Baking soda as a toothpaste, used both for cleaning and whitening, has been around for a long time and is very popular. But is it a good, effective cleaner and whitener? Your Fuquay-Varina dentist, Dr. Mike Hamby, is a great resource when you are doing your research about teeth cleaners and whiteners. Because of its popularity, we thought it would be helpful to take a look at the use of baking soda for its safety, efficacy, pros, and cons for both cleaning and whitening teeth.
Baking Soda for Teeth Cleaning
Currently trending is the use of household items that are less commercial, that hearken back to a simpler time. Activities like gardening, sewing, and baking are seeing a huge surge. One reason may be the COVID-19 pandemic because everyone is staying home and buying less. Another reason is people are looking for natural products that don’t have certain potentially harmful ingredients like sulfates and triclosan.
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is a fine, white powder with many household uses including baking and cleaning, and it has been utilized for a very long time as a toothpaste. It works as a cleaning agent for your teeth; however, it does not protect your teeth from cavities as toothpaste with fluoride can. Because of its abrasiveness, baking soda can remove the biofilm of bacteria that causes plaque and conditions like gingivitis, but it can also damage your enamel. Additionally, by raising the pH, the inside of your mouth is less acidic and less hospitable for bacteria to grow.
Baking Soda for Teeth Whitening
Throughout the ages, people have tried to get whiter teeth. The practice of teeth whitening began around 4,000 years ago with the ancient Egyptians creating a whitening paste using ground pumice stone mixed in wine vinegar. Even then, white teeth were a sign of beauty and wealth.
You look younger, healthier, and more attractive with white teeth. However, getting and keeping white teeth is an ongoing endeavor because so much of what we drink and eat stains our teeth. Teeth whitening gels and creams are very popular today but are relatively new, with the first trays and gels gaining popularity in the 1980s. For a long time, people have commonly used baking soda to remove stains from teeth. But does it really whiten teeth?
Actually, baking soda can be effective at removing some surface stains on your teeth. However, it is abrasive and can damage your enamel over time with continued use. If you want to remove deeper, older stains on your teeth, baking soda will not be as effective as a product that is specifically created for whitening teeth. You should consult with a dental professional, like Dr. Mike Hamby at Hamby Family Dental Center, for whitening options that are safer and more effective.
Pros and Cons
Some of the benefits of brushing your teeth with baking soda include:
- Reduces plaque and gingivitis – The granular nature of baking soda disrupts the biofilm of bacteria attached to the surface of your teeth.
- May reduce bacteria – Baking soda raises the pH in your mouth, making it less acidic and more difficult for bacteria to thrive.
- Fluoride-free – Though rare, too much fluoride can be toxic, especially for children younger than 6 years old.
- Inexpensive – At 52 cents an ounce (thereabout), baking soda is affordable and easy to access at drugstores and grocery stores.
These may be disadvantages of using baking soda for brushing your teeth:
- Less than appealing taste and texture – The taste of baking soda is not very good and the texture is grainy like sand.
- Abrasive – The grittiness can wear down the tooth enamel over time.
- Time-consuming – Making the paste takes time and can be messy.
- Less whitening – Baking soda is a mild abrasive so it can remove some surface stains but not as effectively as more commercial products.
- Lack of fluoride – Toothpastes that are approved by the Amerian Dental Association (ADA) contain fluoride to prevent dental cavities. Because baking soda does not contain fluoride, it doesn’t give you the cavity protection you need and shouldn’t be used as your only toothpaste.
See Us for Teeth Whitening!
At Hamby Family Dental, we are experienced in whitening your teeth to achieve a healthy, youthful look. Dr. Hamby has a terrific whitening solution for patients and, right now, it’s on sale for $195 (normally $380) through the holidays!
Use the form below or call (919) 552-2431 to request your appointment.