Make Your Own Oral Saline Solution/Salt Water Mouth Rinse

Young woman rinsing mouth, leaning over sink, close-up
Christopher Robbins / Getty Images

Oral saline solution or mouth rinse is used to cleanse and relieve pain associated with a canker sore, a soft tissue laceration, after oral surgery. Rinsing with warm salt water two to three times a day may help to relieve a toothache because salt water works as an antiseptic to gently remove bacteria from the infected area and reduce the alkalinity in the mouth.

Saline solution is easily prepared in your own home and only requires two to three ingredients that almost everyone has on hand.

A fresh batch should be made every time you use this rinse. It's such an easy thing to do and takes all of 12 minutes to prepare.

Salt Water Mouth Rinse Ingredients

  • 8 ounces warm water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda (optional)


  1. Start by bringing 8 ounces of warm water to a rolling boil, about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat. Let water stand until it is cool enough to rinse with, but warm enough to completely dissolve the salt and baking soda.
  2. When cooled accordingly, place the salt in the water while gently stirring until the salt has been completely dissolved.
  3. As an option, dissolve the 2 teaspoons baking soda in the water along with the salt.
  4. Use the saline solution as directed and discard any leftover solution.

How to Use an Oral Saline Solution

Unless otherwise directed by your dentist or physician, swish the solution around in your mouth for 30 seconds, then spit the solution out.

Don't swallow it. Nothing will happen to you if you do swallow it, but it's not necessary.

How to Make an Oral Baking Soda Paste

If you want to target a specific sore in your mouth, create a paste. Start by mixing baking soda and small drops of water gradually until the paste is a thick consistency. Cover the canker sores with the paste.

Repeat as often as necessary.

Benefits of Salt Water Mouth Rinse

Traditional mouthwash can irritate swollen mucous membranes. For that reason, dentists suggest using saline solution, also called salt water mouth rinse, to relieve the pain and swelling that comes after a deep cleaning or other dental procedure like having a tooth extraction. Salt water mouth rinse acts as an antiseptic and promotes healing. While it may sting a little if you have an open sore in your mouth, salt water rinses have been proven to:

  • soothe mouth sores or bleeding gums
  • heal a sore throat
  • freshen breath
  • loosen and remove food

Salt water mouth rinse can be used up to 4 times a day for treatment for up to 2 weeks with no adverse effects. However, over time an oral saline solution may adversely affect the tooth enamel causing decay.

Continue Reading