Is baking soda bad for your teeth? Generally speaking, the answer is no. Baking soda is commonly used in paste form for whitening your teeth. In fact, many commercial types of toothpaste are formulated with baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) as their main ingredient. However, consistent use of baking soda can be bad for your teeth.
Let’s take a closer look at how baking soda affects our dental health.
Can Brushing with Baking Soda Whiten Teeth?
Baking soda is a natural, gentle abrasive that can remove teeth stains and discoloration. It is thus considered a cheap and easy way to whiten teeth.
However, studies have shown that baking soda is a soft abrasive, and the lack of fluoride in it makes it an inferior tooth whitener. So, it can lighten some stains from red wine or coffee, but it cannot remove more stubborn discoloration.
It is also not a recommended alternative to professional teeth whitening or regular dental checkups.
If you do decide to use baking soda to whiten your teeth, use it in combination with fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash to maintain its effect.
Is Baking Soda Bad for Your Teeth?
Did you know that baking soda has been used as an oral hygiene product for over a century?
In fact, baking soda was one of the first ingredients used in dentifrices. Druggists mixed baking soda with other ingredients to create dentifrices. However, most of the ingredients used in dentifrices are no longer in use today.
However, the primary concern with using baking soda is that it is abrasive. When used excessively, abrasive compounds can wear away the tooth enamel. When this happens, the enamel cannot be restored, resulting in sensitive teeth and a higher risk of cavities.
The good news is baking soda has the lowest abrasiveness compared to any ingredients and is not as harsh on your teeth.
Pros and Cons of Brushing Teeth with Baking Soda
Pros of Using Baking Soda:
1. Can Help Remove Stains
Although it’s not a perfect teeth-whitening agent, baking soda can remove stains as well as dental plaque. Its mild abrasive property makes it a natural teeth-cleaning agent.
2. Helps Prevent Tooth Decay
Another benefit of baking soda is its ability to neutralize the acidity of plaque. The acidity often eats away at the tooth’s enamel and dentin. As a result, it can help reverse the process of tooth decay and restore tooth enamel to its original health.
3. Can Reduce Bad Breath
Because baking soda is an alkaline substance, it works by raising the pH level of saliva in the mouth. This creates an alkaline environment in the mouth that prevents cavities from forming. It also neutralizes the acids in the mouth, which is a major contributor to bad breath or halitosis.
4. May Cause Sensitive Teeth to Retreat from Roots
Homemade toothpaste made from baking soda may help treat sensitive teeth. Baking soda can help balance acid levels in the mouth, which can prevent tooth sensitivity.
Cons of Using Baking Soda:
1. Excessive Use May Lead to Tooth Erosion
If used excessively, the crystals found in baking soda can break the tooth enamel and harm the mucous membranes. It can also break down the glues that hold braces in place.
2. The Aftertaste Is Not Appealing
Another concern is the aftertaste that baking soda leaves on your teeth. Some people claim that it leaves a tasteless, chalky mouthfeel, while others find the taste to be salty or bitter. Many also find the texture of baking soda unpleasant, making it difficult to rinse out of their mouths.
3. Can Cause Fluoride Toxicity
While it is not harmful to apply small amounts of baking soda, excess consumption can also lead to dental fluorosis, which can cause yellow, brown, or white streaks on teeth.
This toxicity is more severe than it seems and needs medical attention. Fluorosis can cause kidney and liver damage and can lead to diarrhea and vomiting. In some cases, it can even damage the thyroid.
If you do decide to use baking soda to clean your teeth, be sure to do so sparingly. You should also rinse your mouth out thoroughly afterward to remove any residue.
Tips for Whitening with Baking Soda
Cleaning your teeth with baking soda is a popular and affordable option for those looking to achieve a brighter smile. To use baking soda to whiten your teeth safely, follow these tips:
1. Start by rinsing your mouth with cold water to remove any stains or dirt.
2. Mix one teaspoon of baking soda with enough water to make a paste. Rub the paste onto your teeth using circular, back-and-forth motions.
3. Let the baking soda paste sit on your teeth for two minutes, then rinse off with cool water.
4. Spit out the excess water and brush your teeth as usual. Remember to use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste, and avoid getting the baking soda paste in your eyes or skin. You can do this once or twice a week.
You can also use baking soda as a mouth rinse to kill oral bacteria. Mix a teaspoon of baking soda with half a cup of water, swish around the mouthwash for about 30 seconds, and rinse it out.