How Salt Water Mouth Rinse Benefits Oral Health

If you have experienced oral health problems, you know they can drastically hamper your day. Most people don’t pay attention to their oral hygiene until it is too late. A 2016 World Health Organization study put the estimates of those experiencing oral health issues at about half the globe’s population.

The same study also revealed that dental healthcare was a costly affair and took up a sizeable chunk of the funds allocated to health bodies worldwide.

To address both the issues of cost and hygiene, salt water can be used as an alternative to improve oral health standards.

How Salt Water Mouth Rinse Benefits Oral Health

Salt water mouth rinse is an affordable and quick method to promote and maintain oral health. Some of the benefits of rinsing with salt water include;

Normalising the pH balance of the mouth

Bacteria caused by the food and drinks you take builds up and changes the pH make-up of your mouth. Saltwater reverses the acidic build-up caused by the bacteria back to an alkaline state. This causes the bacteria to die out as they can’t survive in an alkaline environment.

Restoring fresh breath

The buildup of bacteria in your mouth can give you bad breath. Rinsing salt water is an effective way to get rid of the bacteria that causes bad breath.

Healing minor oral ailments

Bleeding gums can cause severe complications to your oral health. However, a saltwater rinse prevents the spread of harmful bacteria in the gums.

Fighting plaque

A randomised test concluded that salt water was an effective solution against plaque build up. When it is left unchecked, plaque can lead to a more aggressive condition known as gingivitis, which affects the gums. In areas where access to more advanced oral healthcare options is limited, salt water serves as an equally valid option in treating plaque.

Fast relief against a sore throat

Whether it is a viral or bacterial infection, you can get relief against a sore throat by gargling salt water. The salt makes it impossible for the causative agent to reproduce and cause more harm to your throat.

If you have any pressing dental issues or questions, you can book an appointment online or contact us directly on (+356) 2125 7253 (Skyparks Business Centre, Malta International Airport), or (+356) 2155 7323 (Dingli Street, Victoria, Gozo). For international patients, it is recommended to request a free e-consultation where we can discuss your individual case and treatment options.

History of Salt for Medicinal Use

The use of salt as a medicinal aide can be traced back to ancient Egyptian history. Records show that salt was mixed with various components to treat an array of mild and severe ailments. In a compilation of some of the medical uses of salt by Eberhard J. Wormer, it is noted that Egyptian healers would mix ocean salt with honey and seeds to make laxatives. They would also mix it with fat, oil, and incense to prevent the further spread of anal infections. Other saline solutions were prescribed to accelerate healing after birth and control bleeding.

In other societies that were considered medically advanced such as the Romans and Greeks, salt was a valued asset. It was used to improve scarring after battles, control bleeding, prevent the spread of infections and improve digestion.

The works of various doctors, such as Avicenna, Galen, Dioskurides, and Hippocrates all list salt as a vital ingredient in some of their medicine. Salt water was used in the treatment of Cholera for the first time in the 1830s.

However, as much as it was recognised for its healing and restorative use, records at the School of Salerno warned against over-indulgence in salt.

To date, saline solutions continue to be used in hospitals to fight bacteria and help in stopping infections.

How Salt Inhibits Dental Bacteria

The mouth is an excellent host for bacteria. It is constantly moist, providing a perfect breeding ground for the reproduction of disease-causing agents. However, since salt is a drying agent, it dehydrates the host’s ground, making the environment hostile for the bacteria to breed.

Salt water also draws out the microscopic bacteria from the teeth and gums. The bacteria die out when exposed to the alkaline environment.

9 Healing Properties of Salt Water

Soothes a Sore Throat

Gargling salt water relieves pain and kills the bacteria in the throat. This soothes a sore throat and promotes faster recovery.

Natural Healing

The alkaline nature of salt water provides a safe environment for healing of cuts and wounds. It inhibits the reproduction of harmful bacteria.

Fights Bad Breath

Bad breath is caused by poor oral hygiene or more serious issues such as gum disease. Salt water is effective against the build-up of acidic sediments left by bacteria that cause bad breath.

Loosen and remove food

When food sticks in the spaces between teeth, it breaks down and becomes acidic. That could ruin the enamel and cause complications. Saltwater penetrates those spaces, keeping your mouth safe from food build-up.

Helps bleeding and swollen gums

Saltwater controls bleeding by fastening coagulation. It also draws out the bacteria in swollen gums through osmosis.

Treats Dental Plaque And Prevents Gingivitis

Saltwater breaks down plaque and prevents gingivitis. Gingivitis is an inflammatory condition caused by an untreated plaque build up.

Cost effective canker sore treatment

Treating mouth ulcers can be expensive. Salt water is a quick, accessible and affordable option against the treatment of open mouth sores.

Relieves Toothache

When you experience a toothache, in some cases you may have a pus buildup on the sensitive part of your teeth. Periodic gargling of a saline solution reduces the pus buildup and lessens the pain.

Fights Candidiasis

Candidiasis is a common oral ailment. It can lead to a dry mouth and painful sores on the tongue, gum, and cheeks. Salt water kills the bacteria that promote its progression.

Making a Salt Water Mouth Rinse

benefits of salt water rinse for your dental health

Making a salt water mouth rinse is a simple process that you can perform at home.


  • A glass of water
  • Salt


  1. Bring some clean water to a boil
  2. Mix half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of the warm water
  3. Stir until the salt is dissolved

How to Use Salt Water Mouth Rinse

Take a mouthful of the saline solution and swish it around the mouth, then spit. Alternatively, for issues such as a sore throat, gargle the saltwater, rinse and spit.

How long to keep in the mouth

Keeping the salt rinse in your mouth for more extended periods improves the chances of killing off the bacteria. However, 30 seconds is ample time to keep the rinse in your mouth.

What happens if you swallow?

Swallowing salt water mouth rinse typically doesn’t have adverse medical effects. However, if you swallow too much, you might feel dehydrated. Make sure you take fresh, unsalted water to counteract the effects.

How frequent can you use it?

You should limit your usage to twice a day. However, if symptoms persist, you should seek professional dental help.

Recommended Dental Options for Oral Hygiene

Dentist approved mouthwash

Gargling mouthwash daily helps reduce food remains, kill bacteria and promotes better dental health.

High-Quality Toothpaste

Brushing your teeth twice daily keeps your teeth at their peak health.

Regular Dental Checkups

Dental checkups are vital in identifying any impeding oral health problems.

Have You Tried Our Free e-Consultation Service?

If you are worried about a dental related issue, interested in travelling to Malta for a dental holiday or have questions about any of the treatments we offer, please contact us using our new free e-Consultation service. One of our highly-qualified team will respond to your query as soon as possible. Our e-Consultation service is live 9am – 6pm Monday to Friday.

If you would like to schedule an in-person consultation at Savina Dental, please book your appointment using this form.

Savina Clinic – Dental & Implantology Centres are friendly, state-of-the-art practices in Malta and Gozo dedicated to comprehensive quality dental care. Savina Dental is an innovative dental practice in Malta and prides itself on the high-quality customer service, low waiting room times, attention to detail and the advanced dental technology at their disposal.

Joseph Xuereb
Principal Dental Surgeon & Owner of Savina Dental Clinics, Dr Joseph Xuereb BChD (Hons), MFGDP(UK), MGDS RCS(Eng), FFGDP RCS(UK), FICD is a general dental practitioner with a special interest in Implant and Restorative Dentistry. Dr Joseph & the teams' full biographical information can be found here.