A woman making salt water rinse in the kitchen

How Salt Water Mouth Rinse Benefits Oral Health

You've probably heard about the benefits of salt water or used it to treat a sore throat, gums, and even for pain relief after a dental procedure. A salt water mouth rinse is an easy and affordable home remedy used to ease oral discomfort, but what are the benefits of this home-made solution?

History of Salt for Medicinal Use

Did you know that the medicinal use of salt dates back to 1600 B.C? The health benefits of salt have been recorded in some of the oldest medical scripts. It was believed that salt could dry out and clean wounds. Ancient Egyptian medicine prescribed anti-infective solutions with salt as a base ingredient. These were administered orally, applied as an ointment or suppository. Greek medicine also made us of salt by mixing it with honey to create a topical application to clean cuts and wounds.

How Salt Inhibits Dental Germs

Salt is a mineral composed primarily of sodium chloride (NaCl). Rinsing the mouth with a NaCl solution is an old remedy believed to promote healthy gums and encourage recovery from mouth ulcers. According to an article published by the US-based PLOS ONE Journal, dentists may recommend adding a salt-based mouth rinse to your dental regimen to maintain good oral health. But how does rinsing your mouth with salt water help? When plaque interacts with high doses of sugar (from sugary foods and drinks), it creates acids that attack tooth enamel. Plaque build-up also contributes to gum problems. A study published by the Journal of Indian Society of Pedodontics & Preventive Dentistry found that salt water effectively reduces plaque and is required as an adjunct to routine mechanical plaque control for the prevention of oral disease. Remember that brushing your teeth twice a day and cleaning between your teeth with dental floss or other interdental cleaners remains an important part of a healthy mouth and smile.

Healing Properties of Salt Water

Your dentist may suggest that you rinse your mouth with salt water after tooth extraction. This is because salt water is known for its natural healing properties. The at-home remedy can also be used to ease discomfort from mouth sores while aiding the recovery process. Salt water speeds up wound healing by reducing sensitivity and germs in the mouth.

Making a Salt Water Mouth Rinse

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
  • Provide pain relief after tooth extraction
  • Reduce discomfort from a sore throat and tongue.

Although there are benefits to using a salt water mouth rinse, it shouldn't replace your daily oral hygiene routine. Taking good care of your teeth starts with brushing twice a day and interdental cleaning. Doing this effectively removes plaque, germs, and food particles that can get stuck between the teeth.

Before you use this at-home remedy, consult with your dentist to learn about how and when to use it.


The above information is provided for informational purposes only. Colgate does not accept any liability should the above recommendations have an outcome contrary to the intended result. Always seek the advice of a qualified doctor or dental professional. Do not disregard professional advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read in this article.

Not all Colgate products contain hydrogen peroxide. Optic White Expert is the only product in our toothpaste range that contains hydrogen peroxide.

Want more tips and offers sent directly to your inbox?

Sign up now