The Truth About Baking Soda as Toothpaste
Baking soda has a wide variety of uses such as baking, deodorizing, and many homemade remedies including toothpaste. Different articles have been released over time that claim varying things about baking soda. Some say it's too abrasive and should never be used as toothpaste, whereas others say it's one of the best products you can use! After researching and discussing the details with the doctor's at Dental BLU, we are writing this blog to tell you everything you could ever want to know about using baking soda as toothpaste!
Abrasiveness is the capability of a substance to polish a hard surface by rubbing or grinding. We want the toothpaste we use to be abrasive enough to brush away the stains and bacteria that sit on our teeth, but not abrasive enough to scrub away our enamel itself. Enamel, the hard mineralized surface of the tooth, cannot be regrown or replaced once damaged, so it is important to protect it from toothpaste that is too abrasive. Abrasiveness should not be confused with hardness. For instance, Dr. Rod Kurthy (Founder and CEO of Evolve Dental Technologies) compares your tooth and toothpaste to a diamond and glass. Although both feel very hard, a diamond will easily scratch glass. We attribute this to the Mohs Hardness Scale. Glass is rated a 5 whereas a diamond is rated a 10, therefore the diamond is capable of scratching the softer material, glass. This is similar to baking soda and your teeth. Baking soda feels very hard and gritty; the little pieces have rigid edges that feel rough in your mouth. It seems like this baking soda would damage your teeth. However, on Mohs Hardness of materials scale, tooth enamel is rated a 5 whereas baking soda is rated 2.5. Since baking soda is the softer material, it is not considered very abrasive and it will not harm tooth enamel! The American Dental Association studied Relative Dentin Abrasiveness to determine abrasiveness of various toothpastes. The scale used below shows the low-harmful levels of abrasiveness.
Low RDA is 0-70
Medium RDA is 70-100
High RDA is 100-150
Harmful RDA is 150-250
The chart below shows the RDA of many common types of toothpaste. Notice that baking soda is only listed at 7, meaning that it is extremely low and therefore a safe, low-abrasive material to use in place of abrasive toothpaste! Look through this chart to see what toothpaste you're using to determine if you should make the switch to lower RDA toothpaste!
Using Baking Soda as Toothpaste
When using baking soda as toothpaste Dr. Depp recommends putting baking soda in a small dish or shot glass, wetting your toothbrush and dipping it in the baking soda, making a thick paste, and then brushing like normal. This thick paste will scrub away stains and bacteria. Baking soda is a great alternative to regular toothpaste for people who are worried about scrubbing away their enamel with abrasive paste, however it should be noted that baking soda does not have fluoride in it, which is important to protect your teeth from cavities. It also does not have the fresh minty taste that many types of toothpaste have, making it less desirable when someone wants fresh-tasting, minty breath!
It is important to be cautious when reading online toothpaste remedies that involve baking soda. A common misconception is that if you mix baking soda with apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, or other acidic substances that it becomes a great tooth whitener but this is incorrect. Acidic materials such as these will harm your teeth more than help them. Acid will eat away at the tooth enamel, softening your teeth and allowing the baking soda to erode away even more of the structure of your teeth causing many more problems like cavities. Harmful combinations with acids like these should not be used. Plain baking soda and water does a fine job at scrubbing away stains and spots. Instead of using a homemade whitening remedy that could be dangerous, if you're looking to have a whiter smile, we offer a variety of whitening options at Dental BLU – call our office to schedule a consultation!
Baking soda is a great product with many uses and we love when our patients use this low abrasive toothpaste to protect their enamel! If you have any more questions about abrasiveness, whitening, or which toothpaste to use, please call our office to schedule a visit. We would be happy to help you!