Sodium bicarbonate or bicarbonate of soda is a common household product that has many uses around the home, from simple cleaning to eliminating unwanted smells. But did you know that Sodium bicarbonate or baking soda in layman’s term is an active ingredient in many toothpastes and teeth-whitening products? This active ingredient is just within household reach and it’s usually part of the best whitening toothpaste formula.
For over 150 years, baking soda has been used as a tooth cleanser. According to their abrasiveness, toothpastes are rated on a scale from 0 – 200. This is known as the RDA value (Relative Dentin Abrasiveness). The RDA of Pure baking soda is rated as 7. An RDA of 35 is the closest to baking soda which Arm & Hammer baking soda toothpaste possesses. The RDA’s for other toothpastes in the market today are getting higher and higher.
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Benefits Of Baking Soda
Brushing teeth with baking soda aids in dislodging plaque built up on the teeth aside from giving you a brighter smile. Common beverages such as coffee, red wine, soda and tea and smoking cigarettes are major contributors to staining of the teeth. In addition to this, plaque accumulates and causes yellowish discoloration. Plaque contributes to dental decay and cavity formation and must be removed on a regular basis. Removal of plaque prevents a person from having bad breath. Baking soda is effective for both problems and has a bleach-like action resulting in effective whitening of teeth. Baking soda is perhaps the most affordable ingredient with a combination of tooth cleaner and whitener. A single box generally lasts for over one hundred brushes and costs around one dollar only.
Baking Soda for teeth: How Baking Soda Works
Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is a white, crystalline powder which is slightly alkaline in nature. When dissolved in water, this weakly alkaline releases free radicals (molecules that are very unstable and seek to bond to other molecules to increase their stability).
When baking soda is placed in the mouth, free radicals from the mixture interact with the stain molecules on the teeth enamel (protective coating) and oxidize or scrapes off the yellow and brown stains on the teeth. Thus, it breaks down the discoloration of the teeth resulting in brightening and whitening. The alkaline baking soda aids in neutralizing acidic bacterial wastes and facilitates an alkaline environment in your mouth that decay-causing bacteria do not develop well in. The rule of thumb is that, the higher the pH of the mouth the better for our teeth.
How to Whiten Teeth with Baking Soda
Although you can buy toothpastes containing baking soda easily in the market today, brushing your teeth with pure baking soda is still the most affordable and easiest way test whether baking soda can help your teeth. Here are the basics and alternative methods on how to get a whiter teeth with baking soda.
Mix the baking soda with water. Mix half a teaspoon of baking soda with half a teaspoon of water in small cup or basin. Mix well until a paste like appearance occurs. Dip the toothbrush in the baking soda and try to get as much baking soda to stick to it as possible.
Brush your teeth with a time span of one to two minutes. Start brushing the biting surfaces of the teeth first and concentrate on getting the brush into all the cracks and fissures. Brush for 15 seconds or so to allow mixing of the baking soda and saliva until it become creamy. Placing powder directly on the gums before allowing it to mix with the saliva can irritate the gums. Be sure to brush your teeth not longer than two minutes, as baking soda being a mild abrasive, can wear away teeth enamel. Brush the tongue for 20 seconds as well. Many germs can be found living on the tongue. Also, be aware that baking soda has an unpleasant taste.
Rinse thoroughly. Spit the baking soda out and rinse your mouth with water or preferably mouthwash. This will give the mouth a fresh, minty taste, removing the aftertaste of baking soda. Rinse your toothbrush as well.
Repeat every other day. The process of brushing your teeth with baking soda every other day for one or two weeks aids in whitening your teeth and a slight difference can be observe in just a few days. After a couple of weeks of brushing with baking soda every second day, you should shift back to doing it just once or twice a week. The abrasive properties of the baking soda may damage the enamel on your teeth if used too frequently.
Alternative Options for Brushing Teeth with Baking Soda:
Baking Soda and Vinegar. Dissolve first the baking soda in water and add a few drops of white vinegar and a pinch of salt. Brush for two minutes and rinse thoroughly.
Baking Soda and Strawberry. Strawberries contain powerful anti-oxidant properties and work in harmony with whitening teeth. Mash up one whole ripe strawberry into a pulp and then add enough baking soda to make a paste. Apply to your toothbrush and brush for two minutes. Rinse mouth and toothbrush thoroughly.
Baking Soda and Toothpaste. Mix a small amount of baking soda with your desired toothpaste to make a paste. Dip toothbrush into the paste (an alternative is to simply sprinkle baking soda on top of the toothpaste on your brush). Brush for two minutes and rinse thoroughly.
Hydrogen Peroxide Teeth Whitening With Baking Soda. Hydrogen peroxide is known to have whitening and bleaching effects. Mix half a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide with a teaspoon of baking soda to form a paste. Dip the toothbrush into the paste. Brush for two minutes and rinse thoroughly.
Baking Soda and Salt. Add 1 teaspoon of table salt to 3 teaspoons of baking soda. Salt’s abrasive effect enhances the plaque removal and whitening process. Apply a desired amount in the toothbrush and brush for two minutes. Rinse per usual after done brushing.
Baking Soda, Peppermint Extract and Glycerin. The mixture of these three creates fresh tasting toothpaste. Mix 3 teaspoons of vegetable glycerin with a few drops of peppermint oil to start with. Add in 1/2 teaspoon of salt along with 5 teaspoons of baking soda. Mix the ingredients completely. Apply to toothbrush, brush for two minutes and rinse thoroughly.
Baking Soda and Lemon Juice or Lime Juice. Citric acid in these fruits is an effective bleaching agent. Mix half a teaspoon of baking soda with half a teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice. Brush your teeth and leave the mixture for about a minute before rinsing thoroughly. Most dentists do not recommend this method because the corrosive properties of the citric acid damage the teeth.
Interested in more DIY teeth whitening methods? Make sure you read our article on DIY teeth whitening tips.
Precautions and Concerns for Brushing Teeth with Baking Soda
The use of baking soda for brushing your teeth is not without risks.
- Avoid brushing your gums because it could result in burning sensation and bleeding. Baking soda for teeth is not recommended to those who experienced pain and bloody gums while brushing with baking soda. After brushing your teeth, it is advisable to use mouthwash or brush again with your desired toothpaste to remove aftertaste. You can also use electric toothbrush for effective and faster brushing.
- The abrasive properties of baking soda can cause excessive wear and damage to the enamel of your teeth resulting in sensitivity and increased risk for developing cavities.
- Baking soda aids in removing plaque, but does not kill any bacteria thus contributing to an increase cavity formation in your teeth.
- This is not recommended if you have braces or a permanent retainer as baking soda can weaken or dissolve the orthodontic glue.
- Brushing your teeth too hard may damage your enamel (which is called as abrasion), leading to hypersensitivity.
- Do not use this method too often as permanent damage to the teeth enamel can occur due to abrasion.
Whitening Teeth With Baking Soda – What Is Your Experience?
Baking soda is a wonderful thing, it’s so versatile and easily accessible. But do you find it helpful in whitening your teeth? If you haven’t tried to brush your teeth with baking soda, we encourage you to give it a try! Just make sure you read through this article and pay attention to the potential risk of using baking soda. A baking soda toothpaste might just be what you need to get a whiter teeth!