The Hazards of Baking Soda

by Natalie Andrews ; Updated September 28, 2017

Brushing with too much baking soda can damage your teeth.

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The use of baking soda extends beyond making cakes and pastries; home-care tips tell us that it is a perfectly safe alternative to commercial household cleaners, aside from being an effective antacid that helps relieve heartburn and indigestion. Applying baking soda to your teeth can also whiten and clean them; however, before using or ingesting baking soda for health purposes, it is always important to consult your doctor to avoid any negative side effects.

Overdose

The chemical term for baking soda is sodium bicarbonate; ingesting too much baking soda means taking in large amounts of sodium. Huge concentrations of sodium in the body can cause edema, the swelling of both legs and feet due to fluid retention. More severe conditions include high blood pressure or even heart disease. Anybody with kidney or heart problems is also discouraged from drinking baking soda solutions.

Tooth Enamel Abrasive

Baking soda paste, composed of baking soda and water, can be used just like your typical toothpaste; however, using it every day can damage your teeth. When the tooth enamel wears off, the teeth become vulnerable to cavities and become more sensitive. Instead of a homemade baking soda paste, special toothpaste with mild abrasive properties might be a safer option.

Athletes’ Soda Loading

Some athletes practice what is called “soda loading.” This is where athletes, particularly runners, load up on baking soda solution believing the solution can help delay fatigue. There is nothing illegal about the practice, but soda overdose can cause diarrhea, vomiting, convulsions or probably an unexpected trip to the hospital, according to Pharmacology specialist Dr. Jarret Morrow.

Hypokalemia and Baking Soda

Hypokalemia is a medical condition where the potassium level in the body is extremely low. According to eMedicine Health’s website, symptoms of this disorder include weakness, muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting and even psychological disorders like depression, hallucinations and delirium. Although high potassium levels are said to be more hazardous, those suffering from low potassium levels are not advised to take in salty food, including baking soda.

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About the Author

Natalie Andrews has been writing since 2003. She has created content for print newsletters and blogs in the flower, transportation and entertainment industries. Her expertise lies in travel and home-decorating. Andrews graduated with a bachelor's degree in communications from the University of Houston in 2008.