Here is a silly little question I couldn't easily find an answer to.
When I was a child, when anyone lost a tooth my school nurse would have them gargle with salt water. It was nasty, everyone hated it. My husband's mother made him do the same thing.
The reasons we got were
-to stop the bleeding (seems like that would only knock out a clot, can't see how salt water would stop bleeding)
-To make it stop hurting (Saliva hurts a mouth wound? Is it rinsing out something that hurts the wound? Sounds fishy)
-it prevents infection (Ok, maybe this one. A rapid change in salinity can burst the cells of some nasties, but why not use mouthwash? Either way, I have a hard time believing that the bacterial soup that is our mouths would be changed at all by a quick rinse.)
So, help me here guys. Don't let me pass on an old wives' tale to the next generation. Can anyone give me a compelling reason to saltwater rinse that busts my thought experiment, or better yet post some (gasp) science?