Why do players often rinse their mouths in the middle of the game?

During the halftime break, players often gargle with a carbohydrate solution to improve mobility and performance.

Watching football matches, fans easily notice a very common action of players is to gargle on the field during halftime.

Why do players often rinse their mouths in the middle of the game?
During the break between the two halves, the Vietnamese Olympic players sat down with coach Park Hang Seo and took advantage of gargling and resting. (Photo: Lam Tho).

According to Livescience, the type of water that players rinse their mouths with is a carbohydrate solution . These solutions are essential nutrients that help maintain the body’s functions. When gargling, the carbohydrate solution stored in the mouth for 5-10 seconds is enough to transform into substances capable of increasing athletic performance. Sports people who are active for about an hour often gargle with this solution.

In 2014 US scientists analyzed data from 11 previous studies on gargling with a carbohydrate solution. The results show that carbohydrates in the mouth activate certain areas of the brain, thereby improving motor function, helping players increase 2-3% performance. Furthermore, carbohydrate solutions contain sweetened glucose or maltodextrin, a colorless and tasteless food additive. The sweetness in the mouth makes the drinker feel more motivated.

Michael Joyner, a physiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, says most of the research on carbohydrate mouthwash to date has been conducted in the lab and focused on cycling. The effect of carbohydrates in intense football matches cannot yet be confirmed. However, gargling with this solution is a practical, accessible and low-risk method that athletes can freely experiment with.

Players do not swallow liquid carbohydrates to avoid digestive problems, although the act of rinsing and spitting causes many people to feel unhygienic. Doctors recommend that players should only rinse their mouths during the game 1-2 hours. Exercises lasting more than 2 hours should not be used.