Salt water is a solution that makes wonders when it comes to a number of health issues, including sore throat, gum problems or recent dental procedures.
Although it certainly cannot replace all the medicines, it’s very beneficial for both children and adults as it provides a temporary relief to scratchy or sore throat and helps you heal faster.
History of using salt water
Salt has been long used for medicinal purposes, since it has been known to have anti-inflammatory effects for a long time. There are a lot of recipes for numerous treatments with salt written on Ancient Egyptian papyruses, especially anti-infective ones. Ancient Greeks also knew about these healing effects of salt and that’s why they used it for similar purposes.
What are the benefits of using salt water?
As it has been already pointed out, salt water has a bunch of benefits for health. Let’s find out which ones.
Heals throat issues. Salt water can give an immediate relief to scratchy or sore throat caused by strep, tonsillitis or a common cold since it washes away and kills harmful germs that are main culprits for the issue. Besides, salt water washes away the mucus in your throat. That’s why those nasty germs hate salt water. By using it you help your body heal much faster because you simplify your immune system’s job.
According to some studies, salt water not only relieves cold symptoms, but it also keeps you away from getting ill during cold and flu season.
Inhibits the growth of dental bacteria. If you use salt water for rinsing your mouth, it will temporary increase the PH balance and create an alkaline environment, in which bacteria can hardly survive. Bacteria, like most other natural species, like an acidic environment. By regularly rinsing your mouth with salt water you will kill all the harmful bacteria.
Ideal for using after dental surgeries. Since it has healing properties, salt water is recommended after minor dental surgeries in order for your mouth to recover faster. Salt water is an isotonic solution, which means it contains the same kinds of salts and minerals like our bodies in equal amounts. That’s why it doesn’t cause irritations of the mucous membranes unlike a medicinal mouthwash. For this reason many dentists recommend its usage after the procedures.
It helps remove plaque. Salt water also effectively removes plaque from your teeth, which often causes gum disease. You can also use it for rinsing if you suffer from mouth sores. If you don’t have a toothbrush or toothpaste with you, you can rely on salt water before going to bed for emergency dental hygiene.
Now that we know about all the benefits of salt water, let’s find out how it is made and used.
How is salt water made?
-½ to ¾ teaspoon of salt (3/4 is better because saltier water washes away thick mucus more effectively)
– A cup of pure water. It’s better to use warm water since it’s more soothing and it dissolves the salt faster. Make sure not to use tap water unless it comes from a well because tap water may have chlorine in it, which may cause irritation to your throat. You can use:
– A home water filter. Every filter can remove chlorine from water, unless it’s old. A good quality home water filter is always a very good investment.
– Dechlorinated home water. Pour chlorinated water in a wide mouth container, leave it overnight, and in 24 hours the chlorine will evaporate away and the water will then be dechlorinated.
– Bottled water. Since plastic bottles (like all plastic) contain carcinogenic and hormone-disrupting substances that are released into the water, you should avoid bottled water or use it only if necessary. The very thin plastic bottles are especially dangerous. Everyone should keep at bay from drinking water from these bottles, and especially from reusing them.
Chlorine is a poison that weakens your immune system. It is added in small amounts to drinking water to make sure that it’s germs free, but you had better avoid it as much as you can.
As for the steps in making salt water, there are only two: mix and stir.
How often should you use salt water?
The answer is as often as you want, even every half an hour, especially for washing away mucus from the back of your throat.
You can also use it as a preventive measure on a daily basis, especially if you feel that you might be catching a cold.
How is salt water used?
Put a small amount of salt water in your mouth, tilt your head back and extend your tongue. Blow the air up softly to agitate the water so it washes away the mucus. By extending your tongue the water can reach the lower parts of your throat and cover a larger area. If this is your first time in extending your tongue, try it gently at first so as not to breathe in the water by accident. Gargling salt water also cleans the spaces above the throat, that is, at the back of the nose, where cold often lingers.
How long should you gargle salt water? Most of the sources say one to three minutes. However, three minutes is a very long time and that’s why most people gargle about ten to twenty seconds, although twenty seconds is also a long time. Try to do it at least 30 to 60 seconds and repeat several times a day if you feel it’s necessary. Keep using fresh salt water this way until all the mucus or gummy or discolored material is removed. Repeat every few hours and go on gargling for about a day after you are feeling better.
If you want to make your own salt water mouth rinse for using after surgery, then add ½ of teaspoon salt to a cup of warm water, as recommended by dentists. You should rinse your mouth with this saline solution every two to three hours for the first few days after the procedure. After the first two or three days have passed, you can use it three to four times a day.