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Does Baking Soda Whiten Teeth?

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

The internet is home to countless home remedies, do-it-yourself (DIY) solutions, and teeth whitening products. Is baking soda bad for your teeth? Does it actually whiten them? We’re here to tell you what the pros have to say about the effectiveness and safety of using baking soda to whiten your teeth.

Baking Soda and Teeth Whitening

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a type of salt readily available in most homes. On its own, it usually looks like a small crystal (similar to table salt) or a fine powder. One practical use of baking soda in dental products is as a toothpaste ingredient.

You can generally whiten your teeth in two ways: by bleaching the teeth with peroxides or using an abrasive to remove stains. Baking soda is an abrasive that can help remove stains when rubbed against your teeth's hard outer layer known as the enamel.

Considering using toothpaste with baking soda? Luckily, toothpaste containing baking soda is effective and safe for whitening teeth, according to the Journal of the American Dental Association. Even better, baking soda is less abrasive than many alternatives and similar in hardness to your teeth’s dentin. Together, these factors make it a safe option for daily use in your oral care routine.

Because baking soda removes discoloration from the surface of your teeth, it won’t remove deeper stains. According to the Mayo Clinic, toothpaste containing baking soda can help coffee and smoking stains, and it could take between two to six weeks for you to notice a difference.

If a toothpaste containing baking soda doesn’t whiten your teeth as much as you’d like, consider scheduling an appointment with a dentist or dental hygienist. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, professional whitening treatments can work as well as weeks of at-home options, so they might be a great choice for your smile.

Helpful tip: Baking soda is not the same as baking powder. Unlike baking soda, baking powder also contains acid and cornstarch used as an ingredient in baking. You won’t find any toothpaste with baking powder!

Homemade Remedies

When it comes to whitening your teeth, it’s important to remember that there are no magic solutions, and you should consider your safety first.

Tooth whitening remedies involving baking soda mixed with less well-studied ingredients have been popularized online due to their low cost, wide availability of ingredients, and simplicity of use. Sadly, popular doesn’t mean safe and effective, so it’s best to stick with products formulated by the pros.

It's a good idea to avoid whitening tips shared via amateur blogs and remember that do-it-yourself (DIY) solutions can be dangerous. It can be hard to measure ingredients on your own, and you may irritate your tooth’s pulp when using whitening remedies.

We recommend consulting your dental professional before using any whitening remedies or products.

Other Oral Care Tips

Baking soda can help out with whitening your teeth but isn’t sufficient on its own to prevent cavities, gum disease, and other dental problems. Using toothpaste with baking soda shouldn’t be seen as a replacement for any part of your dental routine but as a complement to it.

The good news is a proper oral care routine is a big step towards keeping your mouth healthy and your teeth pearly white.

Important tips for your oral care:

  • Use toothpaste or mouthwash that contains fluoride, or drink fluoridated water (like most tap water) to help protect your teeth. Many kinds of toothpaste contain both baking soda and fluoride!
  • Brush your teeth for two minutes two times a day, and be sure to use gentle strokes so as to not damage your teeth or gums.
  • Floss once a day to remove food matter and plaque from the area between your teeth.
  • Eat a balanced, healthy diet that’s not too high in sugary or acidic items.
  • Avoid smoking and tobacco products.

Baking soda has been proven to be a smart choice to whiten your teeth but isn’t a fix-all for your dental health. Be sure to practice a full oral care routine and consult with your dental professional if you’re considering using whitening products. You’re now set up for success with knowledge on the use and safety of baking soda to whiten teeth.


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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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