There is a popular concept spreading like wildfire that using baking soda is a cheap and easy way to brush and/or whiten your teeth. This suggestion has been heard on the streets, in beauty magazines and social media websites like Pinterest. Even some beauty consultants are recommending using baking soda to clients who just want a brighter smile.
But wait right there — before driving to the supermarket to grab some baking soda for yourself, understand both the benefits and disadvantages of this oral hygiene method.
Advantages of Using Baking Soda
- Teeth-whitening properties
Baking soda is made of substances that can remove most stains caused by coffee, cigarettes and wine.
Using baking soda to whiten your teeth is an attractive option to those who aren’t inclined to spending hundreds of dollars on a cosmetic procedure. With baking soda on the shelves for around a dollar or less, many find this alternative more practical.
- Removal of plaque deposits
Plaque deposits are the primary cause of tooth decay. Baking soda’s cleaning properties are able to remove these deposits before having any major effect on your oral health.
Disadvantages of Using Baking Soda
Although this household product has many natural remedies for a stained mouth, it is also important to realize it’s harsh effects on your teeth.
- Harsh properties
While baking soda breaks down and removes plaque, it also gradually can weaken the tooth enamel. Tooth enamel is the protective layer on your teeth, preventing damage from damaging chemicals, wear and tear and potentially dangerous temperatures coming into contact with the teeth.
- Doesn’t remove bacteria
While baking soda polishes the teeth of stains, it isn’t capable of removing bacteria. If you replace toothpaste with baking soda as a way of cleaning teeth, you are at major risk for cavity development. To kill the bacteria, you have to continue brushing with toothpaste after brushing with baking soda.
- Not for orthodontic patients
If you are wearing braces or a permanent retainer, you should refrain from using baking soda at all. The reaction between orthodontics and baking soda can create dark spots on your teeth, and even allow your orthodontics to weaken and fall out.
How to Use It…
If you decide after looking through both pros and cons that baking soda would be a good habit for you, it’s important to know how to use it properly. As already mentioned, using baking soda in place of toothpaste is just asking for cavities and Gingivitis. Additionally, using it too often can result in erosion of the enamel. Keeping your use to about once a week is considered just enough.
When using it, there are several methods to making it a paste:
- Rinse toothbrush, slather on toothpaste and sprinkle baking soda on top
- Mash up a strawberry into pulp and combine with a few sprinkles of baking soda
- Combine hydrogen peroxide and baking soda and brush for two minutes
So now you know a few of the benefits of using baking soda to keep your mouth clean. Have any of you readers ever used baking soda? Let me know all about it in the comments below.
Lindsay Bradshaw is a content developer for Lakeway Cosmetic Dentistry. She has not used baking soda as an oral hygiene product, but has heard good outcomes from the method.
Photo Credit: Michael Francis McCarthy
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