Your mouth needs to heal after your dentist has inserted the post in your bone that will ultimately hold your new implant tooth. To help the healing process, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics and give you a special mouthwash; you may also be advised to use a salt water wash. This mix of warm water and salt may not taste so great, but it does help keep the implant area clean and free from bacteria.
How Does a Salt Mouthwash Help Dental Implants Heal?
Your jaw and gums may be a little sore and swollen after your dentist has put in the implant post. The process also opens up your gum, leaving it more prone to infection. A salt water mouthwash may make your mouth feel more comfortable, and it may contribute towards a more successful healing process.
According to Colgate, the salt in a mouthwash acts as a disinfectant, because it changes the alkaline balance in your mouth. This makes it harder for bacteria to survive, keeping your mouth cleaner and helping avoid potential infections. Salt also has anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce any oral swelling more quickly, which will make you feel better.
Warning: Although a salt water mouthwash can be a good short-term solution after implant surgery, you shouldn't use it as a mouthwash permanently. According to an article in Today's Dentistry, the salt water may damage the enamel of your teeth if you use it for long periods. Follow the advice given by your dentist on how long you should rinse with a salt water mouthwash after the implant placement.
How Much Salt Should You Use?
According to the Australian Dental Association, you should add one teaspoon of salt to water to make a mouthwash. Use a cup of warm or lukewarm water, and swish the rinse around the implant area until the water cools. When you're done, spit the water out. Try not to swallow it by accident - salt water may make you vomit. It's best to avoid very hot water, as this may scald your mouth.
How Often Should You Use a Salt Water Wash?
A professional dentist, like Dr. John Michalopoulos, should tell you when and how often to rinse with salt water. For example, you may be advised to rinse after meals and before going to bed. Using a salt mouthwash after you've eaten helps flush out any food particles that may be stuck to the implant gum area. It also disinfects the area, helping you avoid infection.