Does Baking Soda Really Whiten Teeth?

baking sodaBaking soda is advertised as a multi-purpose household staple that can be used to mask smells, brighten your clothes, and yes, even whiten your teeth. While we can’t speak on its effectiveness in any other form, my dental office in Chicago can support the claim that baking soda can, in fact, whiten teeth. But before you head out to buy a box and begin brushing with it, there are some things you need to know.

There Are Times When it Won’t Work

Unfortunately, baking soda doesn’t work for everyone or every situation. While it’s abrasive texture can remove some minor surface stains, it’s not as successful at eliminating deeper staining. When tooth discoloration seeps below the surface, baking soda won’t touch it and you’ll need to explore alternative whitening options to get rid of it. But don’t worry, there are solutions for everyone. Whether it’s a professional in-office whitening treatment, at-home trays and whitening gel, or cosmetic dentistry like veneers, you can get a bright, white smile that you’ll want to show off. Talk with your dentist in Chicago to find out which is most appropriate solution for you.

How to Use It

If you’d like to give baking soda a shot at whitening your smile, there’s a right way to do it to limit damage. Make sure you follow the steps below.

  • Mix the baking soda with water. This takes a bit of the abrasiveness away, yet keeps it effective.
  • Don’t brush hard, maintain your normal brushing technique of small, gentle circles.
  • Limit its use to once or twice a week, maximum.
  • Don’t replace your traditional toothpaste with baking soda — it’s not an effective substitute as it doesn’t protect against bacteria, decay, or gum disease.

There Are Some Risks

What can be risky about baking soda, you ask? If used incorrectly, it may actually do more harm than good. The same abrasive texture that makes it an effective way to erase staining is also the same thing that can lead to more serious concerns. When baking soda is used too often or if brushing is too rough, it can damage tooth enamel, leaving teeth exposed to decay. Decreased enamel also increases the likelihood of tooth sensitivity, which can be pretty painful. Baking soda shouldn’t be used if you have braces as there is a chance the baking soda can weaken the glue.
Are you looking to get a whiter smile and want to check out your options? Give my Chicago dental office a call to schedule an appointment. We’ll look into what may be causing your discoloration and explore which treatment options would be most effective for you.

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(312)818-2441
Monica Urda, DDS
1755 W North Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622
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