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Hot salt water mouth baths

Sir,- R. Kitchen of Bristol (British Dental Journal 2003, 192: 119) asked for clarification regarding the use of hot salt water mouth baths after oral surgery. At the recommended prescription of one teaspoonful of common salt in a domestic tumbler of hot water at a temperature as would be taken for a fresh cup of tea, produces a heated solution roughly isotonic with body tissues (2nd BDS Physiology!). This prevents destruction of the cells migrating into the area that are trying to repair the wound.

When an intraoral surgical site is so bathed, the heat of the solution produces a therapeutic increase in blood flow to the affected area that promotes wound healing. This is a basic homeopathic principle that was widely adopted before today's use and overuse of antibiotics became available. Common salt as a management protocol for periodontal disease – no comment.

The above letter has been reprinted. It was previously attributed to an incorrect author in British Dental Journal 2003 194: 584

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Matthews, R. Hot salt water mouth baths. Br Dent J 195, 3 (2003).

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