You've probably heard that gargling salt water can help to cure a sore throat or cold. However, did you know that gargling salt water can also protect your teeth? Yes, salt water isn't exactly pleasant, but according to the experts, you only need one teaspoon per cup of water. It may not sound like a lot, but it's enough to protect your teeth.
But how does it help, and how often should you gargle per day?
Gargling Salt Water Reduces Bacteria
Salt water kills oral bacteria. Obviously, gargling salt water will reduce the number of oral microbes in your mouth. It won't kill them all, however. But it doesn't need to. By simply reducing the number of oral microbes in your mouth, you can protect your teeth from a number of ailments. And, you only need to gargle twice a day.
Fewer Bacteria Means Less Plaque
Bacteria create a sticky film on your teeth. Dentists call this film plaque. The more bacteria on your teeth, the faster plaque develops. This process occurs every day, which is why it is important you brush your teeth night and morning. If you continuously miss your morning brush, for instance, your oral bacteria will continue to strengthen the plaque that developed overnight.
More plaque means more bacteria. More bacteria mean more acidic byproduct, produced when bacteria eat and then metabolize the food you eat. That acidic waste then eats into your tooth enamel. But, even if you miss your morning brush, you can help yourself by gargling a glass of salt water. If you arrive at work and realize you missed your morning brush, gargle some salt water.
Since salt water kills bacteria, by gargling a glass of salt water in the morning, you will slow the rate of plaque formation.
Less Plaque Means Less Tartar
If fewer bacteria mean less plaque, then less plaque also means less tartar. This is because if you don't remove plaque each day, it hardens into tartar. Tartar is the yellow, chalky material that builds up around the bottoms of your teeth, especially your lower, front teeth. The only way to remove it is to go to a professional oral hygienist, who can remove it with the right tools.
Tartar causes gum disease. Thus, if gargling salt reduces plaque formation, you will have less tartar on your teeth as a result. This will ensure that your gums remain healthy. In turn, they will keep your teeth where they belong — in your jawbone.
If you have noticed that you often have high levels of plaque, then consider gargling salt water twice a day.
To learn more, contact a dentist.