How to gargle salt water

How to gargle salt water

How to gargle salt water

Gargling salt water is a simple home remedy that may help to ease the pain and relieve the symptoms of various conditions that affect the mouth and throat. But which illnesses can it be used to help treat, and how do you do it? Keep reading to find out.  

What does gargling salt water do?

Many people around the world gargle salt water, often on a regular basis. From sore throats to mouth ulcers and allergies, this straightforward technique could help you to treat a whole range of health complaints. To give you a better idea of what gargling salt water can do, here are some of the purposes it is sometimes used for.

Soothe a sore throat

There’s no denying that a sore throat can be extremely painful. Fortunately, gargling warm salty water can offer a quick and easy way to relieve this discomfort. While it won’t cure your sore throat, using salt water can help to clean your mouth and throat, and it can soothe the pain[1]. It can also help to prevent further infections.

Alleviate the symptoms of upper respiratory infections

It’s thought that gargling with salt water can alleviate the symptoms associated with upper respiratory infections such as the common cold, flu, strep throat and glandular fever[2]. In fact, swishing salt water in your mouth may help to reduce infection severity, and it could help to prevent you from becoming ill in the first place.

Heal canker sores

A canker sore is a painful ulcer that can develop in the mouth. It can be extremely uncomfortable, especially when it comes to eating. It’s believed that using salt water can help reduce inflammation and ease the discomfort of a canker sore, as well as encourage healing[3].

Relieve allergy symptoms

Some allergies, such as hay fever, can cause a whole host of unpleasant symptoms, including a sore throat. Although it will not prevent the allergy, gargling salt water can be a way of relieving throat pain.

Improve dental health

Frequently gargling salt water is also thought to improve dental health[4]. Salt water can assist in removing bacteria from the gums, which in turn can help prevent the build-up of plaque and tartar. As a result, this can reduce your chances of developing gum disease or tooth decay.

How much salt should I gargle?

You don’t have to use much salt to make a mouthwash. In fact, the NHS recommends dissolving just half a teaspoon of salt in a standard size glass of water (which is generally 200-250ml)[1].  

How to gargle with salt water

The technique is simple. You stir the salt into the water until it is dissolved. Using warm water will make this process quicker. Once it is dissolved, take a swig of the solution (as much as you can comfortably hold in your mouth) and gargle it around your mouth and the back of your throat. After you’ve gargled, spit the solution out. Although the salty water is generally safe to swallow, it’s best not to. You can repeat these steps as often as you like.

How long to gargle salt water

For maximum benefit, try to gargle the solution for as long as you can. This will give the salt time to have an effect. You might wish to gargle with salt water once or twice a day.

Using a salt water solution isn’t a magic bullet for conditions such as sore throats, but it might provide some relief. You can also explore other treatment options, such as anaesthetic throat sprays.