Using Baking Soda as a Teeth Whitener and Cleanser

Using Baking Soda as a Teeth Whitener and Cleanser
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Using Baking Soda as a Teeth Whitener and CleanserClinical Content Reviewed by Dr. Jay Khorsandi, DDS
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Table of Contents

  1. Brief History of Baking Soda for Oral Health
  2. Is Baking Soda Effective
  3. Uses for Baking Soda
  4. How Often Can You Use Baking Soda
  5. References

Baking soda, sodium bicarbonate, is a well-known ingredient in bread-baking because of its leavening properties, but it is also a good tool in toolbox promoting good dental health. It has a natural ability to absorb odors and to perform as a cleaning agent for dirty pots and pans and for teeth and gums.

Although it looks like a powder, baking soda comes in crystal form. When used in toothpaste, it neutralizes the production of acid in the mouth and acts as an antiseptic that prevents bacteria from turning into infections.

A Brief History of Baking Soda for Oral Health

Baking soda has a long history as an oral hygiene product. For more than 100 years, dentists used baking soda as a health cleaner, and druggists sold it to customers for the same reason. It is still used as a prominent ingredient in toothpaste, while other ingredients such as hydrochloric acid were discontinued after researchers discovered it was damaging to enamel.

Also known as sodium bicarbonate, baking soda was used to treat pyorrhea alveolaris by Europeans in 1903. Eight years later, the United States started using it, too.

Dr. Jules Sarrazin, dean of New Orleans College of Dentistry, was the first to suggest baking soda as a tooth treatment because of its low abrasive approach to the tooth and gingiva. This is when baking soda began to rise in popularity in the U.S.

Is Baking Soda Effective?

Clinical studies have shown baking soda to be an effective tool for oral care. It can whiten teeth and cleanse the mouth.

Baking soda also works as a stain remover on teeth. Subsequently, it helps strengthen teeth and can be used with a regular toothbrush to achieve results.

If you want to get rid of plaque, baking soda breaks down plaque30809-7/fulltext) by reducing its acidity. After the breakdown, baking soda (along with fluoride) facilitates the tooth’s ability to re-mineralize (to restore minerals within the enamel). This in turn helps reverse tooth decay and is what makes the tooth stronger.

Products that contain baking soda are proven to remove more plaque than those without it, primarily because of its ability to help you generate saliva, which raises the ph levels in your mouth. And good ph levels are central to maintaining a healthy mouth.

Because baking soda increase saliva, people who suffer from xerostomia (dry mouth) should treat their condition with a mix of baking soda and water applied to the soft tissues in their mouth.

Multiple clinical studies show that baking soda eliminates bad bacteria. For instance, gingivitis was reduced, along with other pathogens decreasing in these studies. This should help you have a fresh breath.

For the most optimal results, brush for roughly two minutes using circular motions and make sure to coat all of your teeth with the paste.

Uses for Baking Soda

Baking soda is a versatile chemical for different dental issues. From teeth protection to healing wounds of the gums or in other areas of the mouth, baking soda can be used to promote oral health.

Baking soda is a popular solution for teeth whitening. Several clinical studies have shown that baking soda is safe for stain removal because it is not very abrasive. Some of these studies were done with manual toothbrushes, confirming the ease of usage.

You can create a paste with baking soda in it to make it applicable. If you want to make your teeth white, mix baking soda paste with a few drops of 3% hydrogen peroxide until it becomes the paste.

If you are pregnant and feel the need to vomit, you can protect your teeth by rinsing with a mixture of water and a teaspoon of baking soda. This will help guard your teeth against bad bacteria attaching to them.

Canker sores can be quite bothersome, and inconvenient to deal with. Baking soda should help heal them by killing the bacteria and reducing the acidity. Just mix some water and baking soda, rinse, and you should be good to go.

How Often Can You Use Baking Soda?

One of the reasons baking soda is recommended for teeth whitening and cleansing is because of its low abrasiveness. However, you don't want to use it every day. It can cause tooth sensitivity by getting into the dentin (soft tissue where the dental nerves are). Consult with your dentist or physician for any specified instruction before any regular or long-term use.

If you want to brush with a baking soda/hydrogen peroxide paste, use it for three to five days during a week. You should see some results at the end. The peroxide adds abrasiveness, so using that paste should not be the everyday toothpaste for you.

You can use baking soda more often if it is watered down when you use it. One situation that comes to mind is if you are sick to your stomach and vomit. Left untreated, your teeth and gums can get contaminated by vomit.

To treat it, it’s OK to swish your mouth with a mix of baking soda and water. Baking soda will help clean your mouth and fight germs. With proper rinsing, the baking soda will be less harmful to your enamel.

References

Teeth Sensitivity. (August 29, 2019). Cleveland Clinic. Date fetched: July 24, 2021.

Baking soda dentifrices and oral health30822-X/fulltext#relatedArticles). (November 2017). Journal of The American Dental Association. Date fetched: July 24, 2021.

Effect of baking soda in dentifrices on plaque removal30809-7/fulltext). (November 2017). Journal of the American Dental Association. Date fetched: July 24, 2021.

Stain removal and whitening by baking soda dentifrice: A review of literature. (November 2017). National Library of Medicine. Date fetched: July 24, 2021.

Oral Care. Smithsonian. Date fetched: July 24, 2021.

Is it safe to Go to the Dentist While Pregnant?. (August 2020). Cleveland Clinic. Date fetched: July 24, 2021.

Sodium bicarbonate: A review and its uses in dentistry. (October 2018). National Library of Medicine. Date fetched: July 24, 2021.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to serve as dental or other professional health advice and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition or symptom. You should consult a dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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