A trip to the oral hygiene aisle in any store can overwhelm you with the variety of toothpaste available. You can whiten, brighten, soothe sore gums, fight cavities, strengthen, help the environment and more with the various types. Some individuals go to the baking section and buy a box of baking powder or baking soda to keep their pearly whites in good shape.
In the 1800s, tooth powders were commonly used to clean teeth. They were often made from chalk, crushed brick, charcoal or salt and mixed with eucalyptus or camphor essential oil. The oils were thought to fight germs. These methods were harsh on tooth enamel and the gums.
Brushing teeth with baking powder or soda is most likely a carryover from these earlier days. The first toothpastes contained baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. These toothpastes were invented after World War I. Even though it has a long history, is brushing with baking soda safe for your teeth?
DOES BAKING SODA DAMAGE TEETH?
The short answer is, yes it can, but it isn’t necessary. When used sparingly, once a day or on occasion, baking soda is safe. It is important not to brush too hard because of its abrasive nature. To make it taste better, some individuals will mix in ingredients such as lemon juice or strawberries. This can be effective if used occasionally and not on a regular basis.
A NATURAL WHITENER
Although it will not whiten teeth like products made specifically for whitening, baking soda can whiten teeth. When mixed with water, baking soda becomes an alkaline solution. It releases free radicals which in turn, result in the breakup of plaque and surface stains on the teeth. Other abrasive whitening materials have a higher hardness than baking soda. This makes the soda a more preferable whitening agent over other abrasives. It is still important to use it carefully to minimize the erosion of tooth enamel.
Sugars from the foods and drinks consumed stick to the teeth and react with harmful bacteria in the mouth to produce the acids that dissolve tooth enamel. Baking soda reduces the acidity of plaque by raising the pH level in the mouth, creating an alkaline environment. This helps prevent cavities from developing.
USING BAKING SODA FOR DENTAL HEALTH
Baking soda straight out of the box should be used with moderation. In fact, dentists suggest using a toothpaste with sodium bicarbonate for those who prefer to use baking soda. The small amount of soda in toothpaste will not cause erosion of the tooth enamel. Additionally, these types of toothpaste may remove more yellow surface stains than other types.
To be sure your toothpaste will be safe for your teeth, look for one that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance. This seal ensures that the toothpaste is safe and effective. For an even brighter smile, schedule an appointment with Just Brush My Teeth for professional cleaning and whitening.