Warm Salt Water Rinses: Why They Work

bigstock-Spoonful-of-baking-soda-and-gl-52653640I have always recommended warm salt water rinses after clients have had a particularly difficult cleaning appointment to soothe the tissues and promote healing. Recently however, a number of my clients decided to start salt water rinsing daily and the results have been phenomenal. Given that this was the only behavioral change that we could find to explain the results, I decided I had better do a little more research into salt and its healing properties.

For thousands of years, people have used salt and water to heal the body. Egyptians recorded its effectiveness on wounds. Hippocrates, The Father of Medicine made use of remedies containing salt after noticing the therapeutic qualities of seawater on the injured hands of fishermen. Roman doctors dispensed drinks and ointments made with salt and during the Renaissance period doctors recommended salt baths for skin diseases and itching.

It would appear that salt water rinses are good because they alkalinize the mouth (opposite of acidify, which is what the bacteria create) and the alkalinity helps decrease the bacteria count because they like an acid environment. Additionally, salt water is astringent and speeds wound healing through reducing inflammation and contracting the tissues.

In a British Dental Journal Study published in 2003, it was determined that the heat of the solution produces a therapeutic increase in blood flow to the affected area that promotes wound healing and that the isotonic (balanced inside and outside the cell) environment created prevents destruction of the cells migrating into the area that are trying to repair the wound.

While most of us typically would grab the table salt, now knowing what I know about the differences in salt, I would advise clients to choose anything but as the natural chemical structure has been altered through processing and the many additional benefits of pure salt have been lost.

Once again, some of the old tried and true remedies are still around for good reason.
Give it a try! I’d love feedback. Here on my blog, you’ll get commentluv. This is a plug-in that gives you the opportunity to leave a link back to your own site when you leave feedback.

Until next time,

Kathleen

 

 

7 thoughts on “Warm Salt Water Rinses: Why They Work

  1. “While most of us typically would grab the table salt, now knowing what I know about the differences in salt, I would advise clients to choose anything but as the natural chemical structure has been altered through processing”

    Salt is sodium chloride. If you alter the chemical structure it isn’t salt any more.
    Table salt will normally have *more* sodium chloride in the container per dry weight unit than unrefined salt as the impurities such as magnesium and calcium salts have been filtered out.

  2. Hi Tom,

    I totally agree with your comment about what is chemically left after processing but in response would like to point to what additionally is missing after processing that is so important! Please see the excerpt below by Lena Sanchez and if you wish to research further the link to the full article is included at the end.

    In Health

    Kathleen

    “What is on most tables as salt no longer resembles salt of those long ago days. Salt is now mainly sodium chloride and not actual salt. The common commercial table salt used by most people for cooking has only 2 or 3 chemical elements. Seawater has 84 mineral elements, referred to as electrolytes, that were originally found in salt. Our body requires a balance of at least 74 elements for total health. A healthy body’s blood plasma should consist of those very same 74 elements identical to virgin seawater.

    Common table salt consumed by most is deficit of at least 71 elements and containing health altering byproducts from the processing, which means our body is becoming weaker, imbalanced and more susceptible to diseases.

    Table salt produced by the early pioneers was of excellent quality and contained those unadulterated elements. But man wasn’t satisfied with that and went looking for something more convenient ended up decimating salt’s true elements of health.

    Real Kosher salt is most usually an additive-free coarse-grained salt, used by Jews in the preparation of meat. It is also used by gourmet cooks who prefer its texture and flavor. Contains the 74 elements necessary for our body!

    How did we get to this point with salt?

    While most salt starts out as salt, it doesn’t usually end up as salt. Normal table salt begins as a saline liquid or crystal solution. Then after processing and kiln drying at temperatures in excess of 400 degrees, its natural state is changed and nearly all trace minerals are lost. Then in processing chemicals are added such as Silico Aluminate, Potassium Iodide, Tri-calcium Phosphate, Magnesium Carbonate, Sodium bicarbonate, and yellow prussiate of soda just to name a few. These are added to bleach the salt, prevent caking, and aid in free-flowing so your salt will flow free even on rainy days. But what are they doing to your body with that process?

    Sadly, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) usually let companies leave their processing aides off of their ingredient lists, as long as the material is being used in a small-enough concentration to fit their specifications. Yet when you consume refined table salt in large quantities you are consuming large quantities of those processing chemicals and lost 71 minerals and trace minerals.

    Did you know that two of the inorganic chemicals used in processing salt is also used to make many consumer related products, such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic? I don’t know about you but I really don’t want to eat any part of PVC… FDA says it’s okay.

    Other additives are anti-caking agents such as calcium silicate, magnesium carbonate, calcium carbonate, and other compounds. They are insoluble in water, which not only prevents them from forming clumps in humid environments (thus keeping the soluble crystals of sodium chloride separate), but explains why water becomes slightly cloudy when salt with these additives is dissolved in it. These are all odorless and flavorless substances and contribute nothing to our body but what do they do once inside our body… We can only guess as studies have not been done to tell us…

    How do I get around this whole problem?

    I use sea salt, no aluminum or contaminants as it is simply salt dried and ground as it comes from the sea. Read labels as this is slowly changing in favor of noncaking salt… Real salt flavor results in your taste buds but without the contaminates from the extraction process as in regular table salt, and they don’t have to add iodine as it is naturally occurring”.

    http://www.antibiotic-alternatives.com/saltorsomethingelse.htm

  3. Pingback: A Simple Solution To Improve Your Health « New Urban Habitat

  4. i read a post on todaysdentistry.com that says salt in the long term can be bad because of its acidic properties tending to erode the enamel, in this article it clearly says the alkaline nature of salt is beneficial…..what’s true

  5. Hi Tony and thanks for your comment! I read the article that you mentioned on Today’s Dentistry site and I can appreciate the confusion you have after reading this!
    While it is true that salt water is acidic in nature, my understanding from researching the topic is that it helps to kill the acid-producing bacteria, thereby creating a more alkaline environment, resulting in a healthier mouth. I do not promote the long-term use of any rinses as I do feel it upsets the delicate balance of good and bad oral bacteria. It is only meant as a temporary measure to combat specific problems.
    Hydrogen Peroxide and certain Essential Oils are also beneficial for short-term rinsing in the mouth and they too are quite acidic and should only be used on a short-term basis also.

    Kathleen

  6. Discalimer: Not a medical professional here, but I do have some training in Biology, Chemistry and Human Anatomy and Physiology.

    Pure salt water should be roughly neutral. As pH is simply an inverse measurement of the Hydrogen cation concentration of the solution and table salt is composed almost entirely of Sodium Chloride and Iodine (in iodized salt). Therefore adding pure salt to the water (in theory mind you) should not change the pH of the water. Additionally, salt kills bacteria by forcing water to flow out of the cell (via a process called osmosis), drying it out. This process works even when the salt is added to water, so long as the concentration of salt is higher than the concentration of salt in the bacterium.

    Keep in mind however, regarding pH, that I said “pure” salt meaning pure Sodium Chloride, this does not take into account other chemicals which may or may not end up in salt…. those very well may change pH.

    EDIT: A note about Hydrogen Peroxide: it is generally damaging to tissues. I’m not sure how much is discussed about it in dentistry circles, but Peroxide can be rather abrasive and, while it does serve to kill bacteria in the mouth, may slow down recovery time of in-mouth wounds. And yes… Hydrogen Peroxide can be very acidic. (It is not a bad idea to use Hydrogen Peroxide though if you don’t have anything else.)

    Have a good day everyone.

  7. Hi Brandon,

    Thanks so much for your explanation on why “salt” works. Many of these natural therapies are new to me as a dental professional and I still have a great deal to learn so thanks so much for helping me with this.

    In Health
    Kathleen

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