Baking soda or bicarbonate soda is one of the most effective cleaning agents found in every household. From your carpet to your teeth, it can clear off nasty stains from just about anything. The use of baking soda for oral hygiene is not a new thing. It has been used in over-the-counter toothpastes and whitening products for ages.
Brushing with raw baking soda concentration helps you get optimal benefits. You can also mix it with other commonly available ingredients to double its benefits. However, you have to be careful with the amount of baking soda you are using. It is a mild abrasive and overuse can trigger dental erosion.
You don’t have to worry about the side effects right away, though. In this article, you will learn how to brush your teeth with baking soda to brighten up your already beautiful smile. While we are on the subject, I will also discuss the possible side effects and how to avoid them.
Table of Contents
- How Baking Soda Works on Our Teeth: The Working Principle
- Stellar Benefits of Brushing Teeth with Baking Soda
- Brushing Teeth with Baking Soda: How It’s Done
- Alternative Methods of Using Baking Soda on Teeth
- The Dark Side of Baking Soda: Side Effects
- Brushing Safely with Baking Soda: Tips to Avoid the Side Effects
- Sum up
How Baking Soda Works on Our Teeth: The Working Principle
Baking soda or bicarbonate soda powder works mainly in two ways:
1. Its mildly abrasive texture helps to scrub off surface-levels stains from our teeth. If the causes of teeth stain are excessive coffee, tea or wine drinking or smoking, brushing with baking soda can definitely make your teeth a few shades whiter.
2. Its alkaline nature restores the acidic balance in your mouth, creating an inhospitable environment for bacteria and germs. This creates a protective barrier against plaque and cavity.
If you have mouth ulcer, the concoction of baking soda and water will also neutralize the acidic nature of the painful ulcer. Thus, brushing with baking regularly can lessen the pain and discomfort of mouth ulcer.
Stellar Benefits of Brushing Teeth with Baking Soda
Baking soda is a common ingredient in most ADA (American Dental Association) certified toothpastes. In fact, one study shows that toothpastes containing baking soda are much better at clearing yellow stains than non-baking soda toothpastes.
Five other studies suggest that toothpastes that are high in baking soda remove plaque buildup more effectively. While using a baking soda based toothpaste can also do the job, applying a high concentration of pure baking soda could benefit a lot more.
Here are the top dental benefits of baking soda:
- Teeth Whitening: Teeth staining can be either caused by overconsumption of acidic foods, sugary treats, tea, coffee or red wine. People who smoke a lot are also at risk. Another reason could be untreated plaque buildup in your teeth.
Baking soda is one of the few home remedies that actually treat teeth discoloration and staining. The chemical composition of baking soda gives it the characteristics of a mild bleach.
When used in moderation, it oxidizes the staining agents, making your teeth appear whiter. It also helps to dislodge plaque to prevent the further risk of staining.
- Regulates Mouth pH Level: Low pH level in the mouth means higher level of acidity. If you consume a lot high acidic foods like refined sugar, citrus fruits, and dairy products, your mouth pH level will be at or lower than 5.5.
This could trigger enamel erosion, making your teeth susceptible to dental cavity. The alkaline powder in baking soda increases the pH level to almost 8.3. This creates an alkaline enivironment where cavity-forming bacteria cannot thrive.
- Fights Bad Breath or Halitosis: Bad breath or Halitosis can be embarrassing. Regular toothpastes often provide only a temporary solution. Since bad breath is mostly caused by plaque buildup from high-acidic foods, baking soda can help you get rid of this problem by balancing the acid level in your mouth.
Adding a few drops of peppermint oil in your homemade baking soda toothpaste will give you long-lasting minty-fresh breath.
- Treats Gum Diseases: If bleeding gums, swollen gums or general gum sensitivity is disrupting your life, brushing with baking soda might alleviate the pain and irritation. While baking soda does not kill bacteria, it does neutralize the acids in your mouth.
This, in turn, will promote the remineralization of teeth and prevent the further growth bacteria linked with gingivitis and other gum diseases.
- Reducing the Pain of Mouth Ulcer: It can be very difficult to enjoy food and drinks when your mouth is full of ulcer and sores. By rebalancing the acid in your mouth, it slowly reduces the symptoms of ulcer.
Brushing Teeth with Baking Soda: How It’s Done
The most effectively way to use baking soda for brushing is to make a paste using water. This simple mixture has enough abrasiveness to scrub off the yellow stains from your teeth.
Water-based paste also helps the gritty baking soda to evenly coat all your teeth. This prevents enamel erosion and gum tissue damage caused by the overuse of bicarb soda.
Although this baking soda paste removes bad breath, it leaves a weird aftertaste in mouth. You can counter that by adding a few drops of peppermint oil in it.
Do avoid adding lemon essential oil or any other citric acid based fruit extract in it. Since high level of acid can irritate gums and damage the calcium in your teeth, and above all, trigger bacteria growth, I won’t suggest it.
Here’s the recipe to the perfect homemade baking soda paste:
Step 1: Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 2 teaspoons of regular water in a cup. Add 2 drops of peppermint oil in it.
Step 2: Use a soft bristle brush or your fingertips to gently rub the paste on your teeth. If you have receding gum, avoid brushing the teeth right below the gumline to avoid irritation. Keep brushing for 1-2 minutes.
Step 3: Rinse your mouth. Repeat this every other day for at least 2 weeks.
This toothpaste is an excellent natural remedy for plaque removal and teeth whitening.
Please remember that brushing with baking soda paste is not an alternative to brushing with a regular toothpaste. You should always brush with a quality toothpaste twice a day, followed by flossing and mouthwash rinsing. Also, get your teeth professionally cleaned at least once a year.
Alternative Methods of Using Baking Soda on Teeth
Baking soda is used as a base. Mixing it with ingredients like hydrogen peroxide, salt, and coconut oil instead of water will also give you similar benefits.
Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda
Hydrogen peroxide is a popular bleaching agent. When mixed with baking soda, it can effectively whiten your teeth. It releases free radicals that dislodge plaque buildup. It also prevents the growth of oral microbes that cause plaque, tartar formation, and bad breath.
Note that this method is not recommended if you have sensitive, infected or receding gums.
Here’s how to prepare the remedy:
Step 1: Mix 2 tablespoons of 1%-3% hydrogen peroxide with 1 tablespoon of baking soda to make a paste.
Step 2: Gently brush your teeth with it for 2 minutes.
Step 3: Rinse well with tepid water. Do this twice a week for an entire month.
Be careful not to ingest even a little bit of this solution while brushing. It might cause vomiting or loose motion.
Coconut oil and Baking Soda
If your teeth stain and halitosis are byproducts of plaque buildup, then you can benefit a lot from the fatty acids of coconut oil. These fatty acids have antimicrobial properties which neutralize odor-causing bacteria and eliminate plaque.
To make this solution,
Step 1: Mix one teaspoon of coconut oil with one teaspoon of baking soda.
Step 2: Brush your teeth gently in circular motion for two minutes.
Step 3: Rinse well. Do this two to two times a week for one month.
Salt and Baking Soda
Salt is a natural antiseptic. When mixed with baking soda, it can alleviate the pain caused by tooth abscess, gingivitis, and regular toothache. It also kills the oral microbes associated with plaque buildup. This, in turn, keep your teeth cavity-free, bright and your gum healthy.
To prepare this,
Step 1: simply mix 1 teaspoon of salt with 1 teaspoon of baking soda.
Step 2: Rub your teeth with it for 2-3 minutes and rinse. Do this once a week for best results.
Fluoride Toothpaste and Baking Soda
Sprinkling a pinch of baking soda on your regular toothpaste before brushing can enhance the potency of the toothpaste. Alternatively, you can also use an ADA endorsed toothpaste that already has baking soda and fluride in it.
The combination of these two ingredients will keep your enamel strong and bad breath away. This is highly recommended as baking soda alone cannot fight cavity. Your teeth need the power of fluoride to combat millions of mouth bacteria.
But is it that simple to fight bacteria and whiten teeth with baking soda? Apparently not. Baking soda is abrasive in nature. If not used in moderation or applied directly, it can gradually make your dental enamel wear away, increasing the risk of cavity. Read the section below before you start brushing your teeth with baking soda:
The Dark Side of Baking Soda: Side Effects
Brushing aggressively with baking soda more than twice a week can significantly damage tooth enamel. If you already have gum sensitivity or receding gumline, rubbing baking soda on it can trigger gum inflammation.
If you have braces, crowns or permanent retainer, avoid using baking soda for brushing. It will eventually soften the glue used on dental fixtures and implants like these. It can also affect the shine of porcelain crowns.
Baking soda cannot remove old, tough and deep-rooted teeth stain. While mixing hydrogen peroxide with it can make them appear slightly brighter, I’d highly recommend professional treatment for this.
Brushing Safely with Baking Soda: Tips to Avoid the Side Effects
- If you are using hydrogen peroxide, make sure that the concentration is no more than 3%.
- Don’t use acidic ingredients like lemon, vinegar or strawberry with baking soda. It will increase the acidic level in your mouth.
- Avoid baking soda if you have permanent retainers, braces or crowns.
- Consult your hygienist before using baking soda if you have periodontal disease or gum sensitivity.
- Do not brush with baking soda more than twice a week. It is not meant for long-term use either. Don’t continue for more than a month. If you keep using it for several months, it will make your enamel weak and cause extreme tooth sensitivity and cavity.
A box of baking soda costs around $1. If used correctly, it can bring the same results as expensive dental treatments. While it is not an alternative to professional treatment, you can definitely count on it for less severe cases. I personally feel that the best way to reap the oral benefits of baking soda is to use a baking soda based toothpaste. The other ingredients in the toothpaste formula will protect your teeth from the side effects of bicarbonate. Direct application of diluted baking soda also helps as long as your method is right.