Salt water has been used to help ease sore or scratchy throats for generations. The salt water helps to wash away the mucus that is lining the throat causing the irritation. Salt water also helps ease inflammation. What the salt water is doing is taking those fluids that are germ-filled and eliminating them.
When you have a sore throat, it is perfectly okay to gargle with the salt water once, twice, or even more often during the day or night. As a matter of fact, gargling with salt water may help to eliminate the sore throat faster than the throat spray that is for sale everywhere now.
The process is called hypertonic. This is the right amount of salt combined with a certain amount of water. In turn, this will soak the cells and bring the toxins or germs to the surface where they will get washed away.
Do Dentists Agree?
Most dentists will agree that salt water helps ease the discomfort of a sore throat. However, at the same time, they prefer to let patients be aware that salt water can also soften the enamel on the teeth.
Salt water is considered to be an antibacterial wash, and it can also help eliminate bad breath. They are also able to explain that salt water can help a toothache, heal canker sores and clear the mucus.
Both medical and Dental professionals insist that the mix be appropriate for it to work properly. The mix recommended is 1 cup of warm water with ½ teaspoon salt. Be sure that the salt has fully dissolved before beginning the gargling. The salt could grate along the lining of the throat when gargling, or when accidentally swallowing. This could cause more pain than what you started with.
However, salt water is not always a good thing.
The Benefits of Salt Water
Like all things, there are good and bad, even about salt water. The benefits will vary per person, however, it is in general helpful to all people. Gargling can help prevent upper respiratory tract infections. When you gargle with the salt water, you are not only removing the mucus, you are removing germs that come to the surface due to the water.
Decreases the harmful bacteria in the mouth. This helps to maintain the correct pH levels, which also helps fight gingivitis. Salt water also fights against a fungal yeast infection called Candidiasis. This fungal infection can spread to the mouth and throat easily.
Salt water is one of the most effective ways in which to help yourself clear your passages from a head cold or nasal congestion. The salt water gargle helps to thin the mucus that builds up in the respiratory tract and nasal passages.
Allergies and Hayfever can be alleviated somewhat by gargling with salt water.
Negatives of Salt Water
With all the ways that salt water is helpful, it can also be harmful to some people. It is common knowledge that too much salt is not good for anybody. Gargling with saltwater can raise the sodium levels and plasma in your body.
Salt water is acidic, this means that gargling with it every day can soften the tooth enamel and gums. People with high blood pressure should use caution and not gargle with salt water unless they have spoken with their Physician prior to using it.
The excessive intake of sodium can raise the risk of cardiovascular issues. Even with children. If the water is too hot, you are at risk of burning the inside of your mouth or throat. Always check the water to ensure that it is only lukewarm. Follow the recommended measurements when making a glass of saltwater. Too much salt is capable of making people feel nauseous or worse, actually vomit.
The salt water can also lead to dehydration. According to highly respected Ear, Nose and Throat Physicians, be sure to drink more water than normal. The salt will dry out the mucus, but it also takes that moisture away. Truth be told, when you have a cold or sinus issues, or sore throat, an ENT will generally suggest gargling 2 to 4 times a day with salt water.
ENTs will also suggest good old-fashioned Chicken Soup. The difference between the Chicken Soup and the salt water is that the broth contains nutrients that help fight infections. Other suggestions that work as well as salt water gargles include yogurt, ice cream, and icy cold water.
How To Use Salt Water
The correct correlation of salt in warm water is going to be more beneficial than using too much salt, too hot of water, or not enough salt. The recommended measurements are ½ teaspoon of salt to 1 cup of water. Be sure the water is not hot. If it seems too salty, add a little more water to dilute it more.
After having a Dental Procedure done, your dentist will generally tell you that you should gargle with a little salt water. This will help prevent infection from setting into the freshly worked area.
When you are ready to gargle, take as much of the salt water into your mouth as possible. Then you need to tilt your head back and swish and gargle the water in the back of the throat. Slowly tilt the head forward into a straight position and swish the solution around your teeth upper and lower and also on both sides.
Spit the water out. Continue to gargle with the solution until your cup is empty. Use the same method each time you add the solution to your mouth, tilt back, then slowly forward.
If you or someone in your family has trouble gargling, then a saltwater rinse should not be used. There are also some people who cannot handle the taste of saltwater, for them it is suggested that they add a teaspoon of honey or garlic.
How Often Can You Gargle With Salt Water
As far as how often you can gargle with salt water, again, that will vary on not only the person but also the reason they are gargling. For those who have a sore throat, cold, cough, or toothache, gargling three or four times a day is not too often. That is what is most often recommended by Physicians and Dentists.
If you are gargling to rid your mouth of bad breath and rinse off the bacteria and plaque from your teeth, once to twice daily is sufficient. Balance is the key.
Should You Rinse After Gargling With Salt Water
Depending on what reason you are gargling with salt water, for example, sore throat, scratchy throat, congestion, the salt water is an isotonic solution. This means that it battles the bacteria in the throat, mouth, and on teeth. It is best to not rinse out the mouth right away, it is advisable to allow the isotonic solution to do the work and fight the germs.
If you rinse your mouth with saltwater to rid your mouth of the bad breath, rinse your mouth after the salt water is suggested.
Is Salt Water Better Than Mouthwash?
There is no documented research on the comparison between salt water and actual mouth wash. Salt water gargling has been around for generations. Today it would be called a ‘Homeopathic’ medicine. It is all-natural, with no added ingredients other than salt and water unless you are one of the many who need to add honey or garlic to it. Lemon juice is also a possibility to change the flavor.
However, you will find that more Dental Professionals would prefer that you gargle with Hydrogen Peroxide 3% solution. The peroxide will clean, freshen and brighten the teeth while at the same time-fighting gum disease and infection.
Both salt water and Hydrogen Peroxide will inhibit the growth of bacteria in your mouth, either solution can be used before or after brushing your teeth. Many will do it both before to loosen plaque, bring the cells to the surface and inhibit the growth of new bacteria. Then they will brush their teeth thoroughly and once again rinse their mouth with the salt water.
While you are brushing, you will loosen up plaque, food that is stuck, and bacteria. This second rinse with salt water will remove all loosened gunk from your mouth, enabling your mouth to be cleaner, fresher, and smell better.
To be perfectly clear, gargling with salt water will not cure a common cold or remove a bad tooth. Salt water is used to help with bacterial infections, and congestion because it will loosen the mucus. Salt water may help you feel better quicker, but only time will cure a common cold. Only a Dentist can fix a tooth that has some tooth decay beginning, and the faster it is fixed, the better you will be.
As much as we would love to say Salt Water will cure the illness, it cannot be definitively stated. It will relieve some pain that you feel, in your throat with a sore throat. Along with the Salt Water, try some good old-fashioned chicken soup. Or, make an appointment with your physician or ENT Specialist.