There are many myths and misunderstandings surrounding dentistry and oral health, including the use of baking soda. Some people say that baking soda cleans your teeth and is even an excellent whitener, while others argue that this is not the case.
As you take a closer look, you will see that baking soda can be part of your overall oral health routine, but it should not make up any significant component. From whitening to toothpaste, there are much better options than using baking soda.
Common Claims About Baking Soda and Your Teeth
The two most common claims about baking soda are that it can help you clean your teeth or prevent plaque and that it can whiten your teeth.
Can Baking Soda Do These Things?
In both cases, the short answer is yes; baking soda can do those things. However, the extremely important caveat is that other methods work much better.
In brushing your teeth, baking soda can clean your teeth fairly well, but fluoride toothpaste will protect them from cavities better.
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In the case of whitening, baking soda can produce mediocre effects that don’t last long. You will notice much better and longer-lasting effects from in-office professional teeth whitening.
How Baking Soda Is Good for Your Mouth (Pros or Advantages)
To get a better understanding of baking soda and your oral health, take a look at some of the benefits that it can provide.
Easily Available and Affordable
Part of the appeal of baking soda for your oral health is that it is affordable and available everywhere. Most people have some in their homes, and you can buy it at most grocery stores and pharmacies.
Reducing Gingivitis and Plaque
Baking soda can help with one of the most important aspects of oral health – reducing plaque. To understand how, remember that plaque is a type of dental biofilm, and biofilms are bacterial colonies that sit on your teeth.
If you choose to brush with baking soda, the individual grains of the baking soda will disrupt the bacterial biofilm. This reduces the amount of bacteria present. That, in turn, prevents damage to your gums and teeth.
Reducing Harmful Bacteria
Using baking soda may also reduce other harmful bacteria. Specifically, it affects the harmful bacteria that require acidic conditions. In 2017, researchers found that rinsing your mouth with water and baking soda makes your mouth less acidic. The result is that baking soda may reduce how hospitable your mouth is to bacteria, decreasing their numbers.
One of the advantages of baking soda is that it is a natural whitener. It can also help reduce stains, thanks to its mildly abrasive properties.
Safe for Those Who Can’t Use Fluoride
Fluoride is a crucial part of modern dentistry, but experts know that it has to be used in moderation. Few adults will have to worry about fluoride toxicity. Even so, if you cannot have fluoride for some reason, baking soda offers an alternative.
How Baking Soda Is Bad for Your Mouth (Cons or Disadvantages)
In addition to not being as effective as certain other dental treatments, like fluoride toothpaste, baking soda also has some negative effects on your mouth and other disadvantages.
Unpleasant to Use
Whether you use baking soda or a paste made out of it, you will likely notice that it is unpleasant to use. The taste is not good and on top of that, using it usually feels like there is sand in your teeth.
It Is Not As Effective As Whitening
If you are thinking of using baking soda to whiten your teeth, it will be less effective. This is why the American Dental Association rates it low as a whitener for your teeth. It simply is unlikely to get rid of stains as well as many other products. If you want to whiten your teeth, you will always get the best results from professional whitening at Dr. Sharma’s office.
The Lack of Fluoride
While the fact that baking soda doesn’t contain fluoride is good for a handful of the population, it is bad for most people. Consuming extra fluoride in your toothpaste is one of the best ways to boost your prevention of tooth decay. Without toothpaste with fluoride, you likely increase your risk of developing cavities.
Perhaps the biggest reason to avoid using baking soda for your teeth is its potential to damage enamel or gums. These are both direct results of its abrasive properties that help clean the teeth. It is not a given that baking soda will be too abrasive for your teeth or gums, but the chances increase if you are not careful.
Definitely Not for Braces
If you have braces, you definitely need to stay away from baking soda. That is because using it over time can soften the dental adhesive used in braces.
What to Do If You Want to Use Baking Soda
If you decide that you want to incorporate baking soda into your dental routine to get the benefits, your best option is to choose toothpaste that contains baking soda. This will eliminate most of the negatives as toothpaste is carefully formulated to be safe for teeth. You can also talk to Dr. Sharma about baking soda in relation to your oral health situation at your next dental appointment.
Better Solutions That Always Improve Your Teeth
Instead of relying on baking soda, you can improve your teeth without the potential downsides by following the dental advice you’ve likely been hearing your whole life. Dr. Sharma recommends brushing twice a day and flossing daily. You should also visit your dental office in Chicago at least twice a year for professional dental cleanings to eliminate the plaque that you cannot remove yourself. Do your best to avoid excessively sweet, sticky, or hard foods. If you notice anything wrong with your teeth or mouth, make an appointment with your dentist to confirm it is nothing serious.