Many people have heard of the natural way to whiten teeth at home using a baking soda paste created simply from adding a bit of water to the powder. Using baking soda to whiten teeth is an attractive alternative to people since it is readily available in your home and cheap to use. We have seen the refreshing qualities when it is used to deodorize a carpet or refrigerator. You may have even used a similar paste technique to clean stains from grout or other surfaces. However, using it to benefit your oral hygiene is much different than those types of uses.
So, does using baking soda to whiten teeth really work? Are there precautions to this method of whitening? This article will attempt to enlighten you as to things to consider before you use baking soda to whiten teeth.
6 Things to Consider When Using Baking Soda to Whiten Teeth
1. Use the Method Properly
Sodium bicarbonate, also more commonly known as baking soda, is a mild abrasive which gives it that surface stain removing quality. How exactly do you use it to whiten your teeth? Here is a common method.
How to apply:
- Mix equal parts of water and baking soda to create a paste.
- You can also wet a toothbrush and dip it into the baking soda.
- Gently brush your teeth surfaces with the paste trying to avoid too much contact with your gum line.
2. How Effective Is It Really?
Due to its abrasive nature, baking soda does provide a degree of stain removing qualities. However, because you are only supposed to gently brush with it, that degree is not very dramatic. You may see a slight whitening effect but do not expect to come away with a dazzling white smile. To achieve a brighter, more dramatic whitening effect you will have to utilize another method.
Effective Whitening Methods:
- Professionally applied methods available at your dental office
- Over the counter whitening strips you can use at home
- Whitening trays are also available at your local drug store
- Many toothpastes offer whitening over time through the use of their product regularly
3. A Word of Caution
So, why all this emphasis on gently brushing when using baking soda to whiten teeth? Why can you not brush more rigorously if you can get a better result?
- Due to the abrasiveness of baking soda, rough brushing can actually cause damage to the enamel of your teeth.
- Damaged enamel can lead to other issues such as tooth sensitivity and a higher risk for tooth decay.
4. Not for Everyone
Since baking soda can actually be effective for taking care of surface stains it can still be of use to some during their oral care routine. However, if you are someone who wears braces or have had dental restoration done, you should not use baking soda to whiten teeth. This is because the abrasive nature and composition of baking soda can actually soften the adhesive used in these types of procedures. With as expensive as dental procedures are, you would not want to risk damaging them.
If you choose to use baking soda, be sure to use it gently to avoid damaging the enamel of your teeth because of the abrasive quality in baking soda. Also be sure to add it to your routine instead of using it to replace your routine. This is because you still need fluoride to protect your teeth and help prevent tooth decay. A bright eye catching smile is great but not at the expense of your dental health.
5. Another Possible Unwanted Side Effect
Even with gentle brushing you may experience an uncomfortable side effect. When you brush the gritty paste over the surface of your teeth it is likely to make contact with your gum line. This grit can get pushed into your gum line causing irritation.
In fact, just the rubbing of the grit over your gum line can cause irritation and discomfort. This is yet another reason to be careful and brush gently if you do in fact decide to use baking soda to whiten teeth.
6. Negating Your Regular Routine
Many people think that just because you can achieve slight whitening with baking soda that it is a great cleaning method and choose to forego the use of other oral hygiene products such as toothpaste. This is a bad misconception. Baking soda, while it can whiten teeth a bit, does not contain other important ingredients important to your dental routine. Toothpastes contain fluoride which is important to keeping teeth strong to prevent decay, reduce germs, and stop cavities from forming.
With the abrasiveness of baking soda, using fluoride to keep the enamel strong is even more so important. Thus, it may benefit you to add baking soda to your routine but do not negate the other steps including rinses, toothpaste, and flossing. You can even find products on the shelves of your local retailer that include an amount of baking soda in them for extra benefit.
In the End
Using baking soda to whiten teeth is a popular method because most people already have it in their home, it is inexpensive, and it is easy to use. Though it can offer a slight level of whitening because it is effective at helping to remove surface and newer stains, you will need to talk to your dentist or use over the counter whitening products to achieve a brighter white for those older and deeper stains.
Do you use baking soda as a means to whiten your smile? How effective do you find it to be? Do you have any other facts or tips to keep in mind if you want to use baking soda to whiten teeth? Please take the time to leave any questions you may have that others can help you answer, experiences you would like to share, or helpful information to share.