Is Baking Soda Bad for Your Teeth?

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, has been in use since 1840s and is common in most of the households. Its uses range from baking, cleaning, odor removal and sometimes even extinguishing small fires. It is also used as an ingredient in toothpastes which promote getting white teeth. Stains on teeth are removed quite commonly using baking soda. However, some people concern about the safety of baking soda when used to brush teeth.

Is Baking Soda Bad for Your Teeth?

Not really. It is definitely cheaper than some teeth whitening products, but not recommended for daily use. Safety tips will be explained later. Some of the benefits of using baking soda to brush your teeth are given below.

1. Fight Bad Breath

Having bad breath is very embarrassing and it is usually caused by residual acid forming foods. Baking soda helps in balancing the acid level, while treating and preventing bad breath. To use, in one glass of water, dissolve half teaspoon of baking soda and use as a mouth rinse.

2. Prevent Gum Disease

Gum disease is also known as gingivitis, causing swelling, bleeding and soreness of gums. They also get infected and lead to bad breath. Accumulated plaque can cause gum diseases which do not happen when baking soda is used.

3. Soothe Mouth Ulcers

Ulcers are painful and can irritate. The healing process is usually long because we eat and drink, which further irritate the ulcer. Baking soda can accelerate the healing process while soothing it. It should be mixed with water and used as a mouth rinse.

4. Whiten Teeth

Teeth can get stained by foods, drinks, alcohol and nicotine use. Baking soda removes stains from teeth; hence it is an ingredient in tooth pastes and whitening agents. Dip a damp toothbrush in baking soda and brush teeth may help you whiten your teeth.

How to Brush Your Teeth with Baking Soda

1. Brush with the Powder Form

Toothbrush should be wet and then dab in baking soda which will stick to the brush. When the brush is coated with the powder, brush your teeth for 2 minutes and rinse well. You might experience tingling or burning, which is natural. However, if it persists, you should stop brushing immediately and rinse your mouth.

2. Mix Baking Soda with Something Else

If the question “is baking soda bad for your teeth” keeps bothering you, you may try to mix baking soda with something else to improve its safety. Baking soda can be mixed with vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and strawberry to get good effects.

  • Before dipping the brush in baking soda, wet it with white vinegar which has been mixed with salt.
  • Strawberries also have teeth whitening properties. Pulp of 1 ripe strawberry mixed with baking soda can be used to brush teeth for 2 minutes.
  • Hydrogen peroxide can also be used along with baking soda to brush, however, it is controversial.
  • Sea salt can be used to brush teeth, as it is anti-bacterial and also helps in neutralizing built-up acidity. It is also helpful to treat inflammation and swelling of gums. You can use sea salt mixed with baking soda for brushing or use salt water as mouth rinse.

Any method above should be limited to twice a week or it may damage teeth in the long run.

Tips to Safely Brush Teeth with Baking Soda

If the question, “is baking soda bad for your teeth”, is still on your mind, read the following tips to use baking soda safely.

  1. Toothbrush should be wet by water or mouth rinse before you brush your teeth with baking soda. Mouth rinse usually can help to mask the taste of baking soda.
  2. Brush the biting surface of teeth initially for around 15 seconds so that the baking soda mixes with saliva and becomes creamy. This will also ensure that the gums do not get irritated. Remember not to brush your teeth for more than 2 minutes.
  3. Regular tooth paste contains fluoride which keeps the teeth healthy. Hence, baking soda should not replace the paste. You can brush with paste after you have brushed with baking soda.
  4. You should discontinue the use of baking soda for brushing if you have bleeding gums. It should also not be used if you have braces with orthodontic glue or are using a permanent retainer. It is always good to consult a dentist before using.
  5. Use small quantities of baking soda in a separate container, as it can clump up when used every day. You can replace it with fresh baking soda every few weeks.

Potential Risks of Brushing Teeth with Baking Soda

Although the answer to the question “is baking soda bad for your teeth” is no, there are some risks that call for your attention.

1. Incapable of Preventing Cavity

The teeth do not remain healthy if you use only baking soda to brush your teeth, according to American Dental Association (ADA). Toothpaste is an abrasive agent which is responsible for removing debris and stains from the tooth surface and can’t be totally replaced. Baking soda is ineffective against plaque which is mainly responsible for tooth decay. By using it for long, it can damage the enamel, thus making teeth sensitive and prone to cavities.

2. Soften Dental Glue

Dental glue is used in braces and permanent retainers. Baking soda can cause damage to the dental glue and hence should not be used by people with braces.

3. Other Risks

If baking soda is not applied properly, it can cause damage to the teeth and gums. There is no standard procedure to apply baking soda for teeth whitening. 

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