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Walker & Krause Dental Blog

Should You Gargle With Mouthwash Or Saltwater?

When talking about which solution to rinse/gargle with, there are two common sides to this discussion. One is mouthwash, you can find this in stores that sell any kind of oral care products and it is the most common way for people to rinse or quickly freshen their breath.

The other is saltwater which is typically just warm water mixed with salt–sometimes baking soda is added to this solution. This is great for temporarily relieving swelling and toothaches. But some wonder if they can exclusively use this solution over traditional mouthwash.

Mouthwash vs Saltwater

When discussing if mouthwash or saltwater is better, it isn’t a clear-cut easy answer. It ultimately boils down to what you need to use an oral rinsing solution for.

Saltwater rinse is often recommended for soothing oral pain as mentioned above and it is excellent at killing bacteria because the said bacteria cannot live in salt (hence why it can be used for meat preservation). But is it better than traditional mouthwash? Well, that depends on what mouthwash you are using at the end of the day. There are a wide variety of mouthwash products on the market that aim to do different things. For daily rinsing, you are going to have an advantage by using a mouthwash both containing fluoride and bacteria-killing properties.

However, as long as you are brushing twice a day and flossing once, using either rinsing methods will do the trick in terms of eliminating excess bacteria throughout the day. Just be sure to not rinse with alcohol-based mouthwash if you have burns, sores, or wounds inside your mouth! The alcohol will cause pain to open areas–so just throw saltwater together in this circumstance.

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