Gargling is an excellent way to combat bacteria in the mouth, freshen the breath, relieve sore throat pain, and wake you up in the morning!
To gargle seems like a simple act and it is; but you can gargle more effectively if you follow a few tips.
Brush your teeth first, then follow with gargling. That will be the last step in your oral hygiene routine and leave your mouth feeling clean as a whistle.
Gargle with salt water, mouthwash, or even plain water if nothing else is available. Salt water gargling is most often recommended for a sore throat, whereas mouthwash is best for freshening the breath and removing bacteria. You can make a saltwater solution with a cup of warm water and about a teaspoon of salt. Commercial mouthwash flavors are plentiful and the choice is a personal preference. Some manufacturers even make children's mouthwash in various "kid-friendly" flavors like orange. By far the most popular flavor, however, is mint. Mint is traditionally associated with wakefulness (that's why popping a mint candy at a boring meeting may pop your eyes open), so mint mouthwash will serve the double purpose of perking you up and cleaning all of the structures in the mouth.
Pour your mouthwash into a clean cup before you gargle. If more than one person uses the same mouthwash bottle, chugging out of the container invites contamination.
If you have gargled in the past by swishing the liquid around your cheeks so you look like a puffer fish and then spitting it out, you haven't done it right! You want to take a gulp, tip your head back and let the liquid settle at the back of your throat, closing the throat so you don't swallow. Then breathe out slowly so that the air mixes with the liquid and churns around your whole mouth. It might even tickle, but try to keep up your gargling for at least 30 seconds.
Don't swallow your gargling liquid. Neither salt water nor commercial mouthwashes are intended to be ingested, especially by children who might end up swallowing too much fluoride. Spit out the liquid when you are done.
If you are gargling for a sore throat, you probably want to repeat the procedure two or three times.
A person who gargles as a regular part of an oral hygiene routine maximizes oral health. And now you know how to gargle effectively!