Dental Care 101: Is Pure Baking Soda Okay to Use Regularly as an Alternative to Toothpaste?

May 27, 2021

Sodium Bicarbonate, or baking soda as it’s more commonly known, was first discovered in 1846 and was used as a yeast substitute for breadmaking. Eventually, it became an ingredient in tooth powders, which were used to clean teeth before the invention of toothpaste. Today, toothpaste usually contains other mild abrasive ingredients, but you can still find a few varieties of baking soda toothpaste. Some people even choose to use pure baking soda instead of toothpaste! Hundreds of years of history have established that baking soda is effective for cleaning teeth, but is it safe to use every day as an alternative to toothpaste? Read on to find out!

How Does Baking Soda Clean Teeth?

Every tooth cleaning product since ancient times has primarily relied on abrasive powders to scrub and remove plaque from the teeth. Throughout history, these ingredients have included burnt eggshells, ox hoof ashes, and crushed oyster shells. Baking soda works in the same way as these ancient abrasives, but it’s a bit gentler on your teeth and gums. 

When compared to modern toothpaste, baking soda is significantly less abrasive. While that may seem like a negative, using a less abrasive product can protect the tooth enamel and gum tissue from being damaged. In addition, baking soda creates an alkaline environment in your mouth that can hinder the growth of bacteria.

Is Baking Soda Safe to Use as Toothpaste Every Day?

There are many reasons why people choose to use baking soda instead of toothpaste. Commercial toothpaste can contain ingredients like soap, fluoride, and powerful abrasives that some would rather avoid. If you’re looking for a simple tooth-cleaning solution that’s free of added ingredients, baking soda would certainly accomplish that. It’s also significantly more affordable than toothpaste.

The short answer is that, yes, the American Dental Association considers baking soda safe to use every day as a tooth cleaning product, although it should be noted that it will not protect your teeth from cavities as effectively as toothpaste that contains fluoride, and it does not whiten teeth as well as commercial toothpaste. The taste of baking soda is also pretty unpleasant and the texture can make it feel like you have sand in your mouth. While little can be done about the texture, some people choose to add peppermint oil or other flavorings to make their homemade solutions taste more like commercial toothpaste.

If you want to make your baking soda toothpaste, it’s very simple. All you have to do is mix baking soda with a small amount of water and add a few drops of flavoring if you wish. Of course, if you do want to make the switch to baking soda, it’s a good idea to make sure you regularly get fluoride treatments at your dentist. If you live in the Chicago area, American Dental has 7 convenient locations for all your oral health needs, including routine checkups, fluoride treatments, emergency dentistry, cosmetic dentistry in Chicago, and more. Click the “make an appointment” button or call (773) 692-5928 to find the location nearest you and make your appointment today!

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