Many people have opposing opinions about gargling and vocalization.
I’ll scientifically and unilaterally explain this.
I have 22 categories that influence breathing and vocalization. Let’s try to figure out who is right.(1)
Part 1 is “Gargle”
Gargle is defined as washing or rinsing the throat or mouth with a liquid held in the throat, that is then kept in motion by a stream of air from the lungs. Gargling is generally for preventing infection and cleansing the throat. But, I would like to focus on how gargling can help improve the quality of the throat and voice.
(1) Why do you gargle?
(2) Does the voice get better or worse from gargling?
(3) Is gargling necessary?
I asked several vocal coaches, “Why do you gargle?” The top three reasons are:
1. Cold prevention 2. Preventing the throat from becoming dry 3. For improving the voice
Regarding “Cold prevention”, many doctors have diverse opinions about the efficacy of gargling.
Some doctors recommend to gargle to prevent infection, but some doctors say it is not necessary and that you cannot expect to see immediate results.
Some doctors say you should not use mouthwash regularly. Mainly because it weakens immunity, by cleansing away good bacteria, which you naturally have in your throat to fight infection.
Some people even say that you should use sports drinks to gargle, because using only water can cause problems with the osmotic pressure of the mucosa in the throat.
There are even diverse opinions about cold prevention. This is also both in favor and against.
Let’s discuss (2)
(2) is, how is gargling relevant to having a good or bad voice.
First, I’ll explain the mechanics and parts of the throat that produce the action of gargling.
The oral cavity and pharynx make and control the gargling motion. If the gargle is any deeper in the throat, it will choke you and never reach the vocal chords.
Some vocal coaches believe and instruct to, “gargle as much as you want, because gargling will cleanse your vocal chords as well as your throat.”
I do not agree. I think that statement is too excessive and even a little risky.
I have studied how the oral cavity and pharynx move during gargling.
It is possible to change the size or figure of the oral cavity while having water in your mouth. I’ve explained before, how to do “air rinsing” and “gargling,” using both air and liquid methods.
Therefore, gargling in the far depths of the throat does not make your voice better … but rinsing will be able to positively effect your voice health and quality, if you swish in every corner of your mouth.
However, I do believe air rinsing is better for the voice, because air has the ability to flow more freely. Water can sometimes drip and expel from your mouth, or create an abundance of aspiration.
Lastly, (3) Importance and necessity.
If you do gargle daily, when flu or cold season is in effect, are you immune and never get sick?
The answer is “No.”
There is no fail proof preventative. Even seasonal vaccines cannot guarantee being 100% effective.
Bacteria or viruses enter the body through the nose/mouth. Then, they attach to your airway mucosa infecting you from within.
Gargling does have beneficial qualities, used to help prevent sickness and infection. Please know, they are minimal.
Now that you know the pros and cons of gargling, you can judge for yourself how beneficial it could be, and if you plan to apply these daily routines to your lifestyle.
Note: People also have different opinions regarding gargle through the nose. Pros and cons: Good, to to prevent infection. Not good, because it can negatively effect intranasal mucosa.