Baking soda is a household staple with a plethora of uses, from baking to cleaning. But did you know, baking soda is also an effective at-home teeth whitening solution? Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, has been used to whiten teeth for decades due to its abrasive, yet gentle, exfoliating power that sloughs away surface stains and cleans teeth.
Sodium bicarbonate is a naturally occurring chemical compound that comes in the form of a fine powder substance and has both anticaries and abrasive properties. The anticaries found in baking soda prevent tooth decay, while the texture of baking soda scrubs away plaque and reveals brighter-looking teeth. Baking soda also aids in neutralizing the pH balance of the mouth, reducing harmful acids that may erode enamel. In this way, baking soda both cleans and whitens teeth.
Accessible and affordable, baking soda can be found in nearly every grocery store and pharmacy for only a few dollars, bringing the cost of whitening treatments down to mere pennies. However, baking soda is not super effective at erasing deep-set stains or transforming enamel shade overnight. While baking soda can help brighten your smile, it often must be used consistently for long periods of time to yield results and is better suited for maintenance between more powerful whitening treatments to get powerful results.
5 Recipes to Whiten Teeth with Baking Soda
Using baking soda to whiten is fairly simple. Baking soda can be combined with other household staples to make a variety of formulas to help whiten teeth.
Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide
Perhaps the most effective combination to whiten teeth is baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Baking soda acts as a physical abrasive to manually buff away stains and clean teeth, while hydrogen peroxide chemically whitens enamel. The result is a smile that is clean and bright.
Hydrogen peroxide is an active ingredient in most professional whitening products, and for good reason. This safe, natural substance whitens teeth effectively to drastically improve the shade of enamel. While only professional-grade products contain highly concentrated hydrogen peroxide gel formulas, hydrogen peroxide can be found in lower concentrations wherever you buy groceries. Much like baking soda, this clear liquid has a variety of household uses and is excellent to have on hand for first-aid purposes.
To combine baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to whiten teeth at home, simply combine a teaspoon of baking soda with a small amount of hydrogen peroxide until gritty paste forms. Then apply to teeth with a soft-bristle toothbrush and brush as usual. Some users find it helpful to follow up with regular toothpaste and a thorough rinse to remove lingering grittiness and alkaline flavor from the baking soda.
While this method is effective, it takes consistent use to see results. For example, most individuals don’t find that baking soda with hydrogen peroxide whitens teeth dramatically. Still, it can improve your shade over time if you brush with this mixture twice daily. Another downside is messiness: though baking soda and hydrogen peroxide are safe, the hydrogen peroxide may bleach towels and clothing.
Baking Soda and Toothpaste
Perhaps the most straightforward way to add baking soda to your oral hygiene routine is by using it as a toothpaste topper. While most of us already brush with a whitening-formula toothpaste, you can still harness the added whitening power of baking soda by adding it on top of your toothpaste to scrub away at stuck-on stains.
To add baking soda to your toothpaste, pour a small amount of baking soda into a shallow bowl or dish. After you’ve applied a pea-sized amount of toothpaste to a soft bristle toothbrush, roll the toothpaste in baking soda to coat in the fine powder, then brush as usual. This will act as a secondary cleaning and whitening to break down stains and clean teeth.
If you’re looking for a more straightforward way to use baking soda as a toothpaste, look for toothpaste formulated with baking soda as an active ingredient. This effective-but-gentle formulation is prevalent and can usually be found in most pharmacies.
Baking Soda and Water
Looking for something mild but effective to whiten teeth? Using a mixture of baking soda and water can help buff away stains with little to no irritation, even on sensitive teeth. To use baking soda and water to whiten, simply combine 1 tsp baking soda and a small amount of water until paste forms, then use to brush teeth with circular motions, followed by a thorough rinse.
Baking Soda Mouthwash
Baking soda mouthwash has been used for years to gently clean, disinfect, and balance the pH balance of the mouth for optimal oral health. It’s so effective that many oral hygiene brands now carry baking soda mouth rinse formulas in their product lineups. However, creating a baking soda mouthwash at home is just as easy.
To create a baking soda mouthwash, simply combine ¼ tsp baking soda with ⅛ tsp salt and 1 cup of warm water and stir to dissolve soda and salt. Swish this rinse as you would a regular mouthwash, and then spit. You may want to follow up with a plain water rinse, as well.
Baking Soda and Lemon Juice
Baking soda is a proven way to buff away stains, and lemon is also known to whiten teeth effectively. The acids found in lemon juice work to chemically break down surface stains, revealing whiter enamel. To use baking soda with lemon juice, mix equal parts lemon juice and baking soda until runny paste forms. Brush twice daily with this paste to gently erase stains and brighten enamel.
Baking soda is very safe, but as with any new teeth whitening routine, you should check with your doctor before beginning a new whitening regime. In addition, large amounts of baking soda can be harmful, but it is improbable that this dosage would be reached when using baking soda for teeth whitening. Still, use only the prescribed amount of baking soda to begin and discontinue use if any reaction or irritation occurs.