Does Baking Soda Toothpaste Make Your Teeth Sensitive? Unveiled! 2023

Last Updated: 8 December 2023

Have you ever wondered, “Does baking soda toothpaste make your teeth sensitive?”

You’re not alone.

Tooth sensitivity is a common concern for many, causing discomfort with hot or cold foods and drinks. Amidst various toothpaste ingredients, baking soda stands out for its natural cleaning properties and is a popular choice for oral hygiene.

But does this common household item contribute to increased tooth sensitivity?  

In this post, we’ll delve into the heart of this question, examining the relationship between baking soda toothpaste and teeth sensitivity you might be experiencing. Join us as we explore this important aspect of dental health. 

Table of Contents

Does Baking Soda Toothpaste Make Your Teeth Sensitive? 

Baking soda toothpaste can potentially cause tooth sensitivity in some individuals but this is not a universal reaction. Here’s a breakdown of how it might happen: 

Abrasive Nature

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is a mild abrasive. While this abrasiveness is effective for removing surface stains and plaque, it can also wear down enamel if used too aggressively or too often. Thinner enamel can expose the dentin layer beneath, leading to increased sensitivity. 

pH Level

Baking soda is alkaline, which can affect the pH balance in your mouth. While this is often beneficial for neutralizing harmful acids, it might not be suitable for everyone’s oral chemistry. 

Individual Differences

Some people have naturally more sensitive teeth or thinner enamel, making them more susceptible to sensitivity from abrasive toothpastes. 

Improper Use: Using baking soda toothpaste too frequently, with too much force, or in combination with other abrasive oral care products can increase the risk of enamel wear and sensitivity. 

Underlying Dental Issues: If there are pre-existing dental issues like cavities, gum disease, or cracked teeth, using an abrasive toothpaste like one with baking soda can exacerbate sensitivity. 

According to the research conducted by Elsevier Science, baking soda is valued in toothpaste for its low abrasiveness, being softer than tooth enamel and dentin. However, baking soda toothpastes often contain additional ingredients that can increase their abrasiveness and stain removal effectiveness. While these ingredients enhance cleaning, they may also pose a risk to tooth enamel if too abrasive.

The key is balancing effective stain removal with enamel safety. The finding is that while baking soda is gentle, the overall abrasiveness of toothpaste depends on its complete formulation. (1) 

What is Tooth Sensitivity?  

Tooth sensitivity, medically known as dentin hypersensitivity, occurs when the enamel that protects our teeth gets thinner, exposing the underlying dentin. This exposure leads to discomfort or pain in your teeth when encountering certain stimuli, such as hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and drinks.

Symptoms of Tooth Sensitivity 

  • Sharp, temporary pain in the teeth when exposed to hot, cold, sweet, or acidic substances. 
  • Discomfort when brushing or flossing teeth. 
  • Pain when breathing in cold air. 

Common Causes of Sensitive Teeth  

Several factors contribute to the development of sensitive teeth, including: 

Enamel Erosion: Caused by acidic foods and drinks, overzealous brushing, or teeth grinding. Even, teeth whitening can damage enamel too. 

Gum Recession: Often a result of periodontal disease, leading to exposure of the sensitive root surface. Sometimes, Sensodyne toothpaste may cause gum irritation.

Tooth Decay or Broken Teeth: These can expose the sensitive inner layers of the tooth. 

Recent Dental Procedures: Sensitivity can temporarily increase after procedures like fillings, teeth whitening, or braces. 

The Role of Toothpaste Ingredients in Sensitivity  

Toothpaste ingredients play a crucial role in either causing or alleviating tooth sensitivity. Here’s how: 

Abrasive Agents: Some toothpastes contain abrasive ingredients that can wear down enamel over time, potentially increasing sensitivity. For example, Hello Toothpaste can make your teeth sensitive.

Desensitizing Ingredients: Certain toothpastes have ingredients like potassium nitrate or strontium chloride, which help block the transmission of pain signals from the tooth surface to the nerve. For example, sensitive toothpaste can make your mouth dry and cause other irritations.

Fluoride: This mineral helps strengthen tooth enamel, reducing the risk of sensitivity. But excessive use of fluoride can result in causing tooth pain.

Baking Soda in Toothpaste 

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is a common ingredient in many toothpastes, known for its mild abrasive properties and ability to neutralize acids in the mouth. The question is, does its abrasive nature contribute to sensitivity, or does its acid-neutralizing capability protect against it?

The following sections will explore this in detail. 

What is Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate)?  

Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a white crystalline compound that is mildly alkaline. It’s a versatile substance, commonly used in baking, cleaning, and personal care products, including toothpaste. Its alkaline properties make it effective in neutralizing acids, which is a key aspect of its role in oral hygiene. 

Historical and Current Use in Oral Hygiene  

The use of baking soda as a dental cleaning agent date back over a century. Historically, it was used as a simple, abrasive compound to remove plaque and clean teeth. Today, baking soda is incorporated into many toothpaste formulations for its ability to gently polish teeth, neutralize harmful acids produced by bacteria in plaque, and maintain a balanced pH level in the mouth. 

The Link Between Baking Soda and Tooth Sensitivity

Following are some details about the complex relationship between baking soda and teeth sensitivity.

How Baking Soda Works in Toothpaste?

Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a mild abrasive agent used in many toothpaste formulations. Its primary function is to mechanically scrub away plaque and surface stains from teeth, contributing to cleaner teeth and a brighter smile.

Additionally, its alkaline nature helps neutralize the acidic environment in the mouth, which is beneficial for preventing tooth decay and gum disease. 

The Potential Abrasive Nature of Baking Soda and Its Effects on Enamel  

While baking soda is considered a low-abrasive ingredient compared to other abrasives used in toothpaste, there is a concern about its long-term effects on tooth enamel. Enamel erosion can lead to increased tooth sensitivity, especially when consuming hot, cold, or acidic foods and drinks.

The key is in the concentration and the frequency of use; excessive use of baking soda or using it in a highly concentrated form could potentially wear down enamel over time. 

Expert Opinions and Dental Research Findings  

Dental experts and research studies provide mixed opinions on the link between baking soda toothpaste and tooth sensitivity.

Some studies suggest that when used correctly, baking soda toothpaste is safe for enamel and does not increase sensitivity.

Others caution that its abrasive nature, if not properly formulated, could contribute to enamel wear. The consensus is that baking soda toothpaste, when used as directed and in a formulation designed for sensitive teeth, is generally safe and effective for most individuals. 

Comparing Baking Soda Toothpaste with Regular Toothpaste 

Baking Soda Toothpaste: Known for its natural, mild abrasive properties, baking soda toothpaste effectively removes surface stains and neutralizes mouth acidity. It’s often praised for its natural ingredients and minimalistic approach to oral care. 

Regular Toothpaste: Typically contains a variety of ingredients, including stronger abrasives, fluoride for enamel strengthening, and sometimes specific compounds for sensitivity reduction. 

Pros and Cons of Using Baking Soda Toothpaste in Terms of Sensitivity 

Pros: 

Gentle Cleaning: Baking soda is less abrasive than some other commercial toothpaste abrasives, potentially reducing the risk of enamel wear. 

pH Balance: Its alkaline nature helps neutralize acidic conditions in the mouth, which can contribute to enamel erosion and sensitivity. 

Natural Approach: Often preferred by those looking for a more natural oral care product. 

Cons: 

Potential Abrasiveness: While milder, long-term use might still contribute to enamel wear if not used correctly. 

Lack of Fluoride: Most baking soda toothpastes do not contain fluoride, which is essential for enamel remineralization and preventing sensitivity. 

Limited Sensitivity Protection: Unlike specialized toothpastes for sensitive teeth, baking soda toothpaste may not offer targeted sensitivity relief. 

Preventing and Managing Tooth Sensitivity Caused by Baking Soda Toothpaste

Here are some tips to prevent and manage tooth sensitivty caused by baking soda toothpaste.

Use the Right Amount: Apply only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste to minimize the risk of abrasion. 

Gentle Brushing: Brush gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush to protect your enamel and gums. 

Limit Usage: Consider using baking soda toothpaste only a few times a week, alternating with a less abrasive toothpaste. 

Rinse Thoroughly: After brushing, rinse your mouth well to remove any residual baking soda particles. 

Alternative Toothpaste Options for Sensitive Teeth 

Desensitizing Toothpaste: Look for toothpaste containing potassium nitrate or strontium chloride, which help block pain signals from the tooth surface to the nerve. 

Fluoride Toothpaste: Fluoride helps strengthen tooth enamel and reduce sensitivity. Careffully check the fluoride content otherwise excessive fluoride may also cuase sensitivity.

Herbal and Natural Toothpastes: Some natural toothpastes are formulated specifically for sensitive teeth, using gentler ingredients. 

Consult a Dentist: For personalized recommendations, consult your dentist to find the best toothpaste for your sensitive teeth. 

When to See a Dentist About Tooth Sensitivity?

Persistent Sensitivity: If sensitivity lasts longer than a week, it’s time to see a dentist. 

Increased Discomfort: If you experience increased or severe pain when consuming hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks. 

Signs of Gum Disease: Sensitivity accompanied by bleeding gums or receding gum lines warrants a dental visit. 

After a Dental Procedure: If sensitivity persists after a recent dental procedure, such as a filling or teeth whitening. 

Expert Advice and Recommendations 

Here are some pieces of experts’ advice about using baking soda toothpaste.

Balanced View: Most experts agree that baking soda, due to its mild abrasive nature, can be an effective cleaning agent in toothpaste. However, they caution against overuse, which might lead to enamel wear and increased sensitivity. 

pH Levels: Dentists often highlight baking soda’s ability to neutralize acids in the mouth, which is beneficial for overall oral health and can indirectly help with sensitivity. 

Individual Differences: Dental professionals emphasize that reactions to baking soda toothpaste can vary. What works for one person might not be suitable for another, depending on their oral health status and sensitivity levels. 

Recommendations for Those with Sensitive Teeth 

Start with a Test: If you’re considering baking soda toothpaste, start with a small amount to test your teeth’s reaction. 

Alternate Use: Consider alternating baking soda toothpaste with a toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth to balance the benefits and minimize risks. 

Soft Bristle Brush: Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle brushing techniques to reduce the risk of enamel erosion. 

Regular Dental Check-ups: Regular visits to the dentist are crucial for monitoring your oral health and getting personalized advice. 

Listen to Your Teeth: Pay attention to how your teeth respond to baking soda toothpaste. If sensitivity increases, discontinue use and consult with your dentist. 

FAQ’s About Baking Soda Toothpaste Making Teeth Sensitive  

What Are the Benefits of Using Baking Soda Toothpaste?

Baking soda toothpaste can help reduce plaque, whiten teeth, and may have antibacterial properties that protect against decay. 

Can Baking Soda Toothpaste Cause Tooth Sensitivity?

While baking soda is considered a good cleaning agent for teeth, its abrasive nature might contribute to enamel wear if used excessively, potentially leading to increased sensitivity. 

Is Baking Soda Toothpaste Effective in Maintaining Oral Health?

Baking soda toothpaste can disrupt dental biofilms and reduce bacteria, contributing to overall oral health. However, it may not be as effective as fluoride toothpaste in preventing cavities. .

Does Baking Soda Toothpaste Contain Fluoride?

Most baking soda toothpastes do not contain fluoride, which is essential for enamel remineralization and preventing cavities. 

What Are the Downsides of Using Baking Soda Toothpaste?

The downsides include its lack of fluoride, potential for increased tooth sensitivity with overuse, and less effective whitening compared to other products. 

How Should I Use Baking Soda Toothpaste to Minimize Sensitivity?

Use a pea-sized amount, brush gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush, and consider alternating with a fluoride toothpaste. 

Are There Any Natural Alternatives to Baking Soda Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth?

Yes, there are natural toothpaste options specifically formulated for sensitive teeth, using gentler ingredients. 

When Should I See a Dentist Regarding Tooth Sensitivity?

If sensitivity persists for more than a week, or if you experience severe pain with hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks, it’s advisable to consult a dentist. 

Can Baking Soda Toothpaste Replace My Regular Toothpaste?

While baking soda toothpaste can be part of your oral hygiene routine, it should not completely replace fluoride toothpaste, especially if you are prone to cavities. 

Is Baking Soda Toothpaste Suitable for Everyone?

Individual reactions to baking soda toothpaste can vary. It’s important to consider your oral health status and consult with a dentist for personalized advice. 

Final Thoughts on Baking Soda Toothpaste and Sensitivity 

Navigating the world of oral hygiene can often leave you feeling uncertain, especially when it comes to choosing the right toothpaste. The question of whether baking soda toothpaste makes your teeth sensitive is a valid concern. It’s important to remember that every smile is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another.

If you’re considering baking soda toothpaste, start with a cautious approach. Pay attention to how your teeth respond, and don’t hesitate to consult your dentist for personalized advice. Remember, the key to a healthy smile is finding a balance that works for your individual dental needs. 

Read More about Oral Health:

– Do Whitening Strips Destroy Enamel? The Enamel Debate! 2023

Can Sensodyne Make Teeth Worse? Tooth Troubles! 2023

– Tooth Sensitivity After A Filling: What is Normal & What NOT! 2023

Why Does Sensodyne Hurt My Teeth? Exploring The Paradox! 2023

Best Teeth Whitening Essex: Teeth Whitening in Essex for A Sweet Smile

Sources & References

  1. Hara AT, Turssi CP. Baking soda as an abrasive in toothpastes: Mechanism of action and safety and effectiveness considerations. J Am Dent Assoc. 2017 Nov;148(11S):S27-S33. doi: 10.1016/j.adaj.2017.09.007. PMID: 29056187. 

About the Author & Medical Reviewer:

Author Profile
Muhammad Muaz Sheikh

Muhammad Muaz is a seasoned professional in the realm of media and communication, boasting a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication with a specialization in PR & Media Advertisement. With an innate understanding of effective communication strategies, Muaz has honed his expertise through extensive experience in various media houses, serving in key editorial roles. His journey in the field of media has equipped him with a profound understanding of storytelling and impactful content creation.

Author Profile
Alexander Patrick Bollenderof, DMD

Dr. Alexander Patrick, DMD, is a highly accomplished Doctor of Dental Medicine with a profound dedication to oral health and patient care. With a wealth of experience spanning over two decades, Dr. Patrick has established himself as a leading figure in the field of dentistry. Renowned for his precision and commitment to excellence, he specializes in a wide range of dental procedures, from cosmetic enhancements to restorative surgeries.