Is Baking Soda Mouthrinse Safe and Effective?

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A simple baking soda mouthrinse is often recommended for certain oral conditions. While there are many commercial mouthwashes on the market today touting their benefits and effectiveness — whitening, fluoride, antibacterial and enamel-restoring — baking soda mouthrinses are not as common. If you found one or made it at home, would a baking soda mouthwash be safe and effective for daily use?

The Oral History of Baking Soda

Toothpastes containing baking soda have been around for more than 100 years, according to a supplement in The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA). The JADA roundup features a compilation of extensive research on the benefits of baking soda on oral health, which began in the 1970s.

The article concluded that baking soda dentifrice (toothpaste) was low-abrasive and safe for daily use. It was also recognized as antibacterial, aiding in reducing plaque and gingivitis. Baking soda, compatible with fluoride, was also found to help remineralize enamel and reduce cavities. Finally, the fact that these toothpastes are effective whitening and stain-reducing agents adds to their popularity, especially when flavoring and sweetening agents are added.

JADA also explored many lesser-known applications for baking soda and oral health, from reducing biofilm to combating acid production. This last idea directly relates to cavity prevention and improvement in gum health. The conclusions showed promising and safe benefits, but more studies with a longer follow-up are needed to clearly demonstrate these benefits.

Other Treatments

A homemade mouthrinse containing baking soda is often recommended for patients undergoing treatment for cancer. The National Institutes of Health suggests this remedy for mucositis, mouth sores and sore throats that can occur as a side effect of chemotherapy and radiation. The rinse, made from baking soda, salt and water, is used several times a day to soothe the discomfort from the sores and to prevent infection. It can also be gargled to relieve throat pain.

The National Capitol Poison Center warns that too much baking soda can be toxic, however. Its bitter taste should keep children away, but swallowing too much can leave you vomiting and dehydrated. Rinse well and don't swallow your concoction to be on the safe side.

A baking soda mouthrinse may be the next gentle dental remedy. If formulated properly for taste and stability, a mouthrinse with this active ingredient shows great promise for preventing decay and gingivitis as well as helping to keep teeth strong and bright — an all-around home run for dental health!

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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Choosing Mouthwashes and Mouth Rinses

Mouthwash and fluoride mouth rinse are two different products. Here are some of the differences:

  • Antibacterial mouthwashes – these mouthwashes are more effective in controlling plaque than fluoride rinses, and also freshen breath.

  • Fluoride rinses – these rinses coat the teeth with fluoride to strengthen teeth to prevent tooth decay and cavities. They also freshen breath.