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Baking Soda and Oral Health

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

Sodium bicarbonate (chemical formula NaHCO3), more commonly known as baking soda or bicarbonate of soda, is a naturally occurring substance in the human body.

In addition to its many well known uses for household and deodorizing purposes, baking soda has also been recommended for use in soaking baths and mouth rinses. It is helpful in removing poisons from the body and for chelating ionizing radiation. It has also been shown to kill off harmful bacteria by creating an alkaline environment. Taken orally or by injection, it has even been credited with treatingcancer and destroying tumors.

Among other important functions that it fulfills, bicarbonate in the mouth buffers & neutralizes plaque acids (a major cause of tooth decay), kills germs (helping to heal periodontal infections), and destroys unpleasant odors, thus helping to eliminate bad breath.

Sodium bicarbonate tends to maintain a pH of 8.1 (7 is neutral) even when acids (which have lower pH) or bases (which have higher pH) are added to the solution. This is good to know, in light of the fact that most people have acidic saliva contributing to cavities and gum disease. In other words, sodium bicarbonate should raise any saliva pH that is lower than 8 which will contribute to better dental health. (see our blog on Saliva pH)

Additionally, sodium bicarbonate, due to its slightly abrasive consistency, works as a mechanical cleanser of teeth and gums. And this may explain why Julia Roberts has the famous beautiful smile. "I brush [my teeth] with baking soda. [My grandfather] would put a big heaping mound of it on his toothbrush. He had only one cavity in his entire life." (https/ )

With its high pH and disinfectant and antiseptic properties, rinsing or brushing your teeth with a baking soda solution is likely to reduce the amount of harmful oral bacteria by killing off acid-loving flora and alkalizing your mouth.

For oral purposes, here are some easy ways to use it:

• As a toothpaste: Wet toothbrush and dip bristles in baking soda to brush your teeth. If you have sensitive teeth or need a different flavor, mix baking soda with your regular toothpaste or coconut oil or peppermint essential oil to brush.

• As a mouth rinse: Gargle with half a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with water to kill bad breath (this mix also relieves canker sores).

• For gum infections: Mix baking soda with hydrogen peroxide to make a paste. Use instead of toothpaste. Avoid using hydrogen peroxide if you have silver mercury fillings. They will react.

A few words of caution about baking soda should be taken into consideration before using it in any of the above mentioned remedies. As with any procedure, it is always possible to overdo it. If you find that your gums feel dry or abraded after use, you may be using too much baking soda or using it for too long a time in the mouth. It is an alkaline substance and it can burn the gums if overdone. Always ask your dental health provider for guidance before undertaking any new dental protocol.

Also, consult your physician before using baking soda if you have high blood pressure or a heart condition.

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