Saturday, June 15, 2024

Dental health: Can sea salt swishes keep root canals at bay?

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Maintaining dental hygiene is crucial for keeping those pearly whites in top shape. While brushing, flossing, and regular appointments with the dentist can make you win half the battle, turns out, that doing sea salt gargles can not only aid oral health but also keep dreaded root canals at bay.

According to content creator Ian Clark, a sea salt swish every day until the tooth becomes free of infection is a solution to avoid a root canal, a dental procedure that usually becomes necessary when the tooth’s pulp gets infected or inflamed warranting the removal of the source of infection or the decaying teeth. But do dental experts give this practice a thumbs up?

“Sea salt washes cannot magically eradicate an infection from the tooth. An infected tooth has to be treated properly. Also, various things — like trauma to the spaces or inborne bacteria — can result in an infection; and it is not just of the pulp (nerve),” said Dr Aditya Sharma, dentist, Dentistree, Pune.

Warning signs that a root canal might be on the horizon include intense tooth pain, prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold, a change in tooth colour, and tender, swollen gums, said Dr Kamlesh Kothari, dental implantologist, cosmetic dentist and maxillofacial surgeon, Kolkata, founder and clinical director of Aesthetica.

So, are sea salt gargles the solution?

Clark said that sea salt works by neutralising the pH balance in your mouth which, in turn, helps keep the gums healthy. Sea salt contains 40 p.p.m. of fluoride, according to Dr Kundabala M, professor, of conservative dentistry and endodontics, Manipal College of Dental Sciences, Mangalore. “There are many short studies on the efficacy of some antimicrobial therapy using sea salt solutions as a potent plaque inhibitor that could be used as a mouthwash to prevent cavities. However, there are many more clinical trials needed for standardisation and certification of the sea salt mouthwash,” said Dr Kundabala.

Festive offer

While a daily sea salt swish may play a supportive role in your overall oral health and provide some relief from minor mouth mishaps, “it’s not a substitute for the expertise of a dental professional” experts emphaised. “If you suspect you need a root canal, don’t delay – it’s time to make an appointment and get the issue addressed properly,” said Dr Kothari.

According to Dr Kothari, a sea salt rinse can offer temporary relief from oral discomfort, “but it wont address the root cause of more serious dental woes”.

When to consider a root canal

Decay stay: If a tooth has already started its descent into decay town, a simple sea salt rinse won’t be able to reverse the damage or deep clean the affected tooth.

Tooth depths:
When the infection or inflammation decides to set up camp inside the tooth’s pulp – like in the case of a root canal scenario – a sea salt rinse won’t be able to penetrate deep enough to tackle the issue, said Dr Kothari.

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