Baking Soda (aka sodium bicarbonate) is a salty, alkaline compound that has many great uses around the home. It has been used for centuries as a helper in the kitchen, in medicine, in the bathroom as a personal hygiene tool, and around the house when cleaning. The chemical nature of baking soda allows it to be used as a good pH booster, or an acid neutralizer. It is often recommended to rinse with a baking soda solution after vomiting to neutralize stomach acid in the mouth, and help prevent tooth decay. But does it work?
- Better for you – baking soda is a relatively harmless substance that helps protect your teeth after you’re sick
- Saves Money – baking soda is super cheap compared to those fillings you might need to get due to tooth decay
- Easy – mixing up a baking soda mouthwash is as simple as stirring up water in a cup
- Freshens breath – no one wants barf breath, but brushing your teeth after vomiting is a BAD idea
- Doesn’t really taste pleasant, which is not helpful when you already have an upset tummy
Morning Sickness. Ugh. I had it with my third pregnancy, and I had it bad. Actually, for me it was more like all day sickness. While I felt nauseous almost constantly, the almost guaranteed way to make me actually vomit was to brush my teeth. How ironic that I would brush my teeth, and then immediately make the whole mouth cleanliness situation worse by barfing. Rinsing my mouth out with water just never seemed adequate.
I’ve known for a while that brushing your teeth AFTER vomiting is a really bad idea. Apparently it scrubs the leftover stomach acid in your mouth into your teeth, further eroding the enamel. I’ve always gotten a special joy from freshly brushed teeth, and hate walking out the door less than fresh. One day while lamenting to a friend, she mentioned that a baking soda rinse can help neutralize the acid, and freshen up your mouth a bit at the same time.
I didn’t have to wait long to try this out. After I was sick, I dragged myself into the kitchen, took a spoonful of baking soda and rubbed it straight into my teeth and gums. (My friend had not mentioned HOW to do the baking soda, only that it helps…) The flavor was overwhelmingly salty and awful. I quickly rinsed with fresh water and spit and spit until it was all rinsed out. Then I got sick again. Fail.
It turns out that the best way to do this is to FIRST mix the baking soda with the water, and THEN rinse out your mouth with it. I tried this out the next time, and it was much more bearable. My mouth did feel a lot fresher and I had greater peace of mind that my teeth weren’t rotting away. I’m not sure about the freshness of my breath, but I also spent a lot of my first trimester drinking peppermint tea, so I wasn’t overly concerned.
Overall, the baking soda mouthwash was just okay. It probably did the job, but it wasn’t pleasant to the taste, and sometimes made me feel like vomiting again. I will continue to use it any time I am sick, because I have tooth cleanliness paranoia, but I promise I won’t like it!
Have you ever tried a baking soda mouthwash after vomiting, or otherwise? How did it work for you?