Can I brush my teeth with baking soda? How often should you use bicarbonate of soda for the purpose? Is brushing with baking soda during pregnancy okay? Is it safe if you have braces? How do you brush with bicarbonate of soda? Find out the pros and cons of brushing teeth with baking soda and much more.
Is It Safe To Brush Teeth With Baking Soda Daily, With Braces, While Pregnant?
There are home remedies touted to help almost anything. Among these remedies found galore on the internet are those that simply don’t work at all, some that work for some people, and others that actually do work but pose cosmetic or health safety risk. This brings us to the question, is brushing teeth with baking soda safe?
According to Bhandal Dental Surgery, it is safe to brush your teeth with baking soda so long as it is “used correctly in order to protect the teeth’s enamel from damages. The soda should ideally not be used too frequently since it can damage the enamel as a result of frequent use. It should generally only be used about once per a week and for two minutes at a time”.
So, is it safe to use bicarbonate of soda for daily teeth cleaning, in other words replacing the regular toothpaste with it? NO.
Should You Clean Teeth with Bicarbonate Of Soda If You Have Braces?
According to Colgate, brushing with baking soda is not recommended for people with braces that contain orthodontic glue (your dentist will advise you accordingly) or permanent retainers. Baking soda can loosen the glue and cause these dental devices to fall, not to mention that the reaction involved can leave you with darker spots.
What about Brushing with Baking Soda While Pregnant?
Pregnancy is associated with lots of hormonal changes. These changes can according to Colgate increase the risk of dental problems including what the American Dental Association refers to as pregnancy gingivitis (swelling and bleeding of gums), periodontitis and loose teeth.
According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), pregnancy may also increase your risk of dental carries due factors such as increased mouth acidity, cravings for sugary substances, and reduced attention to oral care.
While brushing teeth during pregnancy is vital, it may not be sufficient. A dental appointment is also crucial, says Colgate. In addition to brushing and flossing your teeth regularly with normal toothpaste, it also helps to brush with baking soda every now and then. Baking soda helps to lower mouth acidity and hence reduce tooth corrosion and associated problems.
This is especially important for patients who experience “vomiting secondary to morning sickness, hyperemesis gravidarum, or gastric reflux during late pregnancy” as these factors increase exposure of teeth to gastric acid.
Brushing your teeth with baking soda aside, The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends rinsing your mouth with a baking soda solution prepared by mixing 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 cup of water as a way to reduce the acidity in the mouth.
Is It Safe To Brush With Baking Soda And Lemon? And Strawberry?
You are likely to come across some websites and blogs suggesting the use of bicarbonate of soda and lemon for stronger teeth whitening effect. Bhandal Dental Surgery advises against this saying that the acidic nature of lemon can erode calcium from the teeth and thus wear them off. It can also cause gum inflammation.
Strawberries on the other hand can indeed help to whiten teeth naturally thanks to the vitamin C found abundantly in them but a baking soda and strawberry combo is not ideal for teeth, says the Bhandal Dental Surgery owing to the acidity in strawberries.
Why Brushing Teeth with Baking Soda Every Day is bad
With so many health benefits attributed to brushing with sodium bicarbonate, you may be tempted to use it as a daily replacement for your regular fluoride toothpaste. That is a bad idea. According to Bhandal Dental Surgery fluoride is crucial for strengthening of teeth enamel and should thus form part of your regular oral health care. As regards how you use the bicarbonate of soda for brushing, do it gently. Scrubbing the teeth or gums too hard or too long (longer than 2 minutes) is as bad as brushing too frequently or daily. It will erode the enamel; the protective hard surface of the teeth.
Here is a video showing a great brushing technique called Modified Bass Brushing Technique:
Benefits of Brushing Teeth with Baking Soda
Brushing with sodium bicarbonate is a smart, healthy move that helps you attain the following benefits from this great natural remedy:
- Teeth whitening: As a mild abrasive, baking soda can help whiten teeth naturally by removing surface stains caused by smoking, drinking tea and coffee etc. According to Bhandal Dental Surgery, baking soda can also help to prevent teeth discoloration. The WebMD however cautions that it may be pretty harsh for people with sensitive gums and teeth.
As regards how to whiten teeth with baking soda, Bhandal dental surgery recommends brushing the teeth with a paste prepared by wetting baking soda with water. Simply wet the toothbrush bristles with water, then touch dip them in a teaspoon or so of sodium bicarbonate before brushing your teeth gently with it for 2 minutes. Once done, rinse your mouth with water.
- Helps to remove plaque from the teeth. Read more: Home Remedies for Dental Plaque and Tartar Removal
- Fights halitosis (bad breath)
- Balances Mouth pH: Lower mouth pH (more acidic) is associated with higher risk of tooth decay. By raising oral pH, baking soda (which has a pH of 8.3) helps to create an environmental that is unsuitable for growth of the bacteria responsible for tooth decay and other dental diseases.
Brushing Teeth with Bicarbonate of Soda and Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is known for its powerful oil pulling potency (whereby it is used to rinse the mouth) in getting rid of plaque and preventing tartar formation on teeth. Coconut oil is claimed to help loosen plaque and stains. According to Mercola.com, a recent research study also showed the biocidal properties of coconut oil be effective against the bacteria responsible for tooth decay.
You can make a homemade toothpaste with baking soda and coconut oil as follows:
- Mix two tablespoons each of coconut oil and baking soda.
- Mix them thoroughly to make a finely blended paste.
- If you want, pour in 10 drops of peppermint oil.
- Use this homemade toothpaste regularly to brush your teeth.
How to Brush Your Teeth with Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide
According to the Bhandal Dental Surgery, hydrogen peroxide can help to enhance the teeth whitening action of sodium bicarbonate.
- Soak your toothbrush with hydrogen peroxide
- Dip it into baking soda so that all the bristles are covered with it.
- Brush your teeth gently as explained in the video above for not more than 2 minutes, then rinse with water.
- Repeat once weekly until you get the desired results
- Mix baking soda with enough hydrogen peroxide to make a paste.
- Brush with the paste for 2 minutes
- Rinse your mouth with water to remove the paste.
- Repeat once per week for the best results and little of the dangers outlined previously.
Brushing Teeth with Baking Soda and Salt
Some websites suggest using bicarbonate of soda alongside salt. The abrasive action of salt helps to add to the plaque fighting and teeth whitening effect of the bicarbonate. Sea salt is especially good since it is loaded with calcium, magnesium, iodine, and other nutrients.
Here is how to brush your teeth with baking soda and sea salt:
- Mix 3 teaspoons of sodium bicarbonate with 1 teaspoon of sea salt (or table salt)
- Dip wet toothbrush in the mixture and brush your teeth with it for 2 minutes.
- Rinse your mouth as you normally do.
Brushing Teeth with Baking Soda and Vinegar
- To 1 teaspoon of white vinegar, add a pinch of salt and mix thoroughly.
- Dip a toothbrush in the mixture
- Cover the wet bristles with baking soda by dipping the toothbrush in baking soda
- Brush your teeth for 2 minutes.
- Rinse your mouth and the toothbrush with water.
- You may then brush your teeth with regular fluoride toothpaste if you like.
- Repeat the process once a week to whiten teeth and remove plaque.
Brushing Teeth with Baking Soda Side Effects and Risks
Brushing with sodium bicarbonate is not without its side effects and risks. Among the most significant side-effects and dangers of bicarbonate of soda teeth whitening and plaque removal are:
- Enamel (and sometime dentine) damage if used inappropriately, for too long or too frequently.
- Increased teeth sensitivity (to cold and hot drinks and foods).
- Damage to dental braces and permanent retainers.
Mixing Baking Soda with Toothpaste
The fluoride in toothpaste forms an integral part of dental hygiene and health. You should thus only use baking soda alternately with toothpaste; Bhandal Dental Surgery specifically recommends using baking soda only one each week to avoid damage to teeth enamel and to capitalize on the teeth strengthening action of fluoride.
Rather than use baking soda alone, you may also want to use it alongside toothpaste. The first way to do that is to brush with baking soda first as explained above and then follow it up with your normal toothpaste. Alternatively, apply toothpaste to your toothbrush, then sprinkle some baking soda before brushing as usual.
You can also look for one of the many over-the-counter teeth whitening products with baking soda. If you decide to go that route, ensure that the product has the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
Brushing With Baking Soda Results
The picture below shows typical results from using bicarbonate of soda for teeth whitening:
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is safe for brushing teeth provided it is done correctly. If you have a gum or teeth disease or problem or have sensitive teeth, however, it is a good idea to seek the opinion of your dentist before you begin brushing with baking soda.
- American Dental Association: Statement on the Safety and Effectiveness of Tooth Whitening Products
- American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG): Oral Health Care during Pregnancy and Through the Lifespan
- Bhandal Dental Surgery: Does Brushing Your Teeth With Baking Soda Whiten Your Teeth?
- Colgate: Does Baking Soda Whiten Teeth?
- Colgate: Brushing Teeth While Pregnant: Good but Not Enough!
- Mercola: Coconut Oil as Toothpaste
- PubMed: Bactericidal action of bicarbonate ion on selected periodontal pathogenic microorganisms.
- WebMD: How to Whiten Your Teeth Step by Step