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How a Saltwater Rinse Can Improve Your Oral Health

Adding a salt rinse to your oral health routine can help fight bad breath, soothe a sore throat and more.
salt shakers on a table, how a saltwater rinse can improve your oral health

An effective at-home oral health routine is the best way to keep your teeth, gums and tongue healthy. Brushing twice a day for 2 minutes a day and flossing at least once is the baseline for any healthy mouth.

But your dental health isn’t just about brushing and flossing.

There are some simple ways to boost your oral health that don’t have to involve extra visits to the dentist’s chair. And one effective at-home remedy is a saltwater rinse.

A saltwater rinses help fight off gingivitis, bad breath and even a sore throat. Plus, this simple (and cost-effective) at-home remedy can even promote quicker healing in your mouth after surgery or a small trauma like a cut.

Here’s how you can add a salt rinse to your at-home oral health routine (and why you should.)

How to Do a Saltwater Rinse

To make a saltwater rinse, add ½ a teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water. Swish the rinse around your mouth for ten to twelve seconds, then spit it out.

Make sure you don’t swallow the saltwater, as all that salt can be dehydrating and isn’t healthy to ingest!

After brushing and flossing, you can use a salt rinse 3 to 4 times a week. But don’t use a salt rinse more often than this — too much sodium could have negative effects on your tooth enamel, like eventual erosion.

The Benefits of a Saltwater Rinse

Reduces Bacteria

Where bacteria thrives, so does sickness.

When you use a salt rinse, it’s harder for the bacteria in your mouth to grow spores that thrive and breed. And these bacteria spores can lead to sickness and a sore throat.

Soothes a Sore Throat 

Your mom may have told you to gargle with warm saltwater when you were laid out with a cold as a kid. And as usual, mom was right.

Gargling with a warm saltwater rinse can be a cheap and soothing remedy for when you’re suffering from a sore throat. The saltwater helps kill bacteria and send more white blood cells to the infected area, meaning your immune system will be working double time to give you relief where you need it most.

And if you’re a singer with overused vocal cords, pass the warm saltwater because this simple remedy can also help sooth your vocal cords while you rest up before your next big gig.

Natural Healing

Because the salt from a saltwater rinse increases blood flow to your mouth, it can help you heal faster if you have a small cut or sore inside of your mouth.

A saltwater rinse can also help you heal quicker after oral surgery. 24 hours after surgery, you can use the rinse 3 or 4 times a day, especially after eating. If your mouth is tender, use less than ½ a teaspoon of salt to try and soothe any stinging.

Fights Bad Breath

If your mouth is sensitive to traditional alcohol-based mouthwashes, saltwater rinses are a cheap and natural alternative for fresh breath.

The oral bacteria that the saltwater helps fight off can be responsible for everything from gingivitis to bad breath. Swish with saltwater after lunch or your coffee break, and enjoy fresh breath without the intense sting of alcohol-based mouthwashes.

Plus, saltwater rinses help remove particles of food that are stuck between your teeth. If left there, those particles could irritate and inflame your gums. That could mean more cavities and more trips to the dentist (plus more dental bills to pay!)


Salt is one of the cheapest ingredients you can find at the store, which makes adding this versatile ingredient to your daily dental health routine easy.

From fresher breath to healing wounds faster, using a saltwater rinse just once a week can make a difference for your dental health. 

Get more clever home remedies to help fight plaque >

Brought to you by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, investment or medical advice.

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