Baking soda, the most versatile substance you will ever find. We are using baking soda at our home, in the science labs of our schools, and in the restaurants you just ordered food from. But using this baking soda in the toothpaste?
Baking soda toothpaste might sound weird to some people, whereas others will find it completely normal. Because baking soda has been used as a toothpaste for a while now and the idea of baking soda toothpaste isn’t too new either.
We expect our teeth to become whiter, cleaner, and better after brushing every day but what if the toothpaste you are using isn’t helping you much? Well, many people use baking soda toothpaste or simply the paste of plain baking soda to brush their teeth.
Some of the trending searches about brushing habits include questions like can we replace our toothpaste with baking soda? Can we use a toothpaste containing baking soda? Is it even okay to use baking soda to clean your teeth?
In this article, I am going to answer all these questions and we will discuss everything about baking soda toothpaste with the help of science, some facts, and doctors’ advice. Let’s first start with understanding baking soda a little better.
What is Baking Soda?
Baking soda is a white powdery leavening agent having numerous everyday uses as we have already discussed. In scientific terms, it is a chemical compound also known as sodium bicarbonate.
This sodium bicarbonate is usually found in crystalline form and later is made into a fine white powder to make it suitable for household use. But that is not all, let us see when and where this baking soda is used.
When and Where Is Baking Soda Used?
The name does suggest that it is used for cooking and it is used in slices of bread and sometimes in rice as a leavening agent to raise the bread and make the rice look slightly fluffy. So yes, it has various uses in cooking.
However, apart from that, baking soda possesses excellent cleaning properties as well as health benefits like whitening teeth and home remedies for heartburn, soothing itchy skin, and many more.
Now that we know some basics of baking soda and all the benefits it can provide, it’s time to find out how the idea of baking soda toothpaste performs in reality and if it comes with any cons or not.
Can I Replace Toothpaste with Baking Soda?
If after researching a little bit and reading articles on baking soda you are thinking about replacing your regular toothpaste with baking soda then you are not alone. Also, the answer is satisfying as well.
Yes, you can replace your regular toothpaste with baking soda and many people have already tried doing so. Baking soda has great anti-bacterial and cleansing properties. Thus, baking soda or any baking soda toothpaste will prevent your teeth from decaying.
However, the grass is not all green. Kinds of toothpaste contain fluoride which helps in protecting teeth from cavities. But the baking soda is not as capable as toothpaste in providing protection against cavities.
So far we know that we can use baking soda instead of regular toothpaste but with some positives and negatives. Therefore, before making any decision, let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of using baking soda instead of toothpaste.
Advantages of Using Baking Soda Instead of Toothpaste
- Baking soda removes plaque better than toothpaste does.
Plaque is a thin film of bacteria that is formed on the surface of the teeth. This film is initially soft and thin and if not removed gets harder. The hard plaque is difficult to remove and if ignored, can decay tooth enamel leading to cavities.
The toothpaste does help in brushing off this sticky layer of bacteria but it is not as effective as baking soda. Baking soda dissolves into the foam a lot quicker and due to the slightly coarse grain size of baking soda, it removes the bacterial film a little better and protects your gums and teeth.
- Alkaline nature of baking soda protects tooth enamel.
As we know, baking soda is basic in nature with a ph. value of 8.3. The bacteria contained in the plaque we discussed above produces the acidic film. This acidic film can make your tooth enamel weak and possibly erode them.
Baking soda being basic in nature helps in neutralizing this acid produced by plaque bacteria and thus prevents your teeth’ enamel from eroding. If you are using anything other than baking soda toothpaste then those toothpastes may not contain the same level of basic ph. nature.
- Baking soda whitens teeth gently.
One of the main objectives of using baking soda toothpaste or any other toothpaste is for whiter teeth. Most toothpastes whiten your teeth but at the cost of scrubbing away tooth enamel. Whereas, baking soda or baking soda toothpaste naturally makes your teeth look whiter.
Studies show that baking soda has the capability of removing stains from the surface of teeth and thus provides whiter teeth and a brighter smile.
- Baking soda is less abrasive.
Abrasiveness is a property of a substance to polish a hard surface by the action of rubbing or grinding. For brushing our teeth, we want our toothpaste to be abrasive enough to scrub away bacteria and stains from the surface of teeth.
Ordinary toothpaste can be abrasive excessively which can damage and brush away enamel on teeth. The enamel is a coating over teeth that can’t be regenerated once gone. Therefore, using any toothpaste that will scrub off this enamel layer is not advised.
Baking soda is less abrasive therefore baking soda toothpaste will provide abrasiveness enough to not only brush off bacteria from teeth but also it will protect the enamel coating on teeth.
- Baking soda toothpaste is not toxic.
Almost every toothpaste contains fluoride in it and it is added to prevent tooth decay. However, excess amounts of fluoride can lead to fluoride toxicity in some rare cases. Children of age 6 years or below are more prone to fluoride toxicity.
Therefore, if you are looking for a fluoride-free alternative to toothpaste, you can simply use baking soda which will avoid any problems related to fluoride toxicity like pain, diarrhoea, vomiting, etc. as it does not contain fluorine.
- Baking soda is cheap.
If all the above mentioned pros of baking soda didn’t impress you then maybe this will do. Baking soda costs just around 50 cents per ounce whereas ordinary toothpaste costs around $6 – $10 on an average.
Also, baking soda is easily available in local grocery stores, general stores, and drug stores. Therefore, you might want to consider baking soda as an alternative to toothpaste. But before that, let’s take a look at some disadvantages too.
Disadvantages of Using Baking Soda Instead of Toothpaste
- Baking soda is not much effective in whitening teeth.
Toothpaste contains various ingredients and chemicals to whiten your teeth better. Whereas, baking soda is a naturally occurring compound. As we have discussed earlier, baking soda is less abrasive as compared to other substances.
Therefore, baking soda does not remove stains on teeth as effectively as other kinds of toothpaste do. However, they do protect tooth enamel from damage as an advantage. Therefore, if you want a better whitening effect, you may have to consider toothpaste containing hydrogen peroxide.
- Taste of baking soda is not as good as what other toothpastes offer.
Toothpaste contains various flavoring agents to give you a better experience while brushing teeth but the baking soda is pure and does not contain any additives to improve the taste. Hence, you may not enjoy brushing your teeth with baking soda until you get used to its taste.
The texture and feel of baking soda are not great either. Due to the grainy paste of baking soda, you can feel small particles while brushing which is not the case with the complete paste form of toothpaste.
- Absence of fluoride
We earlier discussed that excess fluoride can cause fluoride toxicity in children of age 6 years or below. However, fluoride in a controlled amount is necessary to provide protection against dental cavities.
Ordinary toothpaste does contain fluoride in certain amounts which prevents your teeth from cavities but you will be missing out on fluoride if you prefer plain baking soda to brush your teeth instead of regular toothpaste.
Now that we have discussed the advantages as well as disadvantages of baking soda as a toothpaste, we know that baking soda can offer some amazing benefits to us but it can be quite tough to replace it with toothpaste right away.
Well, in that case, how about combining the benefits of baking soda and the benefits of regular toothpaste together?
Best of Both | Baking Soda Toothpaste
Both baking soda and ordinary toothpaste have their own sets of benefits. Baking soda is a great alkaline compound that neutralizes the acidic film of bacteria on teeth, it is a plain chemical-free alternative and has the ability to keep teeth healthy.
On the other hand, we have been using ordinary toothpaste since forever and we are used to its paste form and of course its taste. Straight away giving up on toothpaste may not be possible for everyone.
For them, there is baking soda toothpaste available in the market. By using baking soda toothpaste, you will be able to get all the proven benefits of baking soda in the form of a toothpaste.
Baking soda toothpaste provides 5 times better protection against plaque than any other toothpaste. Also, being alkaline in nature, it neutralizes acid well and protects tooth enamel. It can whiten your teeth gently but only to a certain extent.
Using Baking Soda for Brushing Teeth Instead Of Toothpaste
Now that we have discussed everything related to using baking soda for brushing teeth if you have made your decision to bring baking soda in your daily brushing routine but you don’t want to use a baking soda toothpaste then you can use plain baking soda as a toothpaste.
Here is a step-by-step guide about how to use baking soda as toothpaste.
Alright, first gather around baking soda, a toothbrush, a small dish or shot glass, and some water. Take baking soda into a dish and slowly pour water on it. Mix it well, add water just enough to turn the mixture into a slightly thick paste.
Wet your toothbrush and dip into the thick paste of baking soda and brush your teeth as you usually do. Brush your teeth for around 1 minute. Until then the thick paste of baking soda will remove the stains and bacteria from the tooth surface by scrubbing action.
Once done, spit out the paste and simply rinse your mouth well with water. Avoid using mouthwash right after brushing as it is recommended by the National Health Service (NHS).
Precautions to Follow
Do not add any acidic ingredients to the baking soda and water mixture.
It is often suggested by random online articles to combine apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, or any similar kind of acidic material into the baking soda toothpaste to make your teeth whiter than before.
However, it is not at all recommended by doctors to do so as the acidic nature of these substances will damage the tooth enamel making your teeth softer. After which, baking soda itself will begin to erode your teeth leading to cavities.
Therefore, only use plain baking soda and water paste to brush your teeth and it will work just fine. If you wish for a better whitening effect, there are other teeth whitening products available in the market which you can opt for.
Conclusion | Baking Soda Toothpaste
Baking soda, no doubt, offers great benefits if used as toothpaste. It can definitely be used as a replacement for any other type of toothpaste currently available in store. If you are willing to introduce baking soda into your brushing routine there are two ways to do so.
Either you can choose to make a paste of baking soda and water by yourself and straightaway use it as a toothpaste, or you can choose to use baking soda toothpaste which provides benefits of both regular toothpaste and baking soda in a single package.
However, using baking soda toothpaste makes more sense than a plain baking soda paste as baking soda toothpaste contains all the basic ingredients required to keep your teeth healthy like fluorine.