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What you need to know about gargling with saltwater

Posted on September 10, 2021 by garglebog garglebog

What you need to know about gargling with saltwater.

Do you feel pain when you swallow? Or has your throat become like sandpaper and scratchy? You most probably have a sore throat.

Sure, sore throat or mouth sores are commonly experienced conditions for most people. However, they can sometimes be unpleasant things to deal with, especially when there is a pain for any liquid or bit of food that passes down your gullet.

The good news is, as pharmacies and hospitals sell or provide medicated mouthwashes, saltwater is safe, affordable, and simple to make home remedies for mouth and throat washes without side effects. And that’s gargling with saltwater.

Saltwater gargles are an effective way to prevent, relieve or ease pain and symptoms related to conditions like sore throats, bleeding gums, sinus infections, and viral respiratory infections such as cold and other mouth or throat-related problems.

Before we expand on the above conditions, let’s discuss what saltwater gargles are and how you can make and use salt water gargle. After which, we would find out the risks and considerations.

What are saltwater gargles, and how are they made?

First, let’s find out what gargling means:

Gargling is to holding a liquid/solution in your mouth or throat while agitating with the air from the lungs with the aim of cleansing or disinfecting the oral cavity.

In simple terms, gargling is the act or process of bubbling liquid in the mouth.

The most common situation is when brushing your teeth and you take in water, keep it in motion by breathing through it. You’ll realize that your muscles in the throat cause a vibration. That vibration would cause the liquid bubble inside your mouth.

Now for saltwater gargles- means bubbling a saltwater solution (a mixture of water and table salt). You can also pedia gargle salt rinse which is saline to suit your oral needs.

But, how do you make saltwater?


Here is the recipe for saltwater

So, for the question’ does saltwater rinse affect your oral health?

Yes, using salt water to rinse your teeth or as a mouth wash has several effects aligned alongside it. Of course, both positive and a few negative impacts.

Well, let’s have the positive impacts you intend to gain from using saltwater gargle:

  • Water
  • Table salt
  • Teaspoon

The easiest and the cheapest way of making saltwater is by adding half to a quarter teaspoon of salt to every 8 ounces of water. Then you stir them until they combined. You should, however, use warm water.

And why’s that?

Warmth is more pleasant and relieving to sores than cold water. Besides, warm or hot water enhances the fast dissolve of salt. But, it’s safe to say your choice of water, warm or cold, won’t affect the effectiveness of the remedies.

An alternative recipe involves the addition of baking soda to saltwater solution; combine

  • One quarter water
  • One quarter salt
  • 1tablesspoon of baking soda

Why should you use salt water gargle

Saltwater gargles are home remedies for several conditions such as mouth pain, sore throats, bleeding gums, or mouth sores, among others. They are also effective for treating mild discomfort, pain, or tickles in the mouth and throat.

Therefore, they provide a standby option for minor ailments. Besides, taking in saltwater helps draw water from your oral tissues locking moisture and pathogens from getting inside.

In other words, gargling with saltwater is essential for blocking viruses and bacteria, thus reducing mouth and throat infections. In most cases, it helps relieve inflammation.

Also, regular gargling with salt water would help keep your mouth clean, preventing any infection, especially for those under chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Additionally, sing saltwater gargle is effective for flu, colds, plus mild sore throats. However, it would be best if you use acetaminophen or ibuprofen. To help relieve severe sores.

What conditions can salt water help you manage?

Here are some conditions that salt water can help prevent and treat

The conditions at a glance:

  • Sore throat
  • Sinus and Respiratory infections
  • Allergies
  • Dental health
  • Phlegm

At number one we have:

Sore throat

Gargling with salt water is much effective for relieving discomfort from sore throat.

Before we learn how saltwater help prevents treat sore throat, let’s first know what sore throat entails.

What is a sore throat?

Have you ever experience pain in your throat? That was likely a sore throat.

A sore throat, therefore, is a dry, scratchy, and painful feeling in the throat.

Causes of sore throats

In most cases, sore throats are caused by infections and environmental elements such as dry air.

Other causes include;

  • Bacteria (strep throat)
  • Viruses like the ones causing flu and colds
  • Allergies exposure to smoke

Of course, sore throats are unpleasant and make individuals uncomfortable. However, they can sometimes go away on their own.

How do you know you have a sore throat?

Symptoms of sore throat

  • Painful or scratchy throat
  • Dry throat
  • Difficulty in swallowing food or liquids can also indicate the presence of a sore throat.

Sore throats can is divided into several types depending on the part of the throat they attacks.

Type of sore throats

There are two major types

But how do you know the cause is viral or bacterial?

Here are the symptoms of a viral sore throat

  • Runny nose
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Cough
  • Any changes in your voice (raspy or breathy)
  • Mouth sores
  • Hoarseness
  • Body aches

Bacterial/strep symptoms of sore throat (bacteria group A strep)

  • Fever
  • Tiny red spot on the mouth
  • Swollen lymph nodes on the neck
  • Red swollen tonsil/white spots on tonsils
  • Pain during swallowing
  • Sore throat starting immediately after infection

Note this!

The type of sore throat you have would determine the kind of treatment you get. But the good thing is, gargling with water would help prevent or ease most of the sore throats.

At condition number two we have:

Sinus and Respiratory infections

Whether bacterial or viral, gargling with salt water can help reduce the severity of respiratory infections.

Respiratory infections may include tonsillitis, sinusitis, and otitis media, among others.

Their symptoms may include:

  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • flu
  • Headache
  • Sneezing and stuffy

According to the respiratory tract infections and prevention research done in 2010, it was found that gargling with salt water is more effective in preventing reinfection of respiratory illnesses than flu vaccination.

Condition number three!


If you wonder how allergies are linked to sore throat, then here is the point you may be missing.

Your throat can be irritating in some situations due to an allergic reaction to airborne elements such as pollen. Their accumulation may cause inflammation of the throat.

What are some of the symptoms of an allergy-induced sore throat?

Allergy symptoms include:

  • Itchy nose and eyes
  • Congestion
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Scratchiness

The good thing about allergy-induced sore throats is that they go away when you’re no longer exposed to any allergens. On the treatment, your first step must be to reduce your exposure to the allergens. However, saltwater gargles would help soothe or alleviate the painful sore throat.

This one you don’t want to miss out on!

Condition number four!

Dental health

Your dental or oral health is an essential part of your well-being, and if your dental hygiene is not maintained, then it may cost you more than you can imagine.

Besides food particles, your oral cavity collects and accumulates all types of fungi, bacteria, and viruses. Of course, some substances form your part of the normal flora.

However, some bacteria and viruses must be removed and using saltwater help in removing them from the gums. Thus ensure no plaque build-up as any build-up of bacterial would lead to tooth decay or gum infections.

Also, it’s recommended you gently rinse your mouth with warm saltwater solution after any dental process to help keep your teeth clean and prevent infections.

In other words, gargling with salt water can help draw bacteria and water your teeth or mouth, keeping the gums protected from any infections. Still, the saltwater solution can help prevent cavities, periodontitis, and gingivitis, and many other conditions.

Keep reading and learn more on condition five.


What is phlegm?

Have you ever realized some thick and sticky substances hanging on your throat, especially when you are sick? Those are probably phlegm.

Dust, allergens, bacteria, viruses, and other debris would always stick to the mucus whenever your breath in. The infected mucus is then passed to your respiratory system. The mucus makes phlegm which protects and supports the respiratory system.

Of course, mucus and phlegm are of health benefit, and you may be asking why the need to remove them?

There are sometimes when your body produces too much mucus that the body may not need. This mucus would require frequent cleaning. And that’s where gargling with salt water is of importance.

But, how exactly?

When there is the overproduction of mucus, which means more phlegm that becomes uncomfortable, saltwater gargles can help clear all excess hanging phlegm on your throat while killing germs and soothing your sore throat.

Which is the best way to gargle saltwater?

Making the gargling saltwater is very easy; the good thing we had discussed that. But do you know how to gargle effectively?

Here is what you must do:

  • Take as much solution into your mouth (a comfortable amount)
  • Gargle the water into the back of your mouth
  • Swish the solution around your mouth and teeth
  • Spit out the saltwater solution

Note that you can always gargle the saltwater as long as you can. While swallowing the solution isn’t bad, it’s always recommended you split it out. To realize the effectiveness of the resolution, it would be best if you gargle once or twice a day.

Put simply; it would be better if you get consistent with gargling. Doing it once and taking long won’t be productive. You have to implement a routine of gargling and strictly stick to it.

A quick recap on how saltwater clean your throat

Gargling with saltwater solution means you submerge the cells. At the same time, you draw liquids to the surface plus any bacteria or viruses present in your throat.

Splitting the gargled solution means you get rid of any infections that would be in your mouth or throat, especially those that require gargling as their remedies. Besides, the moisture on you’ll experience acts as a lubricant which helps soothe any irritation you may be having.

What are the benefits of saltwater gargles?

Gargling with salt water solution is useful for many reasons. It would be best if you made it a routine to gargle every day.

Soothe inflammation and infections- saltwater gargle can help alleviate sore throat and pain or irritation, especially for those caused by allergies, colds, or sinus infections.

Decrease harmful bacteria in your mouth

Salt kills bacteria in your mouth by sucking water out of them, leaving them dehydrated. And without water, bacterial proteins like enzymes can’t function. They’ll eventually die.

Maintain the pH levels of the mouth

Salt is a neutralizer of acids. The saltwater solution would help neutralize the acids that may facilitate bacteria to multiply in your mouth. Thus it helps maintain a healthy pH balance by preventing any growth of bacteria.

In other words, it takes away the hiding place- the steamy home and guards against the spread of fungal infections like candidiasis that may invade your mouth or throat.

Help clear the nasal passages

Dust, bacteria, and allergens can get trapped in your nasal passage on the mucus, which later may result in a sore throat, and salt water gargles would be the best solution to help clear your passage. The solution helps remove the mucus build-up in the respiratory system while reducing inflammation and pain in the throat.

Also, it flushes out viruses and bacteria that would result in a painful sore throat if not removed.

Provide relief to tonsils

Tonsils are the two oval-shaped glands sitting at the back of everyone’s throat. They are tasked with fighting bacteria and viruses that would enter the body via the mouth or nose. The tonsils will get inflamed as a result of bacterial and viral infection that causes sore throat.

The inflamed tonsils make it hard to swallow food. Gargling with salt water will relieve you of the pain and ease the pain.

Eliminates bad breath

Saltwater rinse is one of the remedies for bad breath and maintaining oral hygiene. It offers a natural way to of freshening your breath. And also, it’s the cheapest way for you to eliminate the bad smell.

It give relief to bleeding gum and toothache

Gargling warm saltwater solution provides relief to bleeding or swollen gums. It soothes the pain and reduces any inflammation of the gums. Besides, saltwater gargles also help reduce or get rid of toothache.

Apart from saltwater gargles:

It give relief to bleeding gum and toothache

Here is what to do:

Always stay hydrated

Dehydration would cost you, as your body can’t produce adequate mucus to keep your throat lubricated naturally. This can increase your chance of inflammation and swelling. Therefore, drink enough warm beverages or take plenty of fluids.

Use a clean humidifier

You can turn on a cool-mist vaporizer as breathing in moist air would help soothe your inflammation or swollen tissues on your throat. Turning on a cool humidifier would enhance the amount of moisture at your place.

Use honey

Apart from keeping you dehydrated, a drop of honey in warm tea or water would help soothe any irritation on your throat. Honey can also help relieve cough and money other benefits.

Baking soda gargle

As much as saltwater gargle would help soothe and relieve your throat, so is gargling baking soda mixed with saltwater. Such a solution would also help kill bacteria and prevent fungi and yeast growth.

Use of peppermint

Peppermint is known for its mouth freshening abilities, among numerous benefits. However, its diluted solution would help relieve sore throats. Besides, it’s also anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and much more is; it contains menthol that helps thin mucus, thus soothe sore throat and cough.

Try OTC medicines

Most research points out viruses cause the sorest throats. But, they can never be treated with antibiotics. They only kill bacteria and make the virus inactive just for some time. However, OTC drugs like Advil, Motrin among others that are anti-inflammatory, help reduce swelling of your throat. And help relieve the scratchiness or soreness of the throat.

Take in more respiratory health-promoting foods

You can ensure you consume foods and liquids containing ginger, lemon, or garlic as they can help treat coughs, excess mucus production, and colds. Also, spicy food containing capsaicin like chili peppers may temporarily help clear sinuses or get your mucus moving.

Take chamomile tea

Chamomile is used for medical purposes like soothing. Therefore, since they have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, they would be soothing to your sore throat. Consequently, you can inhale chamomile steam to help relieve symptoms of cold in addition to treating sore throat.

Chamomile tea is also a stimulant and would stimulate your body to fight off bacteria. These viral and other infections would cause sore throat.

Take licorice and marshmallow roots

Marshmallow and licorice roots have mucus structures that would coat and sore throat. You only need to add some boiled water to the roots to make a solution and gargle the solution. It helps reduce inflammation and soothes your sore throat.

But what happens when your sore throat persists?

Sure, some sore throats would get better on their own with time, like those caused by viral infections. However, some sore throats must be treated.

Therefore, you need to visit a doctor if your sore throats persist. Or, you can as well call your doctor mainly when you have the following more severe symptoms:

  • Sore joints
  • Severe sore throat
  • Stiff or painful neck
  • Trouble while breathing
  • earache
  • Severe fever
  • Difficulty in opening your mouth or trouble swallowing
  • Blood in mucus/saliva/phlegm
  • Any sore throat that has lasted more than a week

But what happens when your sore throat persists?

Sure, some sore throats would get better on their own with time, like those caused by viral infections. However, some sore throats must be treated.

Therefore, you need to visit a doctor if your sore throats persist. Or, you can as well call your doctor mainly when you have the following more severe symptoms:

  • Sore joints
  • Severe sore throat
  • Stiff or painful neck
  • Trouble while breathing
  • earache
  • Severe fever
  • Difficulty in opening your mouth or trouble swallowing
  • Blood in mucus/saliva/phlegm
  • Any sore throat that has lasted more than a week

Risks and considerations of using saltwater gargles

Is saltwater gargles safe for everyone?

Saltwater gargles may be considered safe for both children and adults to use several times a day should there be a need for that. Besides, there are no side effects to salt water gargling.

However, it may not be recommended for everybody, especially those with some medical conditions like high blood pressure. And others who must limit their salt intake should never use salt water gargle. Unless if they consult a dentist before they gargle saltwater solution.

Children should also not be allowed to gargle on the own

And whys that?

Some young people may not be able to gargle effectively leave alone making saltwater solutions. Worse is when they use any water to make the gargle.

You should know that not all water is safe for making gargle. Therefore, let a pediatrician advise on the right and safe age for children to start gargling.

For individuals who don’t like salt’s taste, they should add some garlic or honey to improve flavor.


Sore throats may result from bacterial and viral infections, as well as allergens or irritants, and sometimes caused by injuries. In most cases, some sore throats would get better on their own with time. Of course, they can sometimes be unpleasant, paining and irritating.

However, most sore throats can be prevented and managed by some home remedies unless when they persist. And if that happens, you’ll visit the hospital or call your doctors for prescriptions. The most commonly used home remedies for sore throats include gargling with saltwater, drinking warm liquids, and using over-the-counter pain reliever.

Salter water gargles help soothe the pain, inflammation, and infection of the sore throat, decrease harmful bacteria in the mouth and help clear the nasal passageways. Also, gargling with saltwater helps keep your mouth clean by eliminating bad breath. They are cheap and easy to make and always an alternative for medicated mouthwashes.