Baking soda has been touted by many as a safe and effective way to brush your teeth. The reality is that chronic baking soda use can cause some alarming problems to develop in your mouth. Knowing more about how to use baking soda correctly is an important part of long-term oral health.
Baking soda is a weak base or alkaline powder that is used in a variety of cleaning applications. When it comes in contact with water, baking soda releases free radicals that attack teeth stains and help remove discoloration caused from a variety of food sources and tobacco.
Benefits of Brushing Teeth with Baking Soda
In addition to a brighter smile, brushing with baking soda helps dislodge plaque built up on the teeth. Many foods and beverages such as tea, coffee, soda and red wine all cause staining of the teeth. In addition, plaque accumulates and causes additional yellowish discoloration. Baking soda is effective for both concerns and has a bleach-like action resulting in effective whitening of teeth. Plaque contributes to dental decay and cavity formation and must be removed on a regular basis. Baking soda is inexpensive and perhaps the most affordable combination of tooth cleaner and whitener. A single box generally lasts for over 100 brushings and costs around one dollar.
Options for Brushing Teeth with Baking Soda
1. Baking Soda and Water
- Simply wet your toothbrush and dip into the baking soda powder. Make sure that the entire brush and all bristles are coated and appear white.
- Brush in a normal manner and be sure to angle the brush accordingly to get at the gum line and between teeth.
- Work from quadrant to quadrant in the mouth with a total bruising time of at least two minutes.
- Rinse your mouth thoroughly afterwards.
It is not uncommon to experience a slight tingling sensation but stop if you experience an uncomfortable burning sensation.
2. Baking Soda and Vinegar
- Dissolve the baking soda in water and add a few drops of white vinegar and a dash of salt.
- Dip your toothbrush in the solution.
- Brush as normal for two minutes.
- Some recommend brushing with regular toothpaste after to remove any vinegar taste.
3. Baking Soda and Strawberry
Strawberries have powerful anti-oxidant properties and work well to whiten teeth.
- Mash up one whole ripe strawberry into a pulp and then add enough baking soda to make a paste.
- Now coat your toothbrush with the paste and enjoy the whitening effects as well as removing a lot of plaque in the process.
- Rinse well after brushing for two minutes.
4. Baking Soda and Toothpaste
Mixing baking soda and toothpaste together imparts a nice flavor to the mixture.
- Mix a small amount of baking soda with your favorite toothpaste to make a nice paste.
- Apply to your toothbrush (an alternative is to simply sprinkle baking soda on top of the toothpaste on your brush).
- Either way, two minutes of brushing is enough to freshen your breath, remove plaque and whiten your smile.
5. Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide has well-known whitening and bleaching effects.
- Dip the toothbrush in hydrogen peroxide
- Then dip in baking soda to enhance the whitening effect.
- Rinse your mouth well after brushing for two minutes
6. Baking Soda and Salt
- Add 1 teaspoon of table salt to 3 teaspoons of baking soda. The abrasive effect of salt will enhance the plaque removal and whitening process.
- Use this mixture on your toothbrush or try a small amount on a soft cloth to remove tougher stains.
- Rinse per usual after done brushing.
7. Baking Soda, Peppermint Extract and Glycerin
Mixing peppermint extract, glycerin and baking soda creates fresh tasting toothpaste.
- Mix 3 teaspoons of vegetable glycerin with a few drops of peppermint oil.
- Add in 1/2 teaspoon of salt along with 5 teaspoons of baking soda. Stir the ingredients completely, apply and brush for two minutes, then rinse your mouth.
8. Baking Soda and Lemon Juice
Lemon has excellent teeth bleaching abilities and making a paste is an effective home remedy to whiten teeth.
- Mix lemon juice with baking soda and apply to the teeth.
- Let it sit for 2 to 3 minutes and then rinse with cool water.
- Try this at most once a week as excessive use can harm the enamel and inflame your gums.
Precautions for Brushing Teeth with Baking Soda
Although reported to be safe, effective and inexpensive, baking soda use for brushing your teeth is not without risks.
- The abrasive properties of baking soda can cause excessive wear and damage to the enamel of your teeth. This results in sensitivity and increased risk for developing cavities.
- Baking soda helps remove plaque, but doesn't kill any bacteria and that can actually increase cavity formation in your teeth. This is why brushing with regular toothpaste remains important as well.
- Baking soda can weaken the adhesive for those wearing braces or permanent dental appliances. This can result in darker spots appearing on the teeth.
- Occasional use of baking soda is generally safe, but another option is to try a variety of toothpaste brands with mild abrasives instead.
- Never scrub vigorously and if you choose to use baking soda use it no more than a few times a week or less. When using baking soda to brush, 2 minutes is long enough and can prevent excessive wear on the enamel and gums.