Does Whitening Teeth With Baking Soda Really Work?

Red wine, fruit juice, coffee, tea, and cola are just a few of the things known to stain your teeth (via Healthline). There are many teeth whitening treatments that work to counteract this staining effect, but are they worth it? Might there be an easier, cheaper solution?

According to Greeley Dental Care, the simple answer is yes: Baking soda can help whiten your teeth. Also scientifically known as bicarbonate of soda or sodium bicarbonate, baking soda can act as a natural teeth whitener that won't damage your tooth enamel. This is because it's an abrasive, meaning it can remove stains, but a light one, meaning it won't harm you in the process. What's more, baking soda is alkaline, meaning it's especially good at removing stains from acidic foods and drinks, such as common culprits like coffee and wine (via The Garden Island). Some companies in the teeth care industry already sell toothpastes made with baking soda to give a whitening effect to the user over time, but you can also treat yourself with standard baking soda. It's not just good for cookies!

Here's how to properly use baking soda for whiter teeth

You can apply baking soda to the teeth in a number of ways, but the easiest to mix it with water to make a paste. Hawaii Family Dental recommends using just a few drops of water in a bowl with half a teaspoon of baking soda. They recommend brushing your teeth with this paste for no longer than two minutes, after which you can rinse it off and feel refreshed. This concoction whitens while also helping to prevent tooth decay.

When using this baking soda treatment, you want to do it every other day rather than every day to give your teeth chances to breathe between applications. You also want to keep the treatment to one or two weeks at a time. Finally, positive results can be seen as early as after a few uses, but ultimately will be more clear after two or so weeks of using baking soda on your teeth. 

Baking soda isn't perfect, though. New York dentist Dr. Gerald Grossman explains that continually using baking soda may make your gums more sensitive or create nerve damage (via CNN). Furthermore, Ohio dentist Dr. Matt Messina tells CNN, "You might see short-term whitening with an abrasive, as it will remove surface stains and teeth may get whiter quickly, but the long-term damage is in no way worth that."

Ultimately, using baking soda is up to you, but there are other ways to whiten your teeth, so don't be afraid to try different approaches and figure out what's best for you!