A bowl with baking soda in and three wooden toothbrushes at the bottom left.

Can you whiten teeth with baking soda?

Want to brighten up your smile by whitening your teeth?

As you may probably know, there are lots of teeth-whitening products out there that have been specifically manufactured to give your gnashers that Hollywood glow. These include toothpastes, teeth strips, moulds and entire home teeth whitening kits.

Now, some of these products happen to contain baking soda which, yes, is the same baking soda you use to make cakes, bread, or whatever it is you may be baking, to make it rise.

It may sound a bizarre, but you can take that little tub from your kitchen cupboard and give it a new home in your bathroom cabinet. Because this baking ingredient staple, is renowned for having natural teeth-whitening properties.1

Does baking soda whiten teeth?


 If the thought of using this baking ingredient to brush your teeth has blown your brain a little bit, it’s actually not that unusual a thing to do.

You see, baking soda to whiten teeth isn’t a new phenomenon (sorry), it happens to be a familiar ingredient in quite a few commercial toothpastes. In fact, it’s actually one of the main selling points for some brands, and a study in 2011 found that toothpastes that contain baking soda were better at preventing stains and whitening teeth than silica-based alternatives.2 When popped on your teeth, baking soda works as a mild abrasive that scrubs away at surface stains and gradually brightens teeth over time – that’s one of the more known about facts. But it also has an additional power – it can make the inside of your mouth an alkaline environment, which can help fight harmful bacteria.3

Is it safe to whiten teeth with baking soda?

Well, it’s been given the thumbs up by the American Dental Association, who say it’s safe for your enamel and dentin.4 However, it’s important to note there is some industry advice/insight out there that says:
  • You shouldn’t use it too often, as over-doing it can potentially damage your enamel
  • And you shouldn’t use baking soda instead of toothpaste because it doesn’t contain any fluoride, which is needed to help protect teeth from developing cavities and helps strengthen teeth5

How often should you brush your teeth with baking soda?

The general consensus is that you shouldn’t be reaching for the baking soda every day, no matter how keen you are to brighten your teeth. Ideally, you should use it sparingly; only a few times a week. And when you do use it, you should rinse it off within two minutes of applying it (for the reasons listed above).6

Brushing teeth with baking soda – how to do it


Do you literally just dip your toothbrush in your baking soda pot and away you go? Is that all you do? Or is there more to using baking powder for teeth?

There’s a bit of knack to using it, and it’s one that’s relatively straightforward to master. If you’re planning on giving it a go, then you’ll need to grab:

  • Your toothbrush
  • A small bowl/container
  • A tub of baking soda
  • Some clean water

A step-by-step guide to brushing teeth with baking soda:

  1. Start off by mixing up your baking soda and water in your bowl/container until it forms a paste.
  2. Then grab your toothbrush and dip it into the paste.
  3. Apply it to your teeth, using gentle circles and making sure all of your teeth have been evenly covered with the paste mixture.
  4. Gently brush for around a minute.
  5. Spit out the baking soda.
  6. Rinse out your mouth with water until your teeth feel grit-free and shiny.7

3 alternative ways to whiten your teeth

If you like the sound of using natural ingredients other than baking soda to whiten your teeth, then you may be interested to hear there are some other things you can try. For example:8

  1. Hydrogen peroxide – which happens to be a natural bleaching agent that’s capable of killing mouth bacteria, just like baking soda can.

  2. Strawberries – mixing strawberries with baking soda is a widely-used trick that’s reportedly used by celebs. The malic acid in strawberries can help with discolouration, while the baking soda does its thing by buffing away stains. (For more on teeth-friendly food read, ‘7 foods that are good for your teeth.’)

  3. Oil pulling – involves swishing oil (sunflower, sesame or coconut oil) around your mouth to help remove the bacteria that can cause plaque and make teeth look yellow. Its effect on teeth whitening hasn’t been scientifically proven, however lots of people have claimed that regular oil pulling has worked for them.
For more on using natural ingredients to give you pearly whites, check out this article, ‘Natural teeth whitening advice for a sparkling smile.’

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Last Updated: 19th October 2020

Sources:
  1. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/whiten-teeth-naturally#2.-Brush-with-baking-soda
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22403983/
  3. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/whiten-teeth-naturally#2.-Brush-with-baking-soda
  4. https://www.healthline.com/health/baking-soda-toothpaste#how-to-use
  5. https://www.bhandaldentistry.co.uk/news/teeth-whitening-baking-soda#:~:text=Baking%20soda%20will%20generally%20need,two%20minutes%20at%20a%20time.
  6. https://food.ndtv.com/beauty/brushing-your-teeth-with-baking-soda-is-it-safe-or-not-1663948
  7. https://www.healthline.com/health/baking-soda-toothpaste#how-to-use
  8. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/whiten-teeth-naturally#1.-Practice-oil-pulling
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