Now you might be wondering what I’m even talking about. What’s the big deal about acid on your teeth? Well, it’s a dentist’s best friend. Or at least a great way for him to pay for that new boat he’s always dreamed about.
Some facts about tooth acid
Many of the foods you eat and things you drink are acidic. That means after you’ve finished eating or drinking, a layer of acid may stay behind.
And that acid can eat away at your enamel, your body’s natural guard against tooth decay. As we are reminded every time our dentist gives us the bad news “You’ve got cavities!” … prevention is well worth the effort.
Chewing your food really well can help, since saliva can neutralize the acid. Also, rinsing with water is a quick hack, especially if you’re away from home and can’t easily get to some baking soda.
How can baking soda mouth rinse help?
Although I am not a chemist, as I understand it there are acids and bases. Basically (although I’m simplifying it), they’re on opposite ends of something called the pH scale. So combining the two, one can help cancel out the other.
Alkalis are a type of base that form solutions when dissolved in water. So an acid and an alkali together can often neutralize the effect of each other. Not too acid; not too base.
And now we get to baking soda. It’s nature is alkaline and does a great job at neutralizing acid. Years ago, baking soda was one of the most used remedies for relieving acid stomach.
People still use it for indigestion, although you need to follow the instructions carefully. And if you have high blood pressure, please talk to your doctor before using it for that purpose.
How to use the baking soda for tooth acid
Just a little bit of baking soda can help neutralize the acid clinging to your teeth after a meal. Some people dissolve it in warm water, and rinse carefully right after eating. Even a snack can leave acid behind.
I actually just wet my finger and VERY gently (not to be abrasive) massage a tiny amount on all my teeth. Then I rinse with water a couple of times, knowing that I’ve helped remove harmful tooth acid.
Can’t I just brush my teeth?
Yes. You could do that. BUT there is one problem dentists have warned me about. Right after eating, the acid can actually soften the enamel. And brushing may do more harm than good by damaging your enamel.
Although most people would find this inconvenient, you should wait at least 15 to 20 minutes after eating before brushing. Meanwhile, it’s good to rinse your mouth with water anyway, to get rid of that sneaky acid.
For me, baking soda mouth rinse is an easier solution. (Pun intended for the chemistry nerds out there.) You can do it right away after eating, and get on with your life. And it’s easy enough to carry some with you in a baggy or small container, for those meals away.
A bit of caution & advice
Just to emphasize some things I already mentioned — and add a few more thoughts just to be extra cautious:
- If you use my moist finger method, apply the baking soda very gently to your teeth. You don’t want to create exactly what you are trying to avoid … damaged enamel.
- Make sure you are not ingesting the baking soda, especially if you have high blood pressure. But even if your blood pressure is fine, it is not healthy to swallow plain baking soda. As your dentist might say, be sure to rinse, spit, and repeat!!
- In case you do have any special health issues like kidney disease, it’s probably wise to check with your doctor. In my case, just to be sure, I took my blood pressure after starting to use baking soda mouth rinse. Luckily, even after several weeks, there was no change at all.
NOTE: Checking with your doctor is also a good idea for any new supplements you start using. Or at least doing a thorough, quality-source online search. You might be surprised at the side-effects and interactions even for things considered “safe”.
4. Get into the habit of doing this baking soda mouth rinse after every meal to help minimize tooth acid. It’s actually an easy habit to get into, once you give it a chance!
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