Article at a Glance
- Commonly found in oral care items, baking soda whitens, cleans, and neutralizes acids to fight plaque buildup.
- There are downsides to using baking soda toothpaste including taste, possible enamel and gum damage, and complications for people with orthodontic devices.
- Baking soda toothpaste is inexpensive and easy to make, but it can be messy, lacks fluoride, and is not approved by the American Dental Association as a toothpaste.
Baking soda is best known as an ingredient for baking. However, baking soda is also a useful cleaner and home remedy for many conditions. Over the years, baking soda has become an important part of oral care, but is it everything it’s cracked up to be?
What is Baking Soda and What Does it Do?
Sodium bicarbonate, commonly known as baking soda, is a common household ingredient used for everything from baking to cleaning. When used for baking, sodium bicarbonate acts as a leavening agent which means it produces carbon dioxide which in turn causes dough to rise. Chemical reactions from combining baking soda with other ingredients can also be used to clean and neutralize acids making it a versatile and useful substance.
How to Use Baking Soda for Toothpaste
Baking soda is also used for oral care because it helps freshen breath when used as a mouthwash, soothes the pain of canker sores, and can clean and whiten teeth. It is often an active ingredient in commercial toothpastes and some people even make their own toothpaste primarily from baking soda. The most basic recipe for homemade baking soda toothpaste is to combine baking soda with water until it forms a paste. Store it in an airtight container and you’ve got a cheap, simple toothpaste. If you’re looking for something fancier, try one of these variations:
- Enhance the whitening properties by adding lemon juice or vinegar, let set on your teeth for a few minutes, then rinse your mouth thoroughly. Brush with plain baking soda toothpaste to get rid of the vinegar aftertaste.
- Add coconut oil for a smoother paste and more bacteria-fighting power.
- Improve the flavor with extracts or essential oils like peppermint or orange.
- Strawberries can make your toothpaste taste better and their high oxidizing properties can enhance the whitening effects.
Benefits of Baking Soda Toothpaste
If you’re looking for a whiter, brighter, healthier smile, baking soda toothpaste may be the right choice for you. There are many known benefits to using toothpaste with baking soda as an active ingredient. It’s often touted as a whitening agent because it works so well against coffee, tea, and tobacco staining. Baking soda toothpaste whitening power is impressive, but that’s not all it does.
- Using baking soda toothpaste actually attacks plaque formation to prevent it from building up and causing tooth decay.
- Baking soda also fights bad breath. When it reacts with water, baking soda becomes an alkaline solution that neutralizes odors.
- If you suffer from mouth ulcers, baking soda toothpaste actually acts as a pain reliever by neutralizing the acidic nature of the ulcers.
- Baking soda toothpaste is very inexpensive to make and can be whipped up in the comfort of your own kitchen.
The Downside of Baking Soda Toothpaste
Before committing to baking soda toothpaste for your oral care routine, make sure you understand what you’re getting into. Using baking soda for teeth brushing can have some side effects.
- The ADA (American Dental Association) has not approved baking soda toothpaste for brushing teeth.
- Baking soda alone is not sufficient to remove plaque and prevent cavities. Fluoride is also an important element for fighting cavities and it’s not present in baking soda toothpaste.
- If you brush too hard or leave the paste on your teeth too long, you could risk damage to the enamel of your teeth.
- Baking soda is an abrasive which means it can damage your gums.
- People with braces and other orthodontic appliances may find their attachments can be loosened when regularly using baking soda toothpaste.
- Baking soda toothpaste can feel gritty and leave a bad taste behind after brushing.
- Because it doesn’t come conveniently packaged in a tube like commercial toothpastes, baking soda toothpaste is generally messier and can be difficult to travel with.
When it’s Time for Professional Cleaning and Whitening
Baking soda toothpaste can certainly whiten and brighten your smile, but it may not be the best choice for your daily oral care routine. Before making the switch, it’s a good idea to speak with your dentist about how baking soda toothpaste could affect you and what teeth whitening alternatives they can offer. Remember, no toothpaste is a substitute for regular professional teeth cleanings because no matter how good your oral care routine is, you can’t catch all of the buildup and stains that your dental hygienist can.