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Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, can effectively whiten teeth. It’s a fine, white powder with many household uses.
Though it’s primarily used as a leavening agent, baking soda can whiten teeth and fix tooth discoloration.
Is Baking Soda Good For Your Teeth?
Yes, baking soda is good for your teeth in reasonable quantities. While it cannot protect your teeth from cavities the same way fluoride toothpaste can, it is still considered an excellent cleaning agent.
You can safely use baking soda on your teeth once daily when applied with a soft-bristled toothbrush. However, using it more frequently than that can damage your enamel.
Baking soda has benefits and risks when using it on your teeth.
Benefits of Using Baking Soda for Teeth Whitening
The benefits of using baking soda as a teeth whitener include:
Plaque control — Baking soda disrupts the biofilm that turns into plaque on your teeth, preventing gum disease and tooth decay.3
Decreases bacteria — Bacteria thrive in acidic conditions. One study showed that baking soda could increase your mouth's pH, reducing acidity.4
Stain removal — Baking soda is a natural bleaching agent. Studies have proven that its abrasive qualities remove stains from the outside of your teeth.5
Fluoride-free — Excessive amounts of fluoride can be toxic, especially to children under 6. If you’re avoiding fluoride, toothpaste with baking soda is free of fluoride and the associated risks of toxicity.6
Affordable — Baking soda is inexpensive and accessible in nearly every drugstore, grocery store, and large retailer.
Risks of Using Baking Soda for Teeth Whitening
Here are some risks and disadvantages of using baking soda for teeth whitening:
Unpleasant mouthfeel — Baking soda has a salty taste and a grainy texture. If it bothers you, try a toothpaste with baking soda as an ingredient.
Less effective — Some researchers give baking soda a low rating as a teeth whitening agent, as it may not remove stains as well as some other products.
No benefits of fluoride — While an advantage for those avoiding fluoride, baking soda doesn’t have the same beneficial properties as the mineral. Fluoride protects your enamel and prevents cavities.
You can create your own DIY baking soda mouthwash at home. You’ll need a bowl or glass, warm water, salt, and baking soda.
Follow these steps to make and use your mouthwash:
Combine ¼ teaspoon baking soda, ⅛ teaspoon salt, and 1 cup warm water in your chosen dish
Stir until the ingredients have dissolved
Swish mouthwash in your mouth as normal
Rinse with water when you’re done
Many types of mouthwash on the market also include baking soda as an ingredient.
What Not to Do When Using Baking Soda
Baking soda is recognized as an acceptable product to use on teeth. It is an ingredient in many kinds of toothpaste with the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of acceptance.
However, baking soda must be used with care. Here are a few cautionary tips when it comes to using baking soda for your teeth:
Don’t rely on it exclusively — Sodium bicarbonate doesn’t contain fluoride, which helps fight tooth decay and strengthens tooth enamel. The ADA recommends using fluoridated toothpaste for your oral health.
Don’t use lemon juice or vinegar — Some sources recommend using citrus juices or apple cider vinegar to boost baking soda’s whitening properties. Our in-house dentists recommend against this, as the acid can damage your teeth over time.
Don’t overdo it — You can safely use baking soda once a day on your teeth. Using it multiple times a day, with a medium-bristled or hard-bristled toothbrush, and/or brushing too vigorously can cause damage.
Other Affordable Ways to Whiten Teeth Naturally
Baking soda isn’t the only inexpensive, accessible way to whiten your teeth naturally. If sodium bicarbonate isn’t your preference, try one of the following whitening tricks:
Hydrogen peroxide — Products containing hydrogen peroxide can whiten your teeth by oxidizing yellow and brown stains on the surfaces of your teeth.2
Oil pulling — Oil pulling is a traditional Ayurvedic remedy that involves swishing oil, typically coconut oil, in your mouth for oral healthcare. There’s no scientific proof that it works, but it’s safe to do.
Baking soda can whiten teeth. You can use it at home once a day to remove stains and brighten your teeth. Mix it with water, toothpaste, or hydrogen peroxide, and brush it gently on your teeth before rinsing.
Many toothpastes and mouthwashes contain baking soda. You can choose one of these products if you want to get the whitening benefits of baking soda.
While baking soda toothpaste can be good for your teeth in reasonable quantities, it can’t replace the benefits of fluoride. Always consult your dentist before trying any new oral hygiene products or practices.
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.
We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).