using saltwater in place of mouthwash, you'll find people claiming it's alkaline and just fine to use, as well as people claiming it's acidic and not fine to use long-term because of corrosive properties. The salt people use for eating and cooking, sodium chloride, is actually neutral in terms of pH. Saltwater made from water and the salt you have in your kitchen alone is not going to be acidic or basic.

But additives in the salt can be acidic or basic. For example, silicon dioxide is a common anti-caking agent in table salt. It's also acidic. That can tip the scales pH-wise when you use the salt to make saltwater for a rinse. Acidic materials can gradually eat away at tooth enamel, making it more difficult to keep the teeth healthy and making it much easier to

Making a Compromise

Rather than relying solely on one rinse or another, mix up the two. Use a non-alcoholic mouthwash most of the time with an occasional saltwater rinse instead. If you want to find out more about what mouthwash or a saltwater rinse can do for your mouth's health, contact a dentist now. No matter what you choose to use, a dentist, like HP Family Dental, can help you set up a great oral-care routine that will keep your mouth very healthy.