Baking soda is a household chemical compound that many associate with baking and cleaning due to its leavening properties and ability to eliminate tough stains. It’s also an ingredient found in some toothpastes, causing many people to question whether baking soda is safe for your teeth or not.
There can be benefits to using baking soda to brush your teeth and clean your mouth, although it is a compound that should be used in moderation. That’s because baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a white powder that is alkaline, meaning it has very strong bleaching qualities. While this is helpful to whiten and clean teeth, it can have damaging effects if overused due to its abrasiveness.
To avoid any baking soda teeth damage, it’s recommended to use baking soda safely and in moderation for best results. But how exactly does baking soda help your teeth? Let’s find out.
How Does Baking Soda Clean and Whiten Teeth?
Many people choose to use baking soda every day as an alternative for toothpaste. While baking soda can’t protect your teeth from cavities as effectively as a regular fluoride toothpaste can, it is still considered a good cleaning agent. This is because baking soda has natural whitening properties and can remove plaque from the surface of your teeth. Its abrasive nature allows tough stains to be removed when rubbing it against your teeth’s enamel.
Nowadays, many toothpastes contain baking soda. These types of toothpaste have antibacterial properties to help maintain good oral hygiene and protect your teeth from decay. They are also very effective at removing discoloration and whitening your teeth, and are considered less abrasive than other whitening products.
When you want to clean and whiten your teeth, you should always consider safety above all else. While baking soda can be an effective cleaner and whitener for your teeth, avoid any popular home remedies advertised online or on social media until you’ve done extensive research to make sure these remedies are safe.
Pros and Cons of Brushing Teeth with Baking Soda
As a cleaning and whitening agent, there are many advantages to using baking soda to brush your teeth. However, if overused, baking soda for your teeth has side effects that could be negative. Here are some pros and cons to consider if you’re thinking about implementing baking soda into your daily dental routine.
Brushing your teeth with baking soda does offer some advantages, including:
- Promotes pH Balance: Baking soda can reduce the amount of harmful bacteria in your mouth. When rinsing with baking soda, the pH in your mouth increases, making the environment less acidic. This type of alkaline environment is not ideal for bacteria growth, therefore reducing the formation of cavities.
- Whitens Teeth: Baking soda is proven to be effective at removing stains from teeth and whitening their surfaces. It’s a milder abrasive than other products used to whiten teeth, making it an ideal option for teeth whitening.
- Reduces Plaque and Gingivitis: Because of baking soda’s abrasive qualities, it can remove yellowing and surface staining from your teeth, as well as help to break up dental biofilm, like plaque formation. When brushing with baking soda, the grains disrupt the biofilm, reducing plaque and bacteria in your mouth. This reduces your risk of cavities and gingivitis.
- Offers a Fluoride-Free Option: Some people worry about fluoride toxicity from the overuse of fluoride while brushing their teeth. Fluoride toxicity is especially concerning for children six years and under, which is why many parents opt for fluoride-free options for their kids. Baking soda is a fluoride-free alternative, reducing any risk of toxicity.
- Helps with Bad Breath: Most people experience bad breath after meals or from having a dry mouth. As baking soda balances the acidic residues in your mouth, the compound can reduce bad breath almost instantly.
- Provides Inexpensive Alternative: Baking soda is extremely affordable and is available at most grocery stores, drug stores, and other large retailers. With its widespread availability and low price, many people may find it an ideal alternative to toothpaste.
On the other hand, the disadvantages to brushing your teeth with baking soda may include:
- Unappealing Taste and Texture: Many users will find that brushing with baking soda is messy, gritty, and doesn’t taste very good. Fortunately, using baking soda toothpaste can make the process of brushing with baking soda more appealing.
- Less Dramatic Whitening Results: While baking soda does offer many whitening benefits, it cannot remove stains as effectively as other products or in-office whitening procedures. Many surface stains on your teeth can be eliminated with baking soda, but deeper staining will require more abrasive products.
- Lack of Fluoride: Unfortunately, only brushing with baking soda will not provide you with the necessary ingredients needed to remove plaque, kill bacteria, and prevent cavities. Fluoride is the most effective product for re-mineralizing your teeth and preventing cavities, so it should always be incorporated into your daily dental routine.
- Not Approved by the ADA: The American Dental Association (ADA) has stated that baking soda is safe for your teeth’s enamel and dentin. However, brushing with baking soda on a daily basis has not been approved by the ADA.
- May Damage Teeth: When brushing with baking soda, there is still a chance of wearing away your teeth’s enamel and damaging your teeth and gums. While the product is mildly abrasive, overuse is unsafe and may do more harm than good.
Should You Use Baking Soda Toothpaste?
The best and safest way to reap the benefits of baking soda for your teeth is by using a baking soda toothpaste. This type of toothpaste contains both baking soda and fluoride, so you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of both. The amount of baking soda is small enough to protect your teeth’s enamel rather than erode it, and the fluoride in the toothpaste helps strengthen teeth and protect against decay. Some studies even suggest that toothpastes with baking soda are more effective at removing yellow surface stains than toothpastes without it.
When looking for a baking soda toothpaste, always find one that contains that ADA Seal of Acceptance. This guarantees that the toothpaste is both safe and effective for everyday use.
As a local dentist in Olathe, Kansas, Rhoades Family Dentistry is here for all your general dentistry needs. We also offer whitening services if you want a brighter smile. Contact us today at 913-782-8900 to schedule an appointment!