Family Dentist – Brushing with Baking Soda FAQs

How does a professional family dentist weigh in on the following topic? A common trick for whiter teeth passed from mother to daughter is to brush with baking soda. Is the effectiveness of this technique a myth? Or is there wisdom to the old wives’ tale that baking soda will brighten your smile? Find out by reading the answers to these common inquiries.

Brushing with baking soda

Is it effective?

Using baking soda to brush will work. The abrasive properties of baking soda will mechanical remove debris and plaque while chemical properties will fight bad breath and whiten teeth. Mostly it is the abrasion provided by baking soda which gives the teeth a polished, shinier, whiter look after its use. The same deodorizing properties which can absorb the smells in a refrigerator make baking soda effective in reducing bad breath. It accomplishes this by scrubbing away plaque. Baking soda is also extremely cost efficient.

What are typical solvents for the baking soda?

The most common solvent is water. People either wet their brush under the faucet then sprinkle on the powder, or they make a quick paste. Hydrogen Peroxide is used by people looking for an intense bleach. Other typical solvents are vinegar and mashed up strawberries.

Is there any downside?

Abrasiveness

As a matter of fact there is. Brushing with baking soda is particularly dangerous when done too often. The same extremely abrasive properties that make baking soda effective against plaque also make it dangerous. Consistent use can damage teeth by eroding the protective layer of enamel.

Increased sensitivity

This leaves the teeth more sensitive by exposing nerve endings and more vulnerable to bacteria at the gum lines. The gums can also be worn down, peeled back, and inflamed by constant baking soda application. Furthermore, baking soda does not contain the antibacterial properties found in toothpaste, so for fighting gum disease and cavities, toothpaste is still superior.

Use in moderation

When applied to teeth straight from the box baking soda may cause tingling or discomfort. It is best to stop immediately if this occurs and to rinse out the mouth. Brushing with baking soda for more than two minutes is a bad idea according to a family dentist. The taste of baking soda may also be rather unpleasant.

Balance is the rule of thumb when incorporating baking soda into an oral hygiene routine. It cannot be used every day. At most a family dentist would recommend using it twice a week. Since there are toothpastes available which contain baking soda, seeking out one of these products is a compromise which allows teeth to get the benefits of sodium bicarbonate daily.

Conclusion

Baking soda is an effective abrasive which can help polish teeth. It does not clean teeth of bacteria the way toothpaste does. Caution must be exercised as overuse of baking soda can do more harm than good to teeth.

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