The sodium bicarbonate in baking soda makes it very helpful in heartburn relief, according to Livestrong . Just a small teaspoon of the powder will react with the hydrochloric acid in your stomach and turn it into harmless sodium chloride, carbon dioxide, and water. Baking soda is fine for occasional relief, but in rare cases its use can actually do more harm than good. The New York Times reports the indigestion treatment can cause rips or tears in a person’s stomach lining. However, according to the publication, there was only ever one death recorded to be connected with taking baking soda in water, and this occurred in 1939.