The toothpaste and mouthwash that you use everyday has been carefully created by dentists and formulated to supercharge your smile. Still, there is a natural alternative to mouthwash: saltwater.
As kids, most of us were taught to not drink salt water because it dehydrates you. We’re not suggesting that you drink it, but gargling with salt water can work as an antiseptic when nothing else is available. We know this may sound a bit weird, but it’s true!
Before more effective treatments were commonly available, saltwater was used to keep your mouth clean in the same way we now use mouthwash. Although it’s not as good as the mouthwash you have in your bathroom cabinets, saltwater can still be used today if that’s all you have at your disposal.
Read on to learn more about how saltwater can be used for oral health, and why mouthwash is still the superior option.
Hydrogen Peroxide vs. Saltwater Gargles
Some dentists have started to give their patients hydrogen peroxide rinses before they look into their mouths, helping to clean out bacteria and make the dental cleaning more effective. This is especially true during Covid because it is preventative and oxidizes the virus.
The fact that dental professionals choose peroxide over saltwater should tell you one thing: saltwater gargles are fine in a pinch, but hydrogen peroxide rinses are actually preferable.
Peroxide rinses mix water with 3% hydrogen peroxide to help clean, brighten, and prevent gum damage. You use them the same way you would a saltwater rinse.
There are actually more benefits to hydrogen peroxide, too. The first is one we mentioned before: it helps to clean up the bacteria in your mouth that leads to gum and tooth decay. A 2012 study found that peroxide is effective at improving gum health. It is important to get the entire mouth, particularly the front teeth.
Hydrogen peroxide whitens your teeth as well. It is a key ingredient in some of the best whitening products. The whitening properties are most visible for a few hours after you use it, but daily use can help to whiten your smile consistently, unlike saltwater rinses, that don’t help with whitening at all.
But, hey! You never know when you’re going to get trapped on a deserted island with no mouthwash in sight. It’s nice to know there’s a Plan B in case you find yourself re-enacting Lost, but if you have the option to use hydrogen peroxide: take it.
Saltwater rinsing may be a trend right now, but we’re going to help you separate fact from fiction. Saltwater can help you in a pinch, but it isn’t a miracle cure. The best way to get a healthy, white smile is brushing and flossing twice daily and using a scientifically-backed mouthwash like our Professional Whitening Pre-Rinse. Saltwater may have worked in prehistoric times, but don’t let social media trends send you back to the Stone Age.
Fight Back Against Bad Breath
We all know that bad breath stinks… literally. The best way to fight back is with a mouthwash like Supersmile’s Oral Rinse Mouthwash. Even if you do get stranded on an island in the middle of the ocean, hopefully you have our on-the-go Single-Dose Powdered Mouth Rinse at the ready. Assuming you forgot your Powdered Mouth Rinse at home, the ocean may be your only option when you’re stranded without a boat (or a toothbrush).
Saltwater rinsing can work because salt is alkaline, which means that it has a pH level of more than seven. For those of you who have not thought about pH levels in a while, less than seven is acidic. Bacteria tend to grow better in slightly acidic environments, like your mouth.
The bacteria on the back of your tongue is mainly responsible for bad breath, so gargling with alkaline saltwater neutralizes the acidity of the back of your mouth and rinses out some of that bacteria.
Saltwater can’t whiten your teeth or improve your gum health like hydrogen peroxide can, but at least your teeth won’t fall out while you wait for search and rescue.
Stop Swollen Gums
Swollen, bleeding gums are never fun. It’s annoying and painful, but it’s difficult to avoid when you’re stranded on a deserted island without floss or a toothbrush.
Even though salt stings when it gets into cuts, a moment of discomfort is preferable to gums that are swollen for days on end.
The salt helps suck out some of the liquid in the gums, which decreases the swelling (since the gums are swollen with liquid) and can actually help you feel better.
Saltwater can also help neutralize bacteria that can get into the pockets of your gums.
Still, saltwater is only a temporary solution to swollen gums. Today, we have access to mouthwash that can actively heal your gums with hydrogen peroxide. We also have access to dentists who can tell you when your swollen gums are actually a sign of gingivitis. Even though you might have seen it on social media, it’s unlikely that your dentist will recommend a twice-daily saltwater rinse. If they do, we recommend you find a different dentist.
Speed Up Recovery
Dental work like implants, getting a cavity filled, or having a tooth pulled can be an uncomfortable experience.
Fans of saltwater rinses claim that they can ease pain and help your mouth recover faster. However, it cannot help more than mouthwash prescribed by your dentist and some over-the-counter pain relievers.
Saltwater won’t speed up your healing process. It can neutralize bacteria and reduce inflammation, if you have no other options available to you.
Scientists performed an experiment in 2016 to test the effectiveness of using saltwater to help speed up healing. The alkalinity in the salt can tell your body where to direct more of a certain protein that can help the recovery process. The proteins attach themselves to the wound, and while they can’t actually help you heal, they can relieve the pain slightly. But there’s a catch: While they found that saltwater can help recovering patients, it has to have a small amount of salt.
Too much salt can be dangerous for healing wounds, which is why you should stick to dentist-approved mouthwash.
At Supersmile, we believe in smiles rooted in science, not social media.
Just Say No To Plaque (It's Wack)
Cavities and other oral issues occur when particles from your food and drinks mix with the natural bacteria living in your mouth. That mixture becomes plaque, which sticks to your teeth and gums. When plaque is left on your teeth, it hardens into tartar. Also called dental calculus, tartar wears away your tooth enamel and can lead to nasty infections.
Saltwater reduces the bacteria because of its alkalinity, and it can also reduce food particles. That’s because any kind of rinse will clear out some of the food left behind.
The small amount of salt in saltwater can help scrub out some of the trapped bacteria in your gums and the deep crevices of your back teeth, but it’s still no match for modern mouthwash.
If you’re worried about tooth decay from plaque buildup, saltwater won’t make things worse. But why would you resort to a prehistoric fix when dentists have invented topical fluoride to remineralize your teeth and prevent decay?
It’s a no-brainer that brushing and flossing twice daily is absolutely necessary for your dental health, but did you know there’s even more you can be doing to promote your oral wellness? Hint: It has nothing to do with the Seven Seas.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult to regularly visit your dentist, so it’s extra important to take care of your oral health at home.
Add mouthwashes and oral rinses to your daily routine for stellar oral hygiene.
And by mouthwashes, we don’t mean something available to Tom Hanks in Castaway, a caveman’s favorite rinse, or that trendy home remedy you saw on Instagram. We’re talking about mouthwash, rooted in science and recommended by dentists to promote your oral wellness. Leave saltwater to the fishes.
Mouthwashes and oral rinses from Supersmile can be used on-the-go or at home during your oral care routine to leave your mouth feeling fresh without any sting, burn, or artificial junk. Like flossing, mouthwash can reach the deep places in your mouth that bacteria love to hide in and that you cannot reach with your toothbrush, no matter how hard you try. Supersmile’s mouthwashes and rinses are an all-natural way to improve your oral health, but unlike saltwater rinses, they’ve been specially created to be effective and safe.
At Supersmile, we believe everyone deserves a super-white, bright smile and healthy gums without compromising their health or using damaging ingredients.
Saltwater has some oral benefits, but it’s no match for specially formulated products backed by science and clinically proven to work. While it’s comforting that the cavemen had options for their oral health, it’s even better to know that we’ve progressed beyond prehistoric medicines.
Although you may see saltwater rinses heralded on social media, now you know the truth. Trends come and go, but with the right tools at your disposal, your healthy smile is here to stay.