Do you absorb sodium through your gums, mouth and throat when gargling and rinsing salt water? Considering the fact that sublingual medication is a very effective way for introducing substances straight into your bloodstream very quickly. 

Below's a link to a study on Pubmed about this issue, but I don't have access. Does anyone here have access?  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/3474267/

  • I gargle with salt water several time every day and a recent blood test showed nothing out-side the normal ranges. Commented Nov 1, 2019 at 15:14
  • @blacksmith37 did you take the blood test after gargling?
    – larry909
    Commented Nov 1, 2019 at 19:28
  • Increasing salt intake doesn't generally raise sodium levels because salt causes increased water retention, which dilutes the sodium and keeps the serum levels unchanged. The best way to raise serum sodium levels is by reducing water intake, not by raising salt intake.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Nov 1, 2019 at 20:43
  • 1
    @CareyGregory my mistake. I meant: Would gargling salt water every day increase sodium intake levels? (question edited now).
    – larry909
    Commented Nov 1, 2019 at 20:46
  • Better question now.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Nov 1, 2019 at 20:52

2 Answers 2


Yes, there is increase in sodium absorption levels after rinsing mouth with salt water. This absorption is through oral mucosal lining. Increase in sodium is very little as compared to the daily requirement of sodium.

In the clinical study (link mentioned in question), 5% saline solution (which contains 855 mEq of sodium) was used. Sodium absorbed by various participants was between 2 to 11 mEq, and the minimum requirement of daily sodium dosage is 44 mEq. So, this will pose little risk on metabolic process. And it is possible that on increasing saline concentration of mouth rinse, sodium absorption may also increase. So, 5% Saline solution is recommended for mouth rinsing.

Via: Image of the research article mentioned in question (unable to upload PDF) enter image description here Earlier in 1950's various researchers have reported the use of sodium salts of various drugs for sublingual absorption.


  • 1
    " Increase in sodium is very little as compared to the daily requirement of sodium." I have some concern around this statement. In this study participants only rinsed with 25ml of the solution - if you were to do 125ml as is the usual instructions it seems (half cup + one ts of salt) - you're possibly looking at significantly more sodium absorbed. Commented Jul 27, 2021 at 22:00
  • Yes, it may be possible. But why would you rinse with 125ml? Commented Jul 28, 2021 at 1:06
  • @Chris Stryczynski Normal mouth rinsing requires 20 to 30 ml of water Commented Jul 28, 2021 at 1:08
  • 1
    @ChrisStryczynski very good point. thank you
    – larry909
    Commented Jul 3, 2023 at 21:11

The accepted answer is very good. I thought it might be helpful to supplement that answer with a comment about the concentration of sodium in an oral rinse, along with an actual BP (blood pressure) measurement comparison.

Recommendations for saline mouthwashes include 0.9% sodium chloride followed by pure water rinse, a home recipe for this solution being 1 teaspoon of salt added to a pint (2 cups) of water Mouth care guidelines.

I typically use a far higher concentration apparently, about a teaspoon of salt in 1/3 cup. This almost certainly results in too much sodium absorption through the oral mucosa. Earlier today my BP (brachial cuff Omron BP710 automatic device) was 113/75 (systolic/diastolic mm Hg) at 78 BPM (heart rate beats/min) prior to oral saline rinse and 127/81 at 80 BPM following the saline rinse.

To make comparisons of the measurements easier, I calculate PP (pulse pressure), which is systolic pressure minus diastolic. Pre-saline rinse PP then 38 vs post-saline PP 46.

Also useful is calculating MAP (mean arterial pressure estimated) Mean arterial pressure My usual method of calculating MAP using brachial cuff pressure reading is take a third of the PP (pulse pressure/3), add that to the DP (diastolic pressure) reading, and add a correction term of 5 mm Hg to that result. My MAP pre-saline is then 93 and post-saline 101.

On the basis of my "observational study" I conclude that there is definitely the possibility of increasing systemic blood pressure by oral rinsing with saline solution. However, using more dilute saline would of course reduce the observed BP elevation.

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