The Benefits of Saltwater Gargles

Updated: Sep 28, 2020


Saltwater gargles were a staple in my household. They came to my rescue anytime I had a throat ailment. Unfortunately, I seldom hear about this simple and cheap home remedy, that are in fact backed up by scientific data. My guess is data that doesn’t make someone money doesn't get as much publicity. But its 2020, and it’s time to change that.


From providing relief to a sore throat to helping eliminate tonsil stones, saltwater gargles make their way into treatment plans repeatedly. This practice can help the healing process after an extraction as well. Here we unpack the mystery behind this inexpensive and readily available remedy.


Why does it work?

Salt pulls water into the oral cavity via osmosis. Fluid is constantly accumulating in an area of inflammation. The salt helps pull the water, thus alleviating some of the pressure in the site.

Utilizing warm water brings blood flow to the area and helps dissolve the salt. Utilizing cold water will help reduce blood flow during inflammation. Its best to use water that is lukewarm.

Popularity in Science

Cancer Treatment

According to the American Cancer Society, saltwater gargles can help keep the mouth and prevent infections. They are particularly useful for an individual undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Extractions

The American Dental Association recommends gently rising with saltwater after dental procedures. You can help clean out an extraction site and also prevent infection. The salt solution brings bacteria to the surface of the gums, teeth and throat. Once they are exposed, water washes them away when it is spit out. This decreases the overall bacterial load in the oral cavity.


Respiratory Infections

Studies have shown that individuals conducting saltwater gargles are less like to develop an upper respiratory tract infection.




Recipes

Mix an 8-ounce glass of water with a teaspoon or two of salt. Do not swallow the mixture. You can also add a teaspoon of baking soda for added dental benefits.

Don’t use if…

Anyone with high blood pressure or medications and treatments that prescribe limitation on sodium intake should speak to their doctor before doing salt water gargles. Children that cannot spit should also avoid this method.


Salt water gargles are an age-old practice in Eastern medicine. Inexpensive and relatively side effect free and backed by science. What's not to love about that?


Sources:

  1. https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/physical-side-effects/mouth-problems/mouth-sores.html

  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3793484/

  3. http://www.jisppd.com/article.asp?issn=0970-4388;year=2010;volume=28;issue=3;spage=138;epage=144;aulast=rupesh

  4. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/side-effects/mouth-throat

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