Is salt water gargle helpful with a sore throat? How salt water gargles can help with other health problems and how to use it.
These are the topics that we will present to you in this article today.
A sore throat is a miserable thing to deal with. You don’t realize how many times you swallow during the day until every swallow becomes a painful undertaking.
Mothers and grandmothers the world over hold the belief that gargling with warm salt water is a surefire way to soothe a sore throat. But does it work? Is there any scientific merit to it?
Warm Water Gargle Can Reduce Chest Infection By 40%
You’ll be happy to know that scientific research has probed warm water gargle, a “grandma’s remedy,” and validated its efficacy.
A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine showed that warm water gargles done 3 times a day can reduce the incidence of upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) by about 40%.
The researchers also found that gargling with water effectively alleviated the discomfort of a sore throat among volunteers.
Salt Water Gargle For A Sore Throat
Salt Water Gargle Can Relieve Soreness And Pain
Now while warm water helps, what helps more is adding a pinch of salt to it. So how do warm water salt gargles work?
By osmosis, the process by which water moves across a membrane, from a dilute solution to a concentrated one (you learned it in school!)
The mucous membrane lining your throat is a place that invading viruses and bacteria find warm and hospitable enough to flourish.
The resulting pain and soreness are caused by edema or swelling of the infected throat tissues.
As the salt water gargle – in medical parlance, hypertonic solution – has a higher concentration of salt than the fluids in your throat tissues, it draws away water from them.
This helps relieve those uncomfortable symptoms like soreness and pain while swallowing.
Salt Water Gargle Can Expel The Infectants
But that’s not all. Warm salt water helps destroy the organisms that cause the infection.
How? Osmosis again. When the salt water solution drains out the fluids in which the organisms thrive, they become dehydrated and perish. The bacteria-laden mucus is washed out by the gargle.
Gargle With Warm Salt Water 3–4 Times A Day
Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in 8 oz (1 cup) warm water. Gargle at least 3–4 times daily.
Also drink plenty of fluids – water, juices, and soups. About 8–10 glasses a day should help keep your throat well hydrated.
Salt Water Gargle Is Safe For Children
Viruses account for 95% of sore throats among children below 5 years and 70% of sore throats in children aged between 5 and 15 years.
Bacterial infection (specifically strep throat) is responsible for about one-third of sore throats among children in the 5–15 age group.
This being the case, salt water gargles are likely to be frequently used in families with young, school-going children. And with good reason too – after all, it’s safe and side-effect-free!
Here are a few tips on preparing and using salt water gargles specifically for children:
- Prepare a salt water gargle using ½ to 1 teaspoonful of salt in 8 oz. of warm water.
- For smaller children who may swallow the solution, use less salt, about ¼ to ½ teaspoonful.
- Avoid gargling altogether if a child’s sore throat is too painful or if they cannot gargle without choking.
Ayurveda Recommends Adding Turmeric Powder In It
Salt water to ease a sore throat finds mention in Ayurveda too. Ayurvedic practitioners also recommend adding a pinch of turmeric powder to your salt water gargle to make the remedy more effective.
Turmeric is widely recommended for upper respiratory tract diseases as it has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.
How To Prepare
- ½ cup of water
- 1 teaspoon rock salt/sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
Boil the water and dissolve salt and turmeric powder in it. Set aside, cover, and allow the solution to steep for 5 minutes. Use it when the temperature cools down and it’s comfortable enough to gargle.
A Word Of Caution
If your sore throat doesn’t clear up with salt water gargling in about 3 days, it may be time to seek professional medical help.
Symptoms like fever, enlarged tonsils, and white mucous patches on the throat or tonsils could be signs of a bacterial infection for which you may require antibiotics.
Read More: Natural Remedies for Sore Throat
How to gargle effectively
Gargling for as long as possible can help ensure that the mouthwash is effective.
To use the saltwater gargle:
- Take as much of the solution into the mouth as is comfortable.
- Gargle the salt water around the back of the throat.
- Rinse around the mouth, teeth, and gums.
- Spit out the solution.
A person should try to gargle the saltwater solution for as long as possible. Although the saltwater solution is generally safe to swallow, it is best to spit it out.
For maximum effectiveness, a person should gargle with salt water once or twice a day.
People recovering from dental procedures can use a saltwater solution to rinse their mouths. However, for the first few days, they should rinse very gently to prevent scabs from opening up, and follow the directions from their dental professional.
Saltwater gargles can be effective for treating mild pain, discomfort, and tickles in the mouth and throat. We discuss some of the conditions that saltwater gargles can help treat and prevent below.
Saltwater gargles can be an effective way to relieve discomfort from sore throats.
Both the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement and the American Cancer Society (ACS) recommend gargling with salt water to soothe sore throats.
According to the ACS, regular use of saltwater gargles can help keep the mouth clean and prevent infections, particularly in people undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Canker sores are painful ulcers that can develop in the mouth. Gargling with salt water may help ease pain and promote healing of the sores.
Some allergies, such as hay fever, can cause a person’s nasal passages and throat to swell, which can be uncomfortable.
Though gargling with salt water will not prevent the allergy, it may help alleviate some of the throat discomforts.
Gargling with salt water may help relieve the symptoms of the common cold.
Upper respiratory infections are typical and include common colds, the flu, mononucleosis, and sinus infections. Some research suggests that gargling with salt water can alleviate symptoms and even help prevent upper respiratory infections.
Regularly gargling with salt water can assist in removing bacteria from the gums, which helps in cleaning and preventing the buildup of plaque and tartar.
A buildup of bacteria in the mouth can lead to gum disease and tooth decay.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that people gently rinse the mouth with a warm saltwater solution after having a dental procedure. Doing this can help keep the extraction site clean and prevent infection.
Conclusion: Salt water gargle is very effective for a sore throat. It also helps a person to keep a clean mouth may alleviate pain and discomfort from sore throats, mouth sores, and dental procedures.
A person can gargle with salt water several times a day with no side effects.
If you try it and symptoms don’t go away for a few days it is best to seek medical help.