How Salt Water Gargle Provide Relief with Sore Throat
During winter and early spring, you might feel a little discomfort in the throat. It can be due to the common cold, the flu, or merely a minor sore throat. This “little discomfort” can be easily corrected by a simple home remedy, Salt Water Gargle.
You will surely find this simple remedy as part of your Grandma’s home remedies to cure the sore throat.
The Salt Water Gargle is a simple, home-prepared, and effective liquid preparation. It will help you get an immediate cure and relief from the pain and irritation caused by a sore throat, without having to visit the nearest doctor’s chamber or grab a medication to treat it.
Due to their efficacy, ease in use, and fast action in relieving the conditions affecting mouth and throat, it has gained popularity among masses. The advantages of using this liquid preparation are, firstly they are easy and quick to prepare, secondly, they are highly economical.
You can read the post on what to eat with a sore throat, to know about the soups, teas, and foods that will less irritate your already infected throat.
What is Saltwater Gargle?
Saltwater gargle is an easily prepared, natural home remedy for sore throat that has been in use for many years. The Indian Culture has been following this home remedy to treat various ailments of mouth and throat, it provides relief from irritation and pain.
This preparation can be used in providing relief and provide a soothing sensation to the throat in a matter of a few hours. The inflammation caused in the mouth and throat is treated by using saltwater gargle.
Though this liquid preparation is many years old, it’s efficacy and effectiveness has been supported by Science. An osmotic effect is created when a pinch of salt is added to a glass of warm water.
Saltwater interacts with the mucus/fluids inside the tissues of the mouth & throat and clears the throat region. The warmth of lukewarm water add to the effect and soothes the throat. Using this solution 2-3 times a day provides much-needed relief by treating the inflammation and irritating infection (1).
How Does Salt Water Gargle Work?
Gargling with salt water will flush out the bacteria present in the oral cavity. This, in turn, moisturizes the walls, linings of the oral cavity by acting as a lubricant. You might feel a slight irritation when you use it for the first time but a few minutes later you will feel much comfort.
It also helps in breaking up thick mucus, which can remove irritants like allergens, bacteria, and fungi present in the mouth and throat due to the widespread infection affecting these tissues.
A small study from the year 2010 was carried out in which 45 children as participants were investigated for testing the effectiveness and efficacy of a saltwater gargle and a mouthwash containing alum.
The researchers reported that children who used one of the saltwater garglings twice daily for 21 days had significantly reduced levels of bacteria present inside the mouth, compared with those children who were given a placebo solution during the study.
However, the saltwater gargle was not as effective in minimizing the bacteria level inside the mouth in comparison to the alum mouthwash. Alum is chemically Potassium Aluminum sulfate and is one of the key ingredients in most of the mouthwashes.
Doctors and dentists highly recommended using saltwater gargles to treat the pain due to infection and inflammation in the mouth and throat (2).
How to Prepare Salt Water Gargle?
Saltwater gargle is very easy and an economical liquid preparation to make. It requires ingredients commonly present in every household, and a little effort to prepare it.
You can add baking soda to the solution to increase its effect on the throat infection. For example, the ACS has recommended combining the following ingredients to make this liquid preparation:
- One qt Water
- One teaspoon salt
- One teaspoon Baking soda
The recipe to prepare a saltwater gargle is given below:
- Take one glass of warm water. You can decide on the temperature, it needs to provide warmth to the throat.
- Add 1tbsp of salt and baking soda. Keep stirring the solution until these ingredients get completely dissolved in the water.
- Add honey or apple cider vinegar if you like. You can use turmeric to increase the medicinal aspect of the solution.
Do not use hot or boiling water to gargle. It can damage the tissues from your mouth and throat. Lukewarm water will also aid in increasing the blood flow in the mouth and throat, helping the immune system and helping in achieving quicker healing.
You can even improve the taste of the preparation by adding honey, lemon, peppermint, or garlic according to taste and requirement. You can also try apple cider vinegar for sore throat treatment.
It is recommended to use pure/ filtered water since tap water often contains Chlorine, which could cause irritation to the mouth and throat. Impurity in water can increase the risk of infection.
To extract the maximum benefit, make sure you use an adequate amount of salt. Too little salt won’t be effective.
How to Use a Salt Water Gargle?
Here are simple steps to use salt water for gargling.
- Take 20-30 ml saltwater in your mouth. You can adjust the quantity suitable for you.
- Tilt your head to look upwards so the solution can reach the throat region.
- Make a ‘ghrrrrr’ gargling sound, the saltwater shall get the motion to rinse the throat and oral cavity.
- Rinse for around 30-35 seconds.
- Spit out the solution and repeat it with a fresh solution.
Follow the above steps to perform 5-6 rounds. Though the saltwater solution is generally considered safe to swallow, it is better to avoid it. While gargling, you might swallow some drops and that is fine, just avoid gulping down the entire solution.
If you need something to drink during sore throat try homemade natural teas for sore throat.
One sip of the solution would not be sufficient to achieve the desired result. Repeat the procedure (generally 5-6 times).
For best results, perform the saltwater gargle 2-3 times a day. If you don’t see improvement in the sore throat condition in a day or two, you shall visit the doctor.
People who have had any dental procedures undertaken can use a saltwater solution to rinse their oral cavity but, only after following the directions of a dentist or qualified healthcare professional.
Benefits of Using Salt Water Gargle
You can use salt water for gargling even if you don’t suffer from a sore throat. There are numerous health benefits of using it, here are some of the best benefits.
Saltwater gargle is an effective way to treat and relieve the irritation due to a sore throat. Both the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement and the American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends using salt water gargle for a soothing sensation in the throat resulting due to sore throats.
Canker sores are painful and cause irritation as ulcers that develop inside the oral cavity. Using the saltwater gargle solution can help in alleviating the pain and can cause prompt healing of such sores.
Certain types of allergies that affect the nasal cavity as well as the throat, such as hay fever, can cause immense discomfort and irritation to the person. Use Saltwater gargles in such conditions as well.
They help in minimizing the pain caused by such allergies, thereby reducing the discomfort and irritation caused due to the allergy. But, this does not prevent the allergy in the nasal cavity altogether.
The most common respiratory diseases include common cold, flu, mononucleosis, and sinus infections, etc. It has been studied that using salt water gargles can help in minimizing the effects of such diseases by reducing the symptoms and providing a feeling of relief.
Respiratory infections were less in those participants who did saltwater gargles in a study conducted in the year 2013 on 338 participants.
To maintain oral hygiene, brush twice daily, and also floss once a day. You can use salt water gargles to achieve healthy and clean teeth.
By using this preparation daily, you get help in removing harmful bacteria affecting the teeth and gums to prevent tartar and plaque formation. This, in turn, helps in preventing tooth decay and gum related diseases.
American Dental Association (ADA) recommends this practice, especially those individuals who have recently undertaken any dental procedure. It decreases the chances of relapse of dental infection and helps in maintaining oral hygiene.
Gargling with salt water is not for everybody. If you are suffering from high blood pressure or severe medical conditions, it is advisable to see your doctor.