Baking soda is a common cooking ingredient found in almost every kitchen. Baking soda is mainly used for baking, cooking and cleaning but it is also commonly used for brushing teeth. It cleans them well and provides sparkling white teeth. Many toothpastes available in the market also contain baking soda. Baking soda is very effective against plaque and prevents gum disease. But is it really safe to brush your teeth with baking soda? Read on to know.
Baking soda is basic i.e. alkaline in nature. Baking soda neutralizes the acid produced by bacterial action on the food particles trapped in the teeth. It is this acid which destroys the surface of the teeth and causes cavities. Therefore, baking soda prevents cavities. When baking soda is dissolved in water, it forms an alkaline solution containing free radicals. These three radicals react with the chemicals which give plaque its characteristic color and neutralize them. This is what makes baking soda so effective. So what are the disadvantages of using baking soda?
Baking soda can damage the enamel. If it is used in correct proportions, it can damage the enamel of the teeth which can result in tooth decay. The free radicals of baking soda not only act on plaque and bacteria but also on the teeth. For this reason, it is important to use only a small amount of baking soda. Further, you should use baking soda to brush your teeth once in awhile. Daily use is not advisable.
Baking soda can also damage the gums. Baking soda has abrasive properties. If it is not used judiciously, it can scratch the gums and cause injury. You should be careful while rubbing baking soda to your gums. Using gentle to and fro motions can prevent injury and at the same time clean your teeth and gums.
Baking soda can affect dental glue. Using excessive amounts of baking soda repeatedly can affect dental glue which holds braces and retainers. It can also cause dark spots on the teeth. If you’re using braces, it is advisable to avoid brushing your teeth with baking soda.
Baking soda can prevent cavities but is not enough. Baking soda is effective against plaque and helps in preventing dental cavities but it cannot prevent them entirely. Brushing your teeth twice a day, using floss and a medicated mouthwash are necessary to prevent dental cavities and maintain proper oral health.
Baking soda has an uncomfortable aftertaste. Baking soda also has a gritty texture. Mixing baking soda with your toothpaste is a good idea if you do not like the aftertaste. You can also rinse your mouth with a flavoured mouthwash to get rid of the aftertaste.
Baking soda doesn’t come packaged as a toothpaste. Using baking soda may be inexpensive but it certainly does not have the convenience of toothpaste. However, it is still worth the inconvenience taking into account the benefits it offers.
The disadvantages associated with baking soda arise only if it is not used properly. Here are some tips to reduce the side effects and get the maximum benefits.
- Use baking soda judiciously. Use only small amounts of baking soda. Avoid scrubbing your teeth vigorously as it can erode the enamel and cause injury to gums. It is advisable to use baking soda only once or twice a week. You should also not allow baking soda to come into contact with the teeth for more than a few minutes.
- Mix baking soda with lemon juice. Lemon juice has good bleaching properties. Mixing baking soda with lemon juice can provide you the benefits of both. Baking soda can also be mixed with vinegar. If you do not like the aftertaste of baking soda, you can mix it with crushed peppermint leaves or strawberry pulp.
- Use proper brushing techniques. Many people do not use proper brushing technique. You should always brush your teeth gently. Applying more force can damage the teeth surface and cause injury to the gums. You should brush your teeth for at least two minutes. Rinse your mouth immediately with water to reduce the chances of damage to the enamel of the teeth.