Looking Into Natural Teeth Whitening: Baking Soda

​​Baking soda has many beneficial health effects and can be used to make those pearly whites pearlier

Credits: Tanja Heffner at
Tammy Wu
Edited By:
Raja Sivamani , MD, MS, AP

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is often in the form of a white powder that can be found in almost every household. Its never-ending list of uses never stops to amaze me. From deodorizing the sink to cleaning the stains on our pots and pans, to even providing whitening properties for the teeth!  It is actually used in a lot of whitening products and is used sometimes with a gentle bleaching agent. 


What Does Baking Soda Do?

A study that looked at the effects of sodium bicarbonate on teeth color found that baking soda lightened teeth color after 10 consecutive days of use. This study also showed that although the abrasive property of baking soda is often what allows for stain removal, brushing the teeth after applying the whitening agent is necessary to enhance the stain-removing ability on the teeth. It physically removes the layer of plaque built up on our teeth. Describing baking soda as being abrasive may sound scary, but do not worry because baking soda is actually less abrasive than many other ingredients used for stain removal.  You can also relate it to how we exfoliate our skin to remove the dead skin cells.

Another clinical study was performed on people with gingivitis. Gingivitis is a gum disease often resulting from an accumulation of plaque on the teeth. There was improvement observed in the symptoms of gingivitis, including the bleeding and inflammation of the gums, after using toothpaste that contained 67% sodium bicarbonate.


Baking Soda Used As a Polishing Powder?

Sodium bicarbonate can be used as a polishing powder for air-abrasion, a technique used by dentists to polish and remove stains on the teeth. Abrasive particles or powders from a nozzle are aimed at the teeth in a high-velocity stream to physically remove the stains. This is a technique you may have received in one of your visits to the dentist. Researchers wanted to find more information about the susceptibility of our teeth to acid challenge after treatment. One of the tests they performed was using the air-abrasion technology with different polishing powders to see which powders were the least abrasive but still effective. Sodium bicarbonate was found to be one of the more gentle powders, whereas some other powders were too harsh and eroded the enamel of the teeth leading to increased sensitivity to citric acids in fruits and drinks.    

If you are someone who is looking to improve the color of your teeth, perhaps you would like to try changing your toothpaste into one that contains sodium bicarbonate. Although many studies have been made proving the effectiveness of this ingredient, it is always advised to limit the usage of this ingredient especially if you were to do it yourself. There are many DIYs online where baking soda could be added in your toothpaste or used along with hydrogen peroxide, but it is important to be cautious from over usage as it could harm instead of help your teeth and gums.    

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