Author Topic: lost deciduous teeth, saltwater rinse a myth?  (Read 3990 times)

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Offline ~Flighty~

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lost deciduous teeth, saltwater rinse a myth?
« on: August 26, 2007, 05:52:28 PM »
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?
Cindy~

Offline JurijD

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Re: lost deciduous teeth, saltwater rinse a myth?
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2007, 05:59:04 PM »
Quote from: "~Flighty~"

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)

I'd say this is unlikely. The blood coagulation system slows down in the presence of saline solution.

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-To make it stop hurting (Saliva hurts a mouth wound? Is it rinsing out something that hurts the wound?  Sounds fishy)

LOL. insane

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-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.)

No it does not. Most bacterial cells have quite strong cellular walls made of protein that can handle anything you can throw at them by changing salt concentrations in this manner.

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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?


No, sorry, I can't think of a reason and this is the first time I've heard of it and my mother is a dentist. When unsure, ask those proposing it to point to valid research supporting this practice.

Offline Thespis

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lost deciduous teeth, saltwater rinse a myth?
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2007, 06:08:53 PM »
It's probably just an old wives tale.

Offline Domino

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lost deciduous teeth, saltwater rinse a myth?
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2007, 07:32:28 PM »
I never did this, nor did I have any infections. Meh.

Offline PG109

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lost deciduous teeth, saltwater rinse a myth?
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2007, 07:37:55 PM »
I never had deciduous teeth.  No pine cones in my mouth.
quot;if you looat the world and think there is a God nothin make sense but if you see it fro a naturalistivc perspectiove all the shti goin on is exactly what youd expect-"  -The Always Eloquent Richard Dawkins

Offline Joe Shmoe

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lost deciduous teeth, saltwater rinse a myth?
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2007, 08:10:02 PM »
Would there be negative repercussions to absorbing pure water directly into the bloodstream?

Offline JurijD

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lost deciduous teeth, saltwater rinse a myth?
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2007, 08:38:29 PM »
Quote from: "Joe Shmoe"
Would there be negative repercussions to absorbing pure water directly into the bloodstream?


yes, your red blood cells would burst leading to point coagulations and possibly blood vessel blockages - depending on the amount of infused water.

one can only safely infuse so called physiologic fluid that is isotonic to your plasma.

Offline Joe Shmoe

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lost deciduous teeth, saltwater rinse a myth?
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2007, 08:47:19 PM »
So, would you say it would be a bad idea to gargle with tap water with a gaping hole in your mouth?

Offline JurijD

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lost deciduous teeth, saltwater rinse a myth?
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2007, 08:58:30 PM »
Quote from: "Joe Shmoe"
So, would you say it would be a bad idea to gargle with tap water with a gaping hole in your mouth?


Most certainly not, since your blood vessles are pressurized and water cannot enter them even if they are punctured and exposed. Unless ofc you are infusing them directly with a hospital infusion drip - which is what I thought you were refering to.

Not to mention that the size of blood vessels in the oral cavity is miniscule so this particular hypothesis falls very short of explaining any benefits to salted water.

- apart from paying for our sins through additional pain

Offline Joe Shmoe

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lost deciduous teeth, saltwater rinse a myth?
« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2007, 09:09:46 PM »
Well, there is a reason that i phrased my last two posts as questions.  But here's why I entertained this line of thinking at all.

My mother has a heart murmur, when she goes to the dentist they make her take an antibiotic before her appointments.  The dentist says that this is to prevent anything they use during the procedure from getting into her bloodstream.  Also remember that there was a post recently about how people with poor dental hygiene seem to have a higher incidence of heart disease.  Without much medical knowledge it would seem that it's at least probable some things might break into the blood stream this way, even if the odds are against it.

Offline JurijD

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lost deciduous teeth, saltwater rinse a myth?
« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2007, 09:25:39 PM »
Quote from: "Joe Shmoe"
Well, there is a reason that i phrased my last two posts as questions.  But here's why I entertained this line of thinking at all.

My mother has a heart murmur, when she goes to the dentist they make her take an antibiotic before her appointments.  The dentist says that this is to prevent anything they use during the procedure from getting into her bloodstream.  Also remember that there was a post recently about how people with poor dental hygiene seem to have a higher incidence of heart disease.  Without much medical knowledge it would seem that it's at least probable some things might break into the blood stream this way, even if the odds are against it.


Her dentist is quite correct in doing so but not for the somewhat simplistic reason you expressed. And you also can't extrapolate bacterial contamination to overexposure to hypotonic water. I don't want to go into too much background but basically there are certain bacterial strains in the mouth that have the ability to attach to the inside walls of our heart - and the chances of them doing so increase exponentially if there are irregular turbulences in the flow of blood through the heart - such as those caused by a heart murmur. If these bacterial cells manage to attach themselves there you can have serious problems later on.

What your dentist is doing is creating a hostile (from a bacterial point of view) environment in your mother's bloodstream thereby eliminating any possible bacterial cells that might make it into her bloodstream via injuries in the mouth.

Your reasoning goes as follows: since these bacteria can get into our bloodstream through the wound so can "tap water" and that can have the adverse consequences I talked about earlier. This line of reasoning does not hold however because for those ill effects of tap water to take place one would need to get a substantial (several ml) bolus of water into your blood system in a very short amount of time - under a second. Otherwise the tap water would just get diluted into our normal blood and have no effect. For this to happen through a wound in the mouth (or any kind of wound anywhere) is physiologically impossible. This is because our blood is under too great a pressure and is flowing too fast for the miniscule amounts of outside water that manage to trickle in to make any kind of discernable difference.

A bacteria on the other hand has active mechanisms that enable it to push itself inside the blood vessel and apart from that bacterial contamination requires much much less foreign particle penetration than would be required for tap water to harm you.

The are many orders of magnitude distance between how much tap water can enter an exposed blood vessel and how much would be needed to cause us harm. The same does not hold for bacterial cells.

Offline SkepThickHeaded

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lost deciduous teeth, saltwater rinse a myth?
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2007, 02:01:22 PM »
When I had my wisdom teeth chiseled out (literally), they had me irrigate the holes with salt water for about a week.  Years later when I had my sinus's scraped out (also literally), I again was told to irrigate with salt water.

So, it's not exactly a crazy extrapolation to tell someone to irrigate a lost tooth with salt water.  It's probably utterly unnecessary as the tooth is falling out as part of about as natural a process as is possible.
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Offline kikyo

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lost deciduous teeth, saltwater rinse a myth?
« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2007, 02:42:23 PM »
I wonder if the salt water rinse is based on the same principle as the salt water gargle, which you do when you have a sore throat because it washes away the layer of mucus that contains bacteria and proteins that cause inflammation.

Perhaps it is just meant to prevent inflammation in the wound area from this type of superficial bacteria.

(PS: Source for salt water gargle info.)
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Offline JurijD

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lost deciduous teeth, saltwater rinse a myth?
« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2007, 05:20:52 PM »
Quote from: "kikyo"
I wonder if the salt water rinse is based on the same principle as the salt water gargle, which you do when you have a sore throat because it washes away the layer of mucus that contains bacteria and proteins that cause inflammation.

Perhaps it is just meant to prevent inflammation in the wound area from this type of superficial bacteria.

(PS: Source for salt water gargle info.)


yeah BUT that water gargle is not just salt gargle but WARM salt water gargle. I'd be really interested in a comparison of warm salt water gargle to just warm water gargle.

these kinds of "studies" are totally useless since they make the patient go through a procedure and then ask if they felt "relief".

wel. DUUUH. Can anyone say placebo ?

Offline Joe Shmoe

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lost deciduous teeth, saltwater rinse a myth?
« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2007, 07:55:34 PM »
Quote from: "JurijD"
Quote from: "kikyo"
I wonder if the salt water rinse is based on the same principle as the salt water gargle, which you do when you have a sore throat because it washes away the layer of mucus that contains bacteria and proteins that cause inflammation.

Perhaps it is just meant to prevent inflammation in the wound area from this type of superficial bacteria.

(PS: Source for salt water gargle info.)


yeah BUT that water gargle is not just salt gargle but WARM salt water gargle. I'd be really interested in a comparison of warm salt water gargle to just warm water gargle.

these kinds of "studies" are totally useless since they make the patient go through a procedure and then ask if they felt "relief".

wel. DUUUH. Can anyone say placebo ?


Couldn't they just take a throat culture afterwards?

 

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