760-632-1304 [email protected]

Baking Soda and salt water reduce inflammation in your gums by killing the aggressive and inflammatory bacteria that cause red, bleeding gums and even gum disease. So yes, baking soda and warm salt water rinses are very good for oral health. They also alkalinize the mouth and thus encourage oxygen liking bacteria to thrive rather than the types of bacteria that thrive in an acidic environment called anaerobes. These anaerobes actually attack your cells, including your white blood cells and red blood cells, and even attack the gums around your teeth. The oxygen loving bacteria called aerobes live in peaceful coesistence with your mouth and gums.  

Baking Soda Removes the Bacteria That Cause Bleeding Gums

An age old common household item used for brushing is baking soda. When I tell my patients about baking soda, they often say that their grandmother used to tell them to do the same thing. Old wives tale or the wisdom of our ancestors? I think the latter from everything I’ve seen in my practice.

Baking soda helps remove plaque and some stain and may whiten teeth slightly.  However, the main thing it does is kill the bacteria that cause your gums to bleed when you brush. And no, I’m not recommending that you stop brushing your teeth. I’m suggesting that you actually do more, and baking soda is one of those things. If after you brush your teeth, you pick up a small amount of baking soda onto your toothbrush and brush it along your gums, it will do the rest. It is a strong salt, so it will penetrate into the area where these inflammatory bacteria live, which is along and benearth your gums.

My only caution is to not brush the baking soda into your gums aggressively or for too long, as it is slightly abrasive and you don’t want to cause gum recession with it.  Also, spit it out and don’t swallow it. as it is a strong salt, and you don’t want to raise your blood pressure.  

How Baking Soda Keeps Your Mouth and Gums Healthy

If you are wondering how baking soda works and how it kills the harmful bacteria living along your gums this section is for you. Basically, boking soda and salt water sucks the liqud out of bacteria and parasites, like amoeba, until they are dead. In fact these otherwise very resilient and resistant microbes have no defense to salts, while they do often do have defenses to chemicals like mouthrinses and even antibiotics.

Here is a video I made with a microscope I have in my practice showing how the salt acts on bacteria taken from under the gums of a patient’s mouth. When I do a microscope sample, I take a minute amount of plaque from a patients mouth and put it on a slide for viewing. Plaque is the white film that collects along your gumline and it’s where inflammatory bacteria live and feed. These oral microbes love plaque as a food source because it has plenty of nutrients and sugar from the food you have been eating over the last 12 hours or so. I think you will see in this video just how effective baking soda and salt can be in removing these bad actors.

What’s the Best Type of Baking Soda to Use to Brush Your Teeth

Box of Arm and Hammer Baking Soda

Arm and Hammer is the tried and true brand of baking soda that you can find at any grocery store. It has been around for a long time.

Some people complain that there might be aluminum in it. I actually called the company and enquired about the puity of their baking soda. They assured me that their baking soda does not contain aluminum in it. Their website also says that their product is free of parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, aluminum and artificial dyes or colorants.

Bag of Baking Soda from Bob's Red Mill

Bob’s Red Mill baking soda is a great choice for those who want only the purest products to go into their bodies or in their mouths. This product is usually available in health food stores or you can find it on Amazon. This product is what I use when brushing my teeth.

I use only a small amount that I pick up on my toothbrush after I brush and floss my teeth. Then I gently massage it along my gums and spit it out. That’s it.

How to Use Salt Water Rinses After Wisdom Tooth Extractions

People are always looking for ways to take better care of their teeth.  One of the age old methods of getting your mouth to recover and heal better after dental works is using warm salt water rinses.  The reason why it works so well is that salt water is a mineral treatment that kills bacteria and reduces inflammation in the gums.  It makes the gums ‘tighter’ by pulling fluid out and it has an alkalinizing effect as well.

As an example of how much salt water rinses can help, I can’t tell you how many times my patients have told me they had pain and swelling after wisdom tooth extractions. Some discomfort is normal, but not for weeks afterwards. My experience over the years I’ve been practicing is that if the sites are kept clean, the healing stabilizes quickly and the pain and swelling resolves in a matter of days. The only thing I do differently is recommend that the patient rinse with warm salt water for 20 to 30 seconds after every meal, and of course spit it out afterwards. Then at the one week check, I give them a Monoject syringe and have them continue to rinse the site lightly with the salt water after their meals. This is usually all you need do to save yourself from weeks of soreness, pain and swelling. And it’s so simple!

If you have inflamed, red or bleeding gums this is called gingivitis.  Salt water can really help with this until you can get in to see your dentist for a cleaning.  Mix some salt in a cup of warm water. Usually, half an inch of salt in 2-3 inches of filtered water is about right. Strong is good.  Then pour off the water into another cup if the salt precipitates out. You can use this second cup of salt water to rinse your mouth with a small amount 2-3 times a day. And then spit it out after 20 seconds. Use this rinse until all the water is gone.  This should help reduce the redness and the soreness in your gums.

The other thing you need to do is call your dentist and get the build up and tartar off your teeth.  Your gums will never fully heal unless you remove the hard deposits that are sitting on your teeth and causing gum irritation.  The other thing that tartar does is hide bacteria that inflames your gums.