Importance of Gargling For Sore Throat and Other Respiratory illnesses


Gargling has been a common practice in India since ancient times, and rinsing the mouth with water after meals is essential for maintaining good oral hygiene. This practice has been passed down from generation to generation and is still widely followed today.

Regular gargling is considered a beneficial habit that helps keep the mouth clean and healthy. It helps to remove food particles, bacteria, and other debris from the mouth, reducing the risk of dental problems such as tooth decay and gum disease. Additionally, it can help freshen the breath and promote overall oral health.

In India, the tradition of gargling and rinsing the mouth with water after meals is deeply rooted in culture and has become a daily ritual for many. It is often accompanied by the use of natural substances such as neem leaves or turmeric powder, which are believed to have antimicrobial properties.

Overall, regular gargling and mouth rinsing are important habits that can help promote good oral hygiene and overall health, and the tradition continues to be widely followed in India.

In a conversation with Dr Gauri Merchant , Director, Department of Oral Health and Advanced Dentistry, Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital, we understand everything about gargling

Can a 5 year old gargle?

The water should be gargled and then spit out (not swallowed). Children younger than six years usually are not able to gargle properly.

Gargling for Oral Health

Salt Water Improves Your Gum Health

Gum inflammation and infections in the mouth start with excess bacteria buildup. As the bacteria in the mouth increases, the mucus membranes in the mouth as well as the gums become inflamed. Since salt helps reduce inflammation and inhibits bacterial growth, gargling with salt water and rinsing your mouth with warm salt water can help improve your overall oral health.

Salt Water Reduces Your Risk of Developing Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease. It starts with gum inflammation due to excess bacteria buildup in the mouth. Once the inflammation starts, you may notice your gums turning from pink to red. Next, you will notice that your gums bleed when you brush and/or floss your teeth. If gingivitis isn’t treated, it can lead to gum recession and periodontal disease. In order to inhibit the growth of bacteria in the mouth that can lead to gum inflammation and gingivitis, you may want to consider gargling with warm salt water a few times a week to prevent excess bacteria.

Why Salt Water Rinses Are Useful for Dental Care?

When you think of maintaining and improving your oral health, you may consider using an alcohol-based mouthwash to kill bacteria in your mouth. While using mouthwash, especially alcohol-based mouthwashes, are useful in killing bacteria, they can cause irritation of the mucus membranes and gums. Alcohol also has a drying effect, which isn’t good for your mouth. While using alcohol-based mouthwashes is beneficial, you may also benefit by supplementing your oral hygiene routine with a salt water rinse, which is completely natural, especially when you consider that the human body is composed of between .3 and .4 percent salt water.

When it comes to oral health, salt water rinses work well for:

Healing Gum Sores and Small Cuts in the MouthReducing the Risk of Infection After Dental ProceduresHelping with Pain, Inflammation and Bacterial Infestation During Sore Throats

How Much Salt Should You Use to gargle?

When gargling and rinsing your mouth with salt water, you don’t need to add that much salt. We recommend using 1/4 teaspoon in half a cup or four ounces of water. Make sure to stir the mixture thoroughly. Then, rinse or gargle the salt water as normal. For a sore throat, it’s recommended to gargle the salt water between two and four times per day. If you have a mouth sore, a cut in your mouth or recent dental work, you can rinse your mouth two to three times a day or as needed to control pain and inflammation. If you are uncertain as to how many times a day you should rinse your mouth after dental work or if you have a sore, you can always contact Williams and Daily for further instructions and to answer your questions.

How many times a day one should gargle?

Gargling at least twice a day is recommended. You can safely gargle many more times than that, too.

Can other elements also be added to it?

Making a salt water-based mouth rinse is easy; all you need is salt and some warm water. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water. You can use this cost-effective rinse to: Soothe mouth sores

Does gargling help in curing any other diseases?

Gargling with saline water helps to get relief from sore throat. Sore throat is a symptom of various throat infections. Some of the medical conditions that can be cured after gargling are-

·      Allergies 

Inhaling certain allergens such as pollen, dirt can trigger an allergic reaction in the body. These irritants can cause the throat to inflame and lead to a sore throat. Saltwater gargles can expel the irritants and decrease sore throat.

·      Dental health 

There are some infections that can develop in the throat due to poor hygiene. Gargling with saline water helps to flush out the harmful bacteria from the mouth. This improves oral hygiene and gum health. Hence, the risk of gingivitis, cavities and periodontitis decreases too.

·      Sinusitis and respiratory infections 

Some of the respiratory infections and sinusitis can cause throat pain as a symptom. There can be a viral or bacterial attack causing these infections. Some of the infections that cause sore throat are- flu, colds, strep throat and mononucleosis.

·      Canker sores 

Commonly known as mouth ulcers, saltwater gargle regularly can cure this condition. The ulcers cause pain and inflammation which can be soothed out by gargling with salt water.

Importance of gargling

Daily gargling can help prevent cavities and improve your gum health. Cavities form when food particles remain on tooth surfaces for a long time. When cavities form in between teeth, remnant food particles causes inflammation and bleeding of gums.

Though gargling can help improve oral health, it cannot replace daily brushing and flossing.

Is it safe for children below 5 years of age?

Yes it is safe for children below 5 years of age to rinse after every meal with drinking water. Deciduous or baby teeth are more susceptible to decay.

Can gargling also be effective in improving gum and dental health?

Gargling can be effective in improving gum health with added elements such as salt and mouthwash. Salt water and mouthwash can stop bacterial growth, reduce plaque and inflammation. Oral rinses are effective in fighting bad breath. They are recommended after extraction of teeth for improved healing of wound while maintaining oral hygiene. Mouthwash that contain a higher amount of fluoride will not only provide protection from cavities but they also reduce sensitivity. In patients suffering from oral cancers, specific brands of mouthwash help to simulate production of saliva which in turn keeps the mouth moist.

How many times a day one should gargle for effective results while dealing with any problem?

Gargling with water after every meal is effective for maintaining oral hygiene. In case of tooth extraction, it is recommended to gargle with salt water twice a day. In case of oral surgeries involving fracture, oral cancer causing reduced mouth opening, it is recommended to gargle with mouthwash after every meal.

Does gargling help in curing any other diseases other than oral health problems?

Yes. Gargling will salt water has been shown to ease pain and inflammation from a sore throat. It also helps improve the mucus build up in your respiratory tract and nasal cavity.

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