Does Baking Soda Whiten Teeth?

Does Baking Soda Whiten Teeth?

Baking soda is also known as sodium bicarbonate. It is a fine, white powder with many household uses. The substance is primarily used as a leavening agent.

Sodium bicarbonate is also commonly used to whiten teeth and fix tooth discoloration. 

Is Baking Soda Good For Your Teeth?

Yes, baking soda is good for your teeth. While it cannot protect your teeth from cavities the same way fluoride toothpaste can, it is still considered an excellent cleaning agent for your teeth.

Baking soda toothpaste has antibacterial properties. This helps protect your teeth from tooth decay.1

How to Whiten Teeth With Baking Soda 

To whiten your teeth with baking soda, you will need the following:

  • A toothbrush
  • Straight baking soda
  • A small bowl or shot glass

Here is how to whiten teeth with baking soda:

  1. First, combine equal parts baking soda and water in a small bowl until you have created a baking soda paste.
  2. Then, dip your toothpaste into the baking soda paste and brush in gentle circles, ensuring you cover each tooth thoroughly with the solution. Continue brushing for around a minute.
  3. When you are finished, spit out the baking soda paste and rinse your mouth until your teeth are shiny and grit-free. 

How Not to Whiten Teeth With Baking Soda 

Some people suggest adding lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to the baking soda mix to boost the whitening power of the solution. 

However, this may not be a good idea as the citric acid of the lemon juice and apple cider vinegar may affect the surface of the teeth and leave you vulnerable to cavities.

How Long Does it Take for Baking Soda to Whiten Teeth?

You can expect results after a couple of weeks of regular brushing with baking soda. However, using baking soda to whiten teeth is an abrasive process and should not be used regularly.

Once you notice some results, reduce your brushing with baking soda to once or twice a week to lessen the potential damage to your teeth.

What About Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide?

Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide work well together as a teeth whitener. 

Here is how to make a hydrogen peroxide paste:

  1. Combine a few teaspoons of baking soda in a dish with a small amount of hydrogen peroxide. Mix the baking soda and peroxide with a clean spoon.
  2. Continue adding more peroxide until you create a thick but not gritty paste.
  3. Take a toothbrush to apply the paste to your teeth with small circular motions for two minutes.
  4. Let the paste sit on your teeth for a few minutes. Then, completely rinse off the paste by swishing water around your mouth. Ensure you remove all the paste.

Benefits of Using Baking Soda & Hydrogen Peroxide for Teeth Whitening

Here are some benefits of using baking soda and hydrogen peroxide as a teeth whitener:

Reduces Plaque and Gingivitis 

Biofilms are colonies of bacteria that stick to the surface of your teeth and lead to problems like gingivitis and cavities. Dental plaque is one example of a biofilm.

When you brush your teeth with baking soda, its grains disrupt that biofilm, lessening the bacteria count and helping to stop damage to your teeth and gums.3

May Reduce Bacteria

Some harmful bacteria require more acidic conditions to thrive in your mouth. 

A 2017 study proved that when you rinse your mouth with baking soda, the pH in your mouth increases, reducing the acidity.4

Using baking soda as toothpaste may make it more difficult for cavity-causing bacteria to multiply in your mouth.4

Whitens Teeth

Baking soda is a natural bleaching agent with whitening properties. It is effective at removing stains on your teeth and giving you a brighter smile. That is why baking soda is a popular ingredient in many commercial toothpastes.

Studies have proven that baking soda is a mild abrasive that can remove stains from the outside of your teeth.5

Fluoride-Free

Excess fluoride can be toxic, especially to young children under six years old. However, it is essential to note that fluoride toxicity is rare. The risks are only an issue when a significant amount of fluoride is consumed.

Fluoride toxicity can lead to pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and heart and kidney issues. That is why many people prefer toothpaste with baking soda that is free of fluoride and the risks of toxicity.6

Inexpensive

Baking soda is affordable and accessible in nearly every drugstore, grocery store, and large retailer.

Risks of Using Baking Soda & Hydrogen Peroxide for Teeth Whitening

Here are some risks and disadvantages of using baking soda and hydrogen peroxide for teeth whitening:

Unappealing Taste and Texture

The main downside of using baking soda is that it does not taste very pleasant for many people. Baking soda’s texture may make it feel like you have sand in your mouth.

If you want to experience the benefits of baking soda with a better texture, you can try a commercial toothpaste that includes baking soda as an ingredient.

If the texture of baking soda does not bother you, but the salty taste does, you could mix one or two drops of peppermint oil to the baking soda to improve the taste.

Less Dramatic Whitening

Baking soda is a mild abrasive. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends baking soda as safe for your enamel and dentin. But some researchers give it a low rating as a teeth whitening as it may not remove stains as well as some other products.

Lack of Fluoride

Toothpastes approved by the ADA have fluoride to prevent dental cavities. While fluoride is a natural element abundant in water, air, and our bones and teeth, extra fluoride in toothpaste gives an additional shield against tooth decay.

Using baking soda as your toothpaste does not provide you with the topical fluoride present in many commercial toothpastes. Using baking soda may not offer you the cavity protection you need.

How to Prevent Oral Health Damage From Baking Soda  

Baking soda is recognized as an acceptable product to use on teeth. It is an ingredient in many toothpastes with the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of acceptance. However, it must be used with care.

Remember, sodium bicarbonate does not contain fluoride which helps fight against tooth decay and the strengthening and remineralization of tooth enamel.

With the right concentration, baking soda is not abrasive. It contains the same hardness as dentin and will not wear away your tooth structure considerably unless you are vigorously brushing your teeth. Always make sure you follow the instructions for brushing with baking soda properly and use the right concentrations.

The pH in baking soda will neutralize plaque acids in your mouth by heightening your mouth’s pH balance.

Other Affordable Ways to Whiten Teeth Naturally

Products containing hydrogen peroxide can whiten your teeth by oxidizing yellow and brown stains on the surface of your teeth.2 The most effective peroxide products are used in dentist offices. 

With potent formulas, certain steps must be taken to protect your tongue and gums from the potentially corrosive effects of hydrogen peroxide.

Gentler products can be purchased over the counter, but it may take some more time before you notice a difference.

Natural remedies including coconut oil, lemon peel, and activated charcoal may also be effective teeth whiteners. Be sure to consult with your dentist first to ensure any of these treatments are safe for your teeth.

Resources

Myneni, Srinivas R. “Effect of baking soda in dentifrices on plaque removal.” Journal of the American Dental Association (1939) vol. 148,11S (2017): S4-S9

Eachempati, Prashanti et al. “Home-based chemically-induced whitening (bleaching) of teeth in adults.” The Cochrane database of systematic reviews vol. 12,12 CD006202. 18 Dec. 2018

Sabharwal, Amarpreet, and Frank A Scannapieco. “Baking soda dentifrice and periodontal health: A review of the literature.” Journal of the American Dental Association (1939) vol. 148,11S (2017): S15-S19

Chandel, Siddhartha et al. “The effect of sodium bicarbonate oral rinse on salivary pH and oral microflora: A prospective cohort study.” National journal of maxillofacial surgery vol. 8,2 (2017)

Li, Yiming. “Stain removal and whitening by baking soda dentifrice: A review of literature.” Journal of the American Dental Association (1939) vol. 148,11S (2017): S20-S26

Whitford, Gary Milton. “Acute toxicity of ingested fluoride.” Monographs in oral science vol. 22 (2011): 66-80

Epple, Matthias et al. “A Critical Review of Modern Concepts for Teeth Whitening.” Dentistry journal vol. 7,3 79. 1 Aug. 2019

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