Does Baking Soda Actually Whiten Teeth?

A woman holds up a toothbrush and a cup of baking soda.

When it comes to teeth whitening, there are a lot of methods out there. From dentist offices’ professional whitening treatments to at-home kits designed to lift teeth staining, you’ve got options. But if you’re looking for an affordable way to whiten teeth, it might already be in your pantry.

Baking soda can be an effective stain remover resulting in the appearance of whiter teeth, but there are things to keep in mind.

When browsing the toothpaste aisle, you’ve likely noticed baking soda is a common ingredient in several major brands’ formulas. That’s for good reason. Studies have shown that it’s effective at removing stains from teeth due to its mildly abrasive nature. You can use it alone.

To try this DIY teeth whitening method, you mix a tablespoon of baking soda with a tablespoon of water to create a paste. Then, brush your teeth with the mixture as you would with normal toothpaste. You should, however, be cautious doing so too often as the abrasiveness can damage the enamel if done too frequently.

If you see a recommendation to make your paste with hydrogen peroxide instead of water, dentists don’t recommend the method of use. Dentist Rhonda Kalasho told Glamour UK that mixing baking soda and a corrosive element like hydrogen peroxide can damage the teeth.

Ultimately, while pure baking soda can be effective, the best course of action appears to be opting for a toothpaste with baking soda as an ingredient. They’re formulated safely and can help prevent cavities—a task baking soda can’t do.

As for other DIY whitening solutions, you might want to rethink your iced tea.

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