The use of salt water as a mouthwash is a relatively common practice in many places around the world. Combining a small amount of warm water with common table salt is considered helpful for killing bacteria in the mouth, as well as helping to wash away loose deposits of food on the teeth. When used as part of a regular regimen of brushing and flossing, using salt water can be very effective as a mouthwash.
Creating this type of homemade mouthwash is a simple task. Generally, a small amount of table salt dissolved in a glass of warm water is all that is needed for the task. It is important to note that as little as half of a common teaspoon in a dinner glass would be sufficient. The idea is to make sure the mouth rinse contains enough salt to kill the bacteria, but no so much that the taste is too strong for the user.
Using salt water follows the same basic approach as using a commercially produced mouthwash product. The product is held in the mouth and swished along the gums and the interior section of the mouth vigorously. During the action, the salt water helps to remove some of the buildup on teeth and gums that occurs throughout the day. The salt in the water also helps to dislodge food particles from between teeth. After swishing for about a minute, the water can be spit out into a sink or other repository. If desired, a second round of the mouthwash can be used before proceeding with brushing and flossing.
There is some difference of opinion as to whether using salt water as a mouthwash is as effective as using a commercial mouthwash product. Proponents note this solution is more environmentally friendly, as well as being cost effective while still killing the bacteria that causes bad breath. Critics tend to note that while the salt water is effective, there are no scientifically controlled tests that indicate that it is as effective in killing germs and bacteria as many of the commercial products on the market.
Along with promoting good general oral hygiene, using salt water has the benefit of being an ideal substitute when other mouthwashes are not available. The product can easily be mixed while on a camping trip or even when it is discovered there is no more mouthwash in the house. This alternative is also good for people who must avoid the alcohol or other ingredients that are often found in commercial mouthwash products, allowing them to still practice sound oral hygiene while avoiding the use of products that may cause allergic or other adverse reactions.