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We've all heard about the versatility of baking soda, and how it's used as a natural cleanser. Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is popularly used to clean paint, neutralize odors from books, remove pesticides from vegetables, leavening in baking, etc. But, have you tried brushing your teeth with baking soda? Several folks have tried brushing their teeth with baking soda; to clean and whiten their teeth. Sounds bizarre, isn't it! But, it's true!
What is Baking Soda and How does it Work?
Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is a white, crystalline, slightly alkaline powder that bears semblance to washing soda. This weakly alkaline baking soda, when dissolved in water, releases free radicals. When baking soda-water mixture is put into the mouth, the free radicals from the mixture interact with the stain molecules on the teeth enamel (outer layer of the teeth) and scrape off the yellow and brown stains on the teeth. Thus, baking soda breaks down the discoloration of the teeth, thereby brightening and whitening the teeth that have been built up from drinking tea, coffee, colas, chewing tobacco and smoking.
Benefits of Brushing Teeth with Baking Soda
Besides scraping off the stains on the teeth conduced by consumption of beverages like coffee, tea, etc. baking soda also removes plaque from the teeth. Plaque removal prevents the teeth from decaying and also freshens the breath. Moreover, the aspect about baking powder that makes it so popular is its affordability. Baking soda is one of the cheapest commercial teeth whiteners present in the market today. One box of baking soda costs somewhere near a dollar, and this one box can be used for over a hundred brushings. Overall, brushing with baking soda is believed to enhance dental health.
Brushing with Baking Soda : Steps and Guidelines
Baking soda can be used for brushing teeth in various ways. Let us check out the different ways in which the teeth can be whitened using baking soda.
Baking Soda in the Powder Form
In this method, just wet the toothbrush properly in some cold water and dip it into the baking soda. Moistening the brush helps the baking soda stick to the bristles. Make sure all the bristles are sheathed by the powder (the toothbrush will appear white). Brush your teeth for 2 minutes and then rinse your mouth with clean water. Sometimes, brushing your teeth with baking soda conduces to a burning feeling or tingling sensation. However, if it burns a lot, stop brushing immediately and rinse your mouth.
Baking Soda and Vinegar
Add a pinch of salt and few drops of white vinegar to the baking soda, dissolved in some water. Dip the bristles in the mixture and brush gently. After brushing with the baking soda paste, brush with regular toothpaste.
Baking Soda and Toothpaste
A small amount of baking soda can be mixed with a little toothpaste and water. Mix these substances together to form a nice paste. Then brush your teeth with this paste. Rinse after 2 minutes of brushing. Or else, you can sprinkle some baking soda onto the paste laden toothbrush and brush away.
Baking Soda and Strawberry
Strawberries are also known for their teeth whitening properties. Thus, a combination of strawberry and baking soda is sure to work. For this remedy you require one fresh, ripe strawberry and baking soda. Once the strawberry has been mashed into a pulp, mix a little baking soda into it and form a uniform paste. Dip your toothbrush into the paste and brush for 2 minutes. Rinse well.
Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide
One controversial method of whitening teeth is by dipping the toothbrush in hydrogen peroxide, before dipping it in baking soda. This is supposed to impart a better whitening effect. You can also brush with a paste of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide.
Irrespective of the method chosen, it is important to note that one must not brush one's teeth, with baking soda more than twice a week. Moreover, very gentle, 2 minute brushing is required. Brushing for too long has bitter consequences.
Is Brushing Teeth with Baking Soda Bad?
Now that we have read how baking soda is used to brighten the teeth, the million dollar question, 'is brushing teeth with baking soda safe for us' will also emanate. Baking soda, though claimed by many as the most popular and safest DIY natural teeth whitening agent, is not as safe as it looks. Swallowing this powder is not deleterious to health. However, baking soda works by oxidizing the stains present on the teeth enamel. This is slightly dangerous! Baking soda is abrasive in nature and chronic use of it can cause damage to the enamel coating on the teeth. Teeth enamel will wear off, making the teeth sensitive and vulnerable to cavities. Thus, chronic use of baking soda can cause permanent damage to the teeth. Moreover, baking soda doesn't kill bacteria present in the mouth, thus, after brushing with baking soda, one has to brush with toothpaste to prevent cavities. Moreover, those who have braces or wear permanent retainers should not use baking soda, as the brackets can fall off, leaving darker spots.
Baking soda is an effective bleaching agent, however, brushing teeth with baking soda regularly is not a good idea. Try using specific toothpaste brands containing milder abrasives as compared to baking soda. This way, you won't have to worry about your enamel being worn off! Ultimately, the choice to use baking soda to brush your teeth is entirely yours!