Step-by-Step Guide to Proper Gargling: Role in preventing respiratory tract infections

Why should you Gargle?

  • Gargling helps prevent and treat infections of the respiratory tract.1
  • It is a simple and cost-effective method to prevent upper respiratory infections and serves as an additional layer of protection against respiratory illnesses. 1,2
  • Gargling with an antiseptic mouthwash like povidone iodine helps prevent the spread of throat viruses, unlike salt water, which hasn't been proven effective.3
  • Gargling with Povidone iodine reduces the occurrences of influenza and the common cold.1
  • Povidone iodine mouthwash is effective against various bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. 1,2
  • Povidone Iodine gargling is better than normal saline gargling, even after mild dental procedures, as it aids in the rapid healing of wounds and keeps infections at bay.4
  • Povidone iodine oral care products are safe to use (even long-term).2
  • Patients with thyroid dysfunction should use it under medical supervision.2

Here is a Step-by-Step Guide to Proper Gargling-

Step 1: Choose a Suitable Gargling Cup

  • Select a clean glass that ensures a hygienic method of using your gargling liquid.5

Step 2: Fill Your Gargling Cup

  • Pour 5 ml Betadine Gargle into your cup and dilute it with 5 ml of water.6

Step 3: Swish the Liquid in Your Mouth

  • Take a small sip of the liquid and gently swish it around inside your mouth; also, move your cheeks in and out to ensure the gargling liquid reaches all areas.5

Step 4: Tilt Your Head Back and Gargle

  • Tilt your head back slightly, and while keeping the liquid in your mouth, open your mouth to make an "ahhh" sound to ensure thorough coverage.5

Step 5: Spit Out the Gargling Liquid

  • After gargling for 10-15 seconds, expel the gargling liquid into the sink.6
  • Following this, continue with your regular oral hygiene routine by brushing your teeth or flossing for overall mouth cleanliness.5

Tips to remember:

  • It is recommended to Gargle 3 to 4 times a day with Betadine Gargle.
  • Avoid eating/drinking anything till 30 minutes after gargling.

Gargling, preferably with povidone-iodine, should be a part of your regular oral care routine to prevent and treat oral and respiratory tract infections proactively.

 Source-

  1. Ahmad L. Impact of gargling on respiratory infections. All Life. 2021;14(1): 147-158. DOI: 10.1080/26895293.2021.1893834
  2. Eggers M, Koburger-Janssen T, Eickmann M, Zorn J. In Vitro Bactericidal and Virucidal Efficacy of Povidone-Iodine Gargle/Mouthwash Against Respiratory and Oral Tract Pathogens. Infect Dis Ther. 2018 Jun;7(2):249-259. doi: 10.1007/s40121-018-0200-7. Epub 2018 Apr 9. PMID: 29633177; PMCID: PMC5986684.
  3. Tiong V, Hassandarvish P, Bakar S. et al. The effectiveness of various gargle formulations and saltwater against SARS CoV 2. Nature. Scientific Reports. 2021;11:20502. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-99866-w
  4. Amtha R, Kanagalingam L. Povidone-Iodine in Dental and Oral Health: A Narrative Review. Journal of International Oral Health. 2020;12(5):p 407-412. DOI: 10.4103/jioh.jioh_89_20 


  1. Wiki How[Internet]. How to Gargle; updated on Mar 12, 2023; cited on Oct 16, 2023. Available from: https://www.wikihow.com/Gargle
  2. aqvi SHS, Citardi MJ, Cattano D. et al. Povidone-iodine solution as SARS-CoV-2 prophylaxis for procedures of the upper aerodigestive tract a theoretical framework. J of Otolaryngol - Head & Neck Surg.2020; 49. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40463-020-00474-x

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