Baking soda or sodium bi-carbonate is a common fixture in every kitchen across the world. Majorly used for baking, cooking and cleaning purposes, the baking soda is also used as a popular alternative for brushing your teeth. So much so that multiple toothpaste companies have started including baking soda as one of the components in their toothpastes. Baking soda works as an excellent agent against plaque formation by tea, coffee, tobacco thereby lending you those shiny pearly whites. But is it really all pros and no cons?When baking soda comes in contact with water it forms an alkaline solution, which releases free radicals that facilitate teeth whitening. There are other benefits of brushing teeth with baking soda apart from just a brighter smile. By attacking the plaque formation its prevents dental decay, cavity formation and gum diseases to a very large extent. It also fights bad breath by balancing the acidic levels of residual food. Further, it also helps in treating painful mouth ulcers. The alkaline combination of baking soda and water neutralizes the acidic nature of the ulcer, and allowing you to enjoy your food in peace. However, brushing with baking soda has its own share of risks as well:1. Not as well packaged as toothpaste: It's messy. Brushing teeth with baking soda may be inexpensive, but it's certainly not neat. Baking soda manufacturers have not mastered the handy packaging you find among most toothpastes.(4 Natural Home Remedies for Toothache)
2. Not enough to fight cavities: Experts suggest that baking soda isn't capable in itself to fight the plaque as it lacks the ability to kill bacteria which would eventually add to the plaque formation. It also lacks the adequate amount of fluoride that is required to prevent cavities. 3. Can damage enamel: If not used in correct proportion baking soda can even end up damaging your tooth enamel and lead to tooth decay.4. Can cause damage to gums: Just as excess of it can wear off your enamel, similarly if not used consciously baking soda's abrasive properties can cause problem for gums.5. Not good for dental glue: Repeated usage of baking soda can soften the adhesive used to hold the braces and similar retainers, and also leave dark spots. Therefore, people using braces are advised to keep away from it. 6. It is gritty and leaves an uncomfortable after-taste: It feels gritty and does not have the best of taste. In order to prevent the after-taste experts suggest mixing baking soda with your toothpaste, or trying it in combination with other flavours like peppermint, glycerine or strawberry.Majority of the above problems should arise only if baking soda is not used with enough discretion. The following tips would help you get maximum benefits of brushing your teeth with baking soda.1. Change your style of brushing: Majority of people start brushing with a particular side, in case of right handed people it is usually the upper-left side of your jaw-line. Baking soda is gritty and if not applied evenly with water there are chances of certain sections of your jaw receiving excess grit thereby weakening the enamel and gum tissue of the surrounding area.(This Popular Remedy for Whiter Teeth Might be Ineffective)
2. Mix and match: Baking soda can prove to be an excellent tool against plaque formation when used along with some of these substances apart from the usual water and salt.
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- Baking Soda and Lemon Juice or Vinegar: Lemon consists of excellent bleaching abilities. You can mix lemon juice or vinegar with baking soda and let it sit for two-three minutes before rinsing it with cold water. In case of vinegar, you can brush your teeth with regular toothpaste to get rid of the taste of vinegar.
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- Baking Soda and Peppermint Extract: To combat that weird after-taste, you can mix it with a hint of peppermint extract for an exciting flavor.
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- Baking Soda with Strawberry: Strawberry is known to have high oxidizing properties, You can use the pulp of one whole strawberry and make a paste of it with baking soda, and apply it on to your teeth, this would give you whiter teeth.
Use it consciously: Scrubbing your teeth vigorously with baking soda can cause damage to the tooth. It is advisable to brush your teeth with baking soda not more than a few times in a week. And when you do use it to brush your teeth, don't let it sit on your teeth for more than two minutes.
(Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.)