Quick show of hands – which of you had to do a double take when you read the title of today’s blog post? Could baking soda, the same stuff we use to prevent our fridges from smelling like neglected cucumber really be a secret weapon within our oral health arsenal? The answer it seems is a resounding yes! The simple truth of the matter is this simple white powder that is readily available at your local grocery store for less than a chocolate bar is an excellent addition to your brushing routine for a myriad of reasons.
Chief among these reasons is its ability to reduce the visible appearance of stains. Baking soda can also reduce the amount of built up plaque while also protecting your mouth by raising its pH balance, thereby offsetting cavity causing acidity released by bacteria in your mouth. If that wasn’t enough, it also can counter bad breath, making it a well rounded dental agent. If this sounds too good to be true, allow us to drop some knowledge on baking soda – a dental secret weapon.
What is Baking Soda?
Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is a chemical compound that is crystalline in nature and solid white in colour. Used primarily as a cooking agent in baking to soften and lighten baked goods, it is alkaline in nature and has a salty taste. It is also widely used as a cleaning agent in concert with water in the form of an abrasive paste as well as an odour absorbing agent. Last but not least, baking soda has been used as a tooth cleaning agent for well over 150 years and remains an active ingredient in several tooth pastes and mouthwashes.
How Does it Work?
Baking soda is an amphoteric mild base, meaning that it reacts with acids as well as other bases. This trait makes it an ideal means of neutralizing the acid produced by cavity causing bacteria thereby protecting your teeth. When mixed with water, the slightly abrasive combination also gently scrubs the surface of your teeth while oxidizing the built up surface stains and plaque, removing both gently and effectively. Baking soda is safe in terms of how abrasive it is, registering a Relative Dentin Abrasiveness (RDA) score of 7 out of 200. Due to how easily it dissolves in water, the sodium bicarbonate is better able to treat and scrub the harder to reach areas and crevices your teeth have to offer. To a greater extent, including baking soda in your dental regime will ensure you keep the pH balance in your mouth high or non-acidic which protects your teeth and enamel over time. Its odour absorbing qualities also freshens your breath and mouth naturally.
Brushing with Baking Soda
Baking soda can be used with water in the form of a paste or in combination with your regular toothpaste to whiten and clean your teeth. Whichever option you elect to use, proceed as follows:
Pour a small amount of baking soda (2-3 tablespoons) into a small clean bowl.
Run your toothbrush under running water to dampen the bristles. If you elect to use toothpaste along with the baking soda, apply an even line of your regular toothpaste on the brush bristles.
Whether with toothpaste or otherwise, dip your bristles into the baking soda allowing as much of it to stick as possible.
Begin to brush your teeth for 2-3 minutes. Begin with the biting surfaces of your teeth moving from one tooth to the next methodically using small circles to scrub your teeth and gum line. The baking soda along with your saliva will form a creamy paste like mixture that will be easy to brush your teeth with.
Be sure to brush your tongue with the baking soda as well as it serves as prime real estate for many of the bacteria in your mouth.
After your 2-3 minutes of brushing your teeth and gums, rinse your mouth with water or water with a splash of mouthwash if you dislike the slightly salty taste and after taste of the baking soda.
Adding baking soda to your oral hygiene arsenal will allow you to more effectively clean, whiten and protect your teeth. If you would rather not create a mixture yourself, opt for toothpastes or mouthwashes that contain baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) in their ingredient list.
Image: Beauty Geek