Many of us want whiter and healthier teeth – and there are a lot of products on the market that claim to have the solution. With so many alternatives to teeth whitening, it can be hard to know which ones are safe and which ones aren’t. One alternative that has the internet buzzing is baking soda. Generally, it is safe to use baking soda to brush your teeth. In fact, it’s often used as an ingredient in toothpaste because it helps fight cavities and gum disease. Below we list some of the pros and cons of using baking soda as toothpaste.
Baking Soda Advantages for Your Teeth
Because baking soda is mildly abrasive, using it to brush your teeth can help remove plaque as well as stains. Pure baking soda has an RDA (relative dentin abrasivity) of only 7, which is very low. Mixed with water and applied with a soft-bristled toothbrush, it won’t damage your tooth enamel as long as you brush gently.
Baking soda not only kills bacteria, but it also neutralizes acids, making it a great defense against cavities. Acid attacks from the bacteria that form plaque gradually wear down your tooth enamel and cause cavities. But baking soda can help you destroy plaque and prevent cavities.
Prevents Gum Disease
By reducing plaque and fighting inflammation, baking soda can also help protect against gum disease. Periodontitis (gum disease) is the number one cause of tooth loss, and it starts with inflammation. If you have red, swollen, or bleeding gums from gingivitis, brushing with baking soda could help you reverse the damage.
The Flip Side of Baking Soda
The main disadvantage of using baking soda to brush your teeth is that it doesn’t contain any fluoride. Because fluoride is one of the most important minerals for strengthening tooth enamel, it’s added to most brands of toothpaste. Without fluoride, your teeth will not get enough protection against cavities.
Baking soda doesn’t have the minty-fresh flavor of toothpaste. If the salty taste of baking soda makes you want to avoid brushing your teeth or brush more quickly to get it over with, then it’s probably not a good option for you. It’s better to go with toothpaste that tastes good if it keeps you brushing regularly.
Mixing up your own toothpaste can be a bit of a hassle—it’s definitely not as easy as squeezing a tube. If you want to save a little time and avoid a little mess, sticking with toothpaste is the way to go.
The Best of Both Worlds
To get all the benefits of baking soda along with the protective power of fluoride, you can simply use baking soda toothpaste with fluoride. Or you can alternate using toothpaste and baking soda, brushing with one in the morning and the other at night.
Whether you’re using toothpaste or baking soda, the most important thing to remember is to brush your teeth gently and thoroughly at least twice a day. Plaque can start building up in 24 hours or less, so regular brushing is the best protection against cavities and gum disease.
Professional Teeth Cleaning and Whitening in San Antonio, TX
However you brush, don’t forget to schedule regular dental cleanings! A dental hygienist has the tools and training to remove the plaque that brushing and flossing can’t reach. Visiting the dentist once every six months for a cleaning and exam will help you keep your teeth and gums healthy.