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Does Baking Soda Whiten Teeth?

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A woman using baking soda on her toothbrush to whiten her teeth

When it comes to teeth whitening, people go to great lengths to achieve brighter and healthier smiles. While several teeth whitening options are available, some people prefer natural remedies like baking soda. 

You might have heard people recommending baking soda to whiten teeth, but the question is, does it actually work?

Baking soda’s textures can deeply cleanse your teeth of stains and counteract the acid in your mouth, preventing bacteria from staining your teeth further. 

If you want to whiten your smile, talk to your dentist to determine if baking soda is the proper method for you.

How Does Baking Soda Whiten Teeth?

Baking soda is a natural abrasive and alkaline, making it an effective cleaner for removing surface or extrinsic stains on teeth.

Benefits of Baking Soda

The benefits of baking soda for your oral health include the following:

  • It limits plaque buildup
  • It reduces bacteria and acidity
  • It is affordable

The abrasive texture of baking soda helps scrub away any stains, plaque, or discoloration caused by food, drinks, or tobacco, making baking soda an excellent option for a deep clean to remove exterior discolouration.

Baking soda’s effectiveness as a teeth whitener can also be attributed to its alkalinity, which counteracts the acidity in the mouth. The acidity in some foods and drinks, such as coffee, tea, and soft drinks, weakens tooth enamel and leads to yellow discoloration. 

However, baking soda neutralizes this acidity and helps restore the mouth’s natural pH balance. By restoring the pH balance, baking soda helps to prevent further discoloration.

Drawbacks to Baking Soda

There are some disadvantages to using baking soda as a teeth whitener, such as:

  • The results are gradual
  • It is an unpleasant texture and taste
  • It does not include fluoride

Baking soda only targets surface stains. If the stains are intrinsic, or within the teeth, baking soda may not whiten teeth as effectively as other whitening treatments.

How to Use Baking Soda to Whiten Teeth

The steps to using baking soda to whiten teeth are straightforward.

  • First, take a small amount of baking soda and add a few drops of water until it creates a paste-like consistency.
  • Using your toothbrush, apply the paste gently to your teeth, making sure that you cover all the surfaces.
  • Brush gently, leave the paste on your teeth for about 2 minutes, then rinse thoroughly with clean water.

It helps to brush your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste afterward to remove leftover baking soda particles and protect your enamel.

How to Maintain a Whiter Smile

Once you achieve a whiter smile, maintaining it is the goal.

Brush Your Teeth Twice a Day

One of the simplest and most effective ways to maintain a white smile is by brushing your teeth twice daily. Brushing helps to remove plaque and tartar that can affect the natural whiteness of your teeth. Using fluoride toothpaste can help:

  • Limit tartar and plaque development
  • Prevent cavities and tooth decay
  • Reduce your risk of gingivitis and periodontal disease

Flossing helps remove food particles and plaque between your teeth and gums, preventing stains and tooth decay. It is recommended you floss daily. However, flossing every second day is sufficient if you brush twice daily with an electric toothbrush for 2 minutes.

Avoid Staining Foods & Drinks

Certain foods and drinks can cause noticeable surface stains including:

  • Coffee and tea
  • Red wine
  • Berries 
  • Sugary foods

While it may be difficult to avoid them altogether, you can limit your intake or rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking. You can also use a straw when sipping beverages to reduce the contact between your teeth and the staining liquids.

Use Whitening Toothpaste

Whitening toothpaste contains ingredients that help to whiten your teeth over time. Many toothpastes have baking soda as an ingredient to boost whitening. Ask for your dentist’s advice, as some whitening toothpaste can cause tooth sensitivity.

Visit Your Dentist Regularly

Seeing your dental team every 6 months for professional teeth cleaning is crucial for maintaining a white smile. Your dentist can identify potential dental problems and offer advice on keeping your teeth clean and healthy.

Your dental team can also recommend alternative whitening methods, including in-office treatments to address deep stains, intrinsic stains inside the teeth, or age-related stains.

A woman sitting in a dentist’s chair and smiling into a handheld mirror while her dentist gently holds the sides of her face.

Take the First Step to a White Smile

Baking soda can undoubtedly make your teeth appear slightly whiter, but it is not a guaranteed teeth-whitening solution. If you want effective and longer-lasting teeth whitening, visit Kensington Dental Care and consider professional teeth whitening treatments.

However, if you want to use baking soda as a natural remedy, remember to maintain good oral hygiene practices like brushing and flossing regularly to keep your teeth healthy and bright.

Written by Dr. Geoff Van Blaricom

Dr. Geoff Van Blaricom has been practicing Dentistry for over 30 years. He is a member of the Canadian Dental Association, Alberta Dental Association and College as well as the American Dental Association.

More Articles By Dr. Geoff Van Blaricom

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