Warm saline rinses

Sir, it was really admirable to read 'Hancocks' Law'1 in the editorial Does the team think? as there is the same sorry state of affairs in India, even when the Dental Council of India(DCI) is striving hard to keep unauthorised dentists and doctors at bay. I am, however, quite hopeful that the DCI's efforts will bear fruit some day.

Also interesting was the letter titled Water swishing2 stating that swishing of water3 and oral irrigation4 are an economical and easy means of maintaining oral hygiene and reducing bleeding and gingival inflammation, especially in developing countries.

Warming the water and adding a pinch of table salt to it can enhance its efficacy to a great extent. It can reduce or even be an alternative to anti-inflammatory drugs intra-orally. Its high osmolality reduces inflammation and can be microbicidal. Warm saline rinses have been used successfully in post extraction cases. We have also been using it in post surgical periodontal cases for many years and the results have been excellent.

Thus rinsing with 100-150 ml of warm saline three to four times a day can be an effective method for good oral hygiene. It can be of help in the removal of loosened food particles, dead cells and mucus from the oral cavity3 as well as in containing the local inflammatory process.


  1. 1

    Hancocks S . Does the team think? Br Dent J 2009; 207: 301.

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  2. 2

    Math M V, Balasubramaniam P . Water swishing. Br Dent J 2009; 207: 304.

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  3. 3

    Math M V, Balasubramaniam P . Oral health and water. Indian J Nutr Diet 2008; 45: 388–391.

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  4. 4

    Barnes C M, Russell C M, Reinhardt R A, Payne J B, Lyle D M . Comparison of irrigation to floss as an adjunct to tooth brushing: effect on bleeding, gingivitis, and supragingival plaque. J Clin Dent 2005; 16: 71–77.

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Malik, R. Warm saline rinses. Br Dent J 207, 520 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.bdj.2009.1093

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