We have always tried to avoid salt water gargle in our childhoods, haven’t we? The overwhelming taste of the salt water tickling the back of the throat often made us gag which was definitely not a pleasant feeling at all.
That being said, the benefits of salt water gargle are extraordinary too. From being an amazing cure for the scratchy pain of a sore throat to being a fruitful remedy for tooth ache, the list definitely is a long one.
If you are also someone who tries to shy away from salt water gargle, this specific article is just to enlighten you about its amazing health benefits. So, next time you are down with any of these health problems, you know not to negate this as a remedy and rather, embrace it.
How to Salt Water Gargle?
Salt water gargling is probably one of the easiest yet effective remedies for a number of health ailments, especially the problems one face because of cold and accumulated mucus in the chest.
The steps involved in salt water gargle include:
- Boil some water and add half a teaspoon of salt to it
- Stir and dissolve it completely
- Check the temperature before taking it into your mouth. Make sure that it’s not too hot to burn your tongue
- Take a sip of the warm salt water and hold it in your mouth for a few seconds
- Tilt your head back and look up and gargle with the salt water for 20-30 seconds
- Repeat the exact same process till you finish the salt water
If you are suffering from a sore throat, gargle with the salt water in intervals of four hours or so to relieve the pain and scratchiness from the throat.
How Does the Salt Water Gargle Actually Work?
In order to break down the mechanics of action, you need to understand what osmosis is because that is exactly what this process acts upon.
Osmosis is the gradient based movement of the solvent from an area with high concentration to low concentration in order to attain and maintain the equilibrium.
When you suffer from conditions like a sore throat which is caused because of the bacterial infestation in the throat, gargling with salt water helps a lot. When you gargle, due to a high concentration of the salt in the water in your mouth cavity in comparison to the tissue membranes which is why the sodium present in the salt water enters the tissue membranes and makes the environment of the tissue more solute rich.
This osmotic movement results in dehydration of the tissues around the throat which eventually results in making a hostile environment for the growing bacteria in the tissues, thereby arresting their further growth.
While the salt water gargle doesn’t necessarily heal the entire thing, it sure does provide with a substantial amount of relief, for the time being.
Health Benefits of Salt Water Gargle
Now that we are more or less well versed with the HOWs and WHYs related to salt water gargle, let us delve into the salt water gargle benefits for health.
- Oral Thrush
- Chest Congestion
- Canker Sores
- Bad Breath
- Tooth Ache
- Sore Throat
- Strep Throat
- Bleeding Gums and Swollen Gums
- Upper Respiratory Tract Infection
1. Salt Water Gargle for Oral Thrush
Oral thrush is a common yeast infection which is caused by the Candida fungus (R). It is often characterized by the visible white patches that occur inside the mouth and even the gums. These kinds of infections are viable to attack any person at any point of time but there are chances that children and old people are more prone to these problems because of a weak immune system.
Salt water mouth rinse is an amazing remedy for this problem primarily because it helps fight the infection causing fungus and heals it quickly.
What To Do?
- Mix half teaspoon of salt to a glass of water
- Stir to dissolve it completely
- Sip some of the salt water and rinse your mouth with it
- Spit it out and don’t swallow the water
- Repeat this process till you run out of the water completely
2. Salt Water Gargle To Remove Tonsillitis
Tonsils are the collection of lymphoid tissues which are primarily found in the back of the throat and for the most part, face the aerodigestive tract. There are instances and several causes which can be the reason behind the swelling of these tissue lumps that can contribute to pain and problems in swallowing of food.
Salt water gargle benefits the signs and symptoms related to tonsillitis and even for the presence of tonsil stones (which many people are not even aware of). Gargle twice or thrice daily with warm water and that should help minimize the symptoms that accompany this problem.
3. Salt Water Gargle Helps Chest Congestion
Chest congestion is primarily the symptom of a number of diseases, be it cold and coughs bronchitis or even tuberculosis, the possibilities are endless. It is primarily characterized by the heaviness around the chest, blocked air passage (R) and heavy breathing accompanied by wheezing as well.
The benefits for chest congestion when you gargle with salt water are endless. The warm water helps provide the throat with a soothing feeling, while the salt in the water helps in destroying the growth of any kind of microbial action that could possibly result in infection.
The salt water mouth rinse and gargle should be done regularly at least twice to cut down the symptoms of chest congestion.
4. Gargle Salt Water for Cough
If you didn’t know what the term antitussive means, it refers to the remedies which help heal a cough – be it dry or filled with phlegm. Gargling with salt water brings about a very pleasant relief to the throat which otherwise feels painful and scratchy because of the consistent coughing (R).
Make sure that you never mix more than half a teaspoon of salt in the water because that could end up altering your ion balance of the body. Never drink the salt water after you are done gargling, rather, spit it out and rinse your mouth with fresh water once you are finished with the salt water gargle.
5. Salt Water Gargle for Canker Sores
Canker sores are the white ulcer like outgrowth that you witness in your mouth cavity. They can be caused because of a number of reasons and are often very irritating and painful to withstand. Some of the common causes of canker sores include accidentally biting on the inside of the cheek or lips or even because of the hormonal disbalance brought about by the process of menstruation.
Gargling salt water benefits by reducing the irritation brought on by the canker sores. It helps heal these ulcers like outgrowths and ensures to keep the irritation in check.
Gargle with salt water in normal temperature water because it has been seen that gargling with warm water for canker sores often tends to make the sores even worse, causing them to turn into painful blisters.
6. Salt Water Gargle Cures Bad Breath
The two primary reasons behind the onset of bad breath are either the alterations in the mouth pH levels or because of the bacterial growth in the mouth. Whatever the reasons are, there is nothing that a little swish of salt water can’t fix.
Salt water gargle helps in restoring the mouth’s pH levels and even aids in killing off any kind of bacterial growth in the mouth cavity. If you are faced with problems of bad breath, be it acute or even chronic, just do a salt water mouth rinse and you are good to go.
7. Salt Water Gargle for Tooth Ache
Toothache can be the outcome of a number of reasons (R), the primary being the accumulation of pus in between the teeth. Why does this happen? Well, mainly because of the impending growth of bacteria in the mouth cavity which ends up causing infection. The infection increases fluid pressure in between the teeth because of its accumulation which is what exerts the pain that we feel.
While you will definitely need to depend on antibiotics to completely get rid of the infection, the benefits of salt water rinse can help heal the pain to a certain extent by flushing out the fluid from inside the mouth cavity.
Since there is a possibility of infection related to the treatment of a toothache, it is always advised to be aware of never swallowing the water and always spitting it out, either after gargling or rinsing.
[Read more about Abscess Tooth]
8. Sore Throat
If you weren’t aware, a sore throat is the aftermath of severe bacterial and fungal interaction in your throat. While the antibiotics can definitely help get rid of it for good, you can opt for salt water gargle to get temporary relief from the pain and irritation.
The salt water helps keep the bacteria at bay by perishing them by exposing them to an inhabitable environment and the water content helps in hydrating the body and ensuring to keep the scratchiness of a sore throat away.
For best results for curing sore throat, try gargling with salt water at least twice or thrice a day.
[Read More Remedies For Sore Throat]
9. Strep Throat
Strep throat is not that much of a different scenario than the sour throat. Both of them are caused because of bacterial interaction in the throat and are characterized by the inflammation and pain in the throat.
Much like the effect salt water gargle has on a sore throat, it helps in washing away the bacterial infestation and drains some of the fluid out which makes the pain less and starts the process of healing.
10. Salt Water for Bleeding Gums and Swollen Gums
No one likes to feel pain while brushing their teeth, only to end up spitting blood at the end of the process. Bleeding gums are the hint at the fact that your gums are not as healthy as they might look (R). Weakened gums are the stepping stone to every problem one faces, be it a toothache or even infection in the gums.
The salt water rinse is an amazing remedy for the treatment of bleeding and swollen gums. It helps in getting rid of any kind of cavities or even infection that could be the reason behind the same. Swishing the entire salt water throughout the mouth reaches the crevices of the mouth and helps get rid of all the signs and symptoms that accompany it.
11. Salt Water Rinse for Gingivitis
Gingivitis is a rather common gum disease which is characterized by swollen gums and pains the area surrounding it. The primary reason behind this problem is the persistent accumulation of plaque. When it is left untreated, it ends up hardening the area around the gums, thereby swelling the gums in the process.
Gargling with salt water a few times throughout the week can end up getting rid of the plaque (R) for good which, in turn, heals the situation of gingivitis.
12. Salt Water Clears the Accumulation of Mucus
Mucus secretion is a necessity for our body. It helps cushion our organs and even protects them from any kind of shock or trauma. But, there are instances when the excessive secretion of mucus ends up being a problem.
The excess secretion of mucus often tends to cause congestion in the chest and even block the air passage that results in labored breathing and wheezing too. Gargling with salt water helps in breaking down and dissolving the accumulated mucus which, in turn, ensures to keep the airway clear and doesn’t hinder with the breathing.
13. Upper Respiratory Tract Infection
In a study conducted in Japan, it was established that a regular salt water gargle done at least twice or three times daily helps in reducing the probability of upper respiratory tract infection by a percentage of 40.
It is believed that the salt water gargle helps in getting rid of the infection by perishing the building bacteria in the respiratory tract (R). Make sure that you are spitting the water out after swirling it around your mouth because the lack of it often tends to increase the intensity of the infection.
Side Effects of Gargling with Salt Water
Much like every other remedy, there is another side to a coin with the salt water gargle as well. Were you aware of this fact that not just the benefits of salt water gargle, there are side effects to it as well?
Well, if not, here are the top three side effects of gargling with salt water:
- If you add excess salt to the salt water, there are chances that it will end up making your throat lining dehydrated because of the heightened levels of osmotic movement.
- Persistent salt water mouth rinse can often even end up eroding your enamel because of the concentrated combination of salt and water. If you are not suffering from a sore throat or any other symptoms that needs salt water gargle, try and limit doing the process to at most of two to three times in a week and not more than that.
- Accidental swallowing of the salt water can even result in altering your body’s ionic balance which can be ghastly for the body’s functioning. The heightened levels of sodium in the blood ends up arresting the cell membrane in an excited state rather than coming down to a resting state. This induces fatigue in the cells.
Salt water gargle is one of the handiest home remedies that have multiple benefits and provides the cure for a number of health ailments. Apart from keeping the common side effects aside, the benefits of salt water gargle are irreparable. We hope this list of benefits of salt water rinse was helpful for you.