Sodium bicarbonate — aka baking soda — is used by bakers every day because of its leavening properties, meaning that it helps baked goods to rise. Baking soda is also a common ingredient in toothpaste because of its abrasive and alkaline qualities. Both of those qualities may help remove surface stains from teeth. Here is everything you need to know about baking soda and your teeth.
How Baking Soda Affects Your Teeth?
Beyond its physical properties, baking soda is also alkaline. That alkalinity aids in lightening stains placed on your teeth by acidic foods and beverages such as red wine, coffee, and tea. Because baking soda is mildly abrasive, the friction generated by brushing with the soda aids in removing stains from your teeth.
There is one important thing to keep in mind. Baking soda helps remove stains from your teeth’s enamel and, by doing so, may reveal something closer to the natural colour of your enamel. Baking soda is not a bleaching agent. It does not change the colour of your tooth enamel but helps remove stains from the surface of the enamel. Our dentist in Yaletown can offer options for teeth whitening near you that use bleaching compounds, including chairside bleaching in their office.
Is there Any Risk to Using Baking Soda?
Baking soda can be an occasional safe option for brushing teeth. Many people combine baking soda with acidic contents such as vinegar or lemon juice with the objective of whiter and brighter teeth faster. Adding those acidic contents is potentially harmful.
Damaged enamel increases the risk of sensitive teeth and developing cavities. Acidic contents can damage the enamel on your teeth, not just help to remove stains from the enamel. The combination of sodium bicarbonate and acidic ingredients also runs the risk of irritating your gums.
Baking soda can be a reasonable home remedy for stained teeth if used without adding any acidic ingredients and once per week.
If you wear braces with brackets, an orthodontic retainer, or a permanent retainer, brushing with baking soda is inappropriate. The baking soda can weaken the glue used in such products.
How to Use Baking Soda Safely?
To use baking soda safely to remove stains from teeth:
1. Make a paste by combining water and baking soda
2. Apply that paste to your teeth using a toothbrush as you otherwise would.
3. Brush all surfaces of all teeth, then empty and rinse your mouth thoroughly to remove any remaining baking soda.
As you use baking soda to remove stains from your enamel, remember that it does not contain fluoride, meaning its usefulness is limited. Baking soda paste will not clean your teeth in the same way that fluoride toothpaste will. This means that baking soda is not an alternative to brushing with fluoride toothpaste, attending regular dental checkups, attending annual professional teeth cleanings, and even pursuing options for professional teeth whitening in Yaletown.
Having cleaner, whiter, and brighter teeth is a common and understandable cosmetic dentistry goal. The urge to use home remedies such as baking soda to achieve that goal is understandable and reasonable with caution and care. Several options are on the market for achieving that goal, including over-the-counter options and professional teeth whitening services at our dentist near you. If you have any questions about professional support for achieving your personal cosmetic dentistry goals, contact our dentist near you to ask.