Who doesn’t want pearly white teeth to show off when they smile? Majority of us do, right? Clinical teeth whitening can be a costly affair for many. Many people resort to baking soda for teeth whitening at home. Baking soda is nothing but sodium bicarbonate, which is an alkaline substance and has the property of removing stains. Having said this, you should be careful while using baking soda for teeth whitening.

In this article, we will see how to whiten teeth with baking soda, precautions, and benefits.

What is baking soda?

The chemical name of baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, and it is an alkaline substance. The white crystalline chemical compound appears as a fine powder.  The alkalinity helps get rid of tooth discolorations.

Most common causes of tooth discoloration are smoking and excessive consumption of tea and coffee. Baking soda can remove only the extrinsic stains (1) and not intrinsic stains. The mild abrasiveness of baking soda also helps remove plaque on teeth.

How to use baking soda for teeth whitening?

The most common method is mixing baking soda with water to form a paste. You can brush your teeth with this paste. There are many methods to make the baking soda mix. Some people also combine the baking soda with an acidic substance like vinegar or lemon juice.

But the acidity causes gum irritation and erosion of tooth enamel. So, it’s better to avoid this mixing with acidic liquids.

Procedure to use baking soda as a paste

  • Brush teeth for two minutes using this paste and then rinse off thoroughly. Leaving the paste on for too long might cause erosion of enamel.
  • Brush with a fluoride-containing toothpaste afterward as baking soda cannot prevent caries. Due to its mild abrasiveness, it might cause erosion of enamel surface if used regularly. Use this paste every alternate day to avoid causing harm to teeth.
  • You can mix baking soda with your toothpaste itself if possible. You will notice results within a few days, but noticeable whiteness will be visible in a couple of weeks (2).
  • Baking soda mixed with hydrogen peroxide, strawberries, and apple cider vinegar are few other methods of using baking soda concoction.

How to deal with sensitivity after teeth whitening?

Some people might feel their teeth has become sensitive after brushing with baking soda. Some might feel a tingling or mild burning sensation. If the burning sensation persists, discontinue using the paste.

Those who feel mild sensitivity should use a sensitivity toothpaste to help deal with sensitivity.

How to avoid discoloration after teeth whitening?

Whitening is not permanent- done at home or the dental chair. Period! You will have to let go of your habits like smoking or excessive consumption of tea/coffee if you want to avoid “return of the stains.”

Try using a straw while consuming stain-causing liquids. Straw will ensure that your teeth don’t come in contact with the liquid. If you don’t let go of your smoking habits, then the whole procedure will fall flat on its face.

Benefits of baking soda for teeth whitening

Baking soda not only whitens teeth but also has other positive effects on the oral cavity. Baking soda helps in maintaining the alkaline pH of the oral cavity (3) and the process is cheap.

Also, baking soda helps fight bad odor by eliminating the odor instead of masking the bad odor temporarily like in the case of mouth fresheners.

Disadvantages of baking soda for teeth whitening

  • The main drawback is the abrasiveness of the baking soda powder. If it is used in excess, then it may weaken the enamel and causes several dental issues such as erosion of enamel, tooth sensitivity, brittle teeth, cavity or caries.
  • Baking soda doesn’t have the property to prevent caries, so it cannot be used alone. Every time after you use baking soda, teeth should be brushed using toothpaste and rinse thoroughly. If you wear braces or retainers then avoid using baking soda since it might react and leave dark spots on the tooth surface.
  • People with receding gums should avoid using baking soda since the tooth surface protected by gums is exposed in this case. This region is weaker and more sensitive than the enamel. Using baking soda will only worsen the tooth by hastening the erosion process.
  • Erosion of tooth surface is an irreversible process. Hence, it is important not to overuse baking soda in teeth whitening.

Over to you on baking soda for teeth whitening

Baking soda is a mild abrasive and excessive use will cause harm to teeth. So, it should be used judiciously. Baking soda is a cheap and effective method to whiten teeth.

Do keep in mind that teeth whitening is a momentary fix. If you want the effect to last longer then consider changing a few habits to get that sparkly smile.

Baking soda is nothing but sodium bicarbonate, which is an alkaline substance and has the property of removing stains. Having said this, you should be careful while using baking soda for teeth whitening.
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