Baking soda is the common go-to for those who are looking for an economical alternative to toothpaste, a natural way to quickly brighten their teeth or even both. But while the benefits of baking soda largely speak for themselves, there are several ways it can harm your teeth if you're not careful. The following looks at some of the bright and not-so-bright sides of brushing with baking soda.
The Key Ingredient for a Brighter Smile
There's no denying that baking soda offers a variety of benefits when it comes to maintaining excellent dental health:
- Brightens teeth – The biggest benefit of using baking soda lies with its ability to literally scrape away surface particles that create unsightly stains on your teeth. When combined with strawberry, vinegar or hydrogen peroxide, it becomes a powerful brightener that offers excellent results for tackling surface stains.
- Neutralizes acid – Baking soda is also surprisingly effective at neutralizing the strong acids and bases that could potentially damage your enamel and create cavities. Baking soda itself acts as a weak base that counteracts and neutralizes acids commonly found in a variety of juices, sodas and other popular foods and beverages.
- Removes plague - The abrasive cleaning action of baking soda also makes it an ideal tool for removing stubborn plaque buildup. It also offers deeper cleaning action than most mainstream toothpastes.
How It Can Hurt Your Teeth
Baking soda can do wonders for keeping your teeth bright and healthy. Unfortunately, the same ingredient that offers a beautiful smile can also wreak havoc on your teeth if you're not careful.
Remember that baking soda is abrasive, which of course explains how it's able to remove surface stains on enamel so effectively. Using too much baking soda too frequently can wear away that protective enamel, leaving your teeth exposed to dental cavities. To make matters worse, this damage is irreversible through natural means and only your dentist can help you repair the damage if it's gone on for too long.
If you wear braces, then you should definitely steer clear of baking soda. It has a tendency to dissolve orthodontic glue, which could cause your braces the fallout and leave permanent stains in the process.
Last but not least, baking soda does little to control bacteria that often cause bad breath. If you're using baking soda exclusively, that you should probably follow it up with mouthwash just to be on the safe side. It not only eliminates bad breath-causing bacteria, but it can also work hand-in-hand with baking soda to fight gum disease.
Take Everything in Moderation
As with everything else in life, brushing with baking soda should be taken in moderation. It shouldn't replace brushing with toothpaste, but it can be used as an affordable supplement to help boost your teeth's brightness. Just keep in mind that constant brushing with baking soda can be more harmful than helpful when it comes to tooth care.
There are also plenty of toothpastes on the market that include baking soda in a much less abrasive form. If you're a heavy tobacco user or coffee drinker, you can use these products to gently lift those stains in lieu of baking soda.
Consult with Your Dentist
Keep in mind that baking soda is no substitute for professional teeth whitening. Baking soda only deals with surface stains, whereas your dentist has the tools and expertise to deal with deeply-set stains that are prove nearly impossible to deal with using over-the-counter or homemade remedies.
If you have any questions about brushing with baking soda, then now is the time to ask your dentist. A quick consultation may help you find the right answers when it comes to taking care of your teeth with baking soda.