Baking Soda Teeth Whitening: Does it Really Work?

Written by Taylor DiGiro

January 09, 2019

Teeth whitening is all the rage these days as more and more people place an emphasis on the importance of white teeth. This has led to a huge increase in whitening strips, toothpaste, and “natural alternatives”. Where the latter is concerned, one of the most popular is baking soda. This kitchen staple has a number of uses and works great whether you're baking cakes or scrubbing countertops, but can it whiten your teeth?


 baking soda teeth whitening


Baking Soda for Teeth Whitening

Baking soda is cheap, abundant and safe. It can be found in most homes and with a little water or coconut oil it can easily be turned into a toothpaste. The problem is, that toothpaste probably won’t be as effective as you think.

Proponents of baking soda toothpaste claim that it is highly abrasive, but that’s simply not the case. It is certainly abrasive to an extent and will do more to clean your teeth than a toothbrush and water, but even the weakest whitening toothpaste brand is significantly more abrasive than baking sofa.

There is actually a Toothpaste Abrasion Scale that we can refer to here. This scale ranks all options, from “toothbrush with water” to advanced whitening toothpaste. It goes from a score of 04 all of the way to 200, with the lower end defined as “very low abrasive” and the higher end as “harmfully abrasive”.

“Baking soda” scores 07 on this scale, which means it is higher than a wet toothbrush, but lower than everything else. In other words, while it is clearly an abrasive substance, it simply doesn’t come close to even the weakest of whitening toothpaste.

Does it Work at all?

As a whitening toothpaste, baking soda isn’t very effective and you’ll notice more results with practically any commercial product. However, it is not completely useless. Baking soda froths in the mouth and helps to neutralize the acidity there, which in turn can help to reduce enamel damage and create a healthier environment in your mouth.

Baking soda, when used with a little water, is actually an adequate toothpaste. It cleans, it neutralizes, and it’s easy to get your hands on. If you add some fluoride to the mix, which can help to strength the enamel, it would be ideal. As a whitening toothpaste, however, it simply isn’t capable of doing what many people claim.

It also won’t come close to turning yellow teeth white, because most of the discoloration is the result of food and drink stains, as well as stains caused by age, medications, cigarettes, and other factors. These stains occur on the dentin and not the enamel, which means that no amount of surface scrubbing will remove them.

Keep reading to the bottom of the article to find out how you can remove those inner stains and get pearly whites.

Baking Soda and More

Baking soda is often used in combination with other common ingredients to create homemade toothpastes. Some recipes call for its inclusion as an abrasive, but as discussed above, it scores very low on the abrasion scale and should not be used for this reason. It can be used as an acidity neutralizer, but these homemade toothpaste ingredients aren’t always as effective as claim. They include:

  • Activated Charcoal: The theory behind why activated charcoal is effective is sound, but in practice it doesn’t quite work that way. Charcoal is abrasive, but a very finely powdered charcoal needs to be used to avoid damage to the teeth and it can also be an unpleasant and messy ingredient.
  • Turmeric: This potent superfood has a multitude of uses, but teeth whitening is not one of them. Recipes calling for its use as a toothpaste often warn against leaving it on your teeth for too long incase it stains. That alone should tell you why this yellow spice isn’t effective as a teeth whitener.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide: This bleach is available in a weak concentration and can be added, with relative safety, to homemade toothpaste. The problem is, the concentration needs to be strong to bleach your teeth and if it’s strong, it’s not safe to use as a toothpaste (because of the damage it can cause to lips and gums). It’s unlikely that you will notice significant changes with small amounts of a weak hydrogen peroxide solution.
  • Lemon Juice: The idea behind using lemon juice is that its acidity can pull stains and plaque from the teeth, but that acidity can also damage your enamel. Your dentist will be horrified if you tell them that you’re willingly putting lemon juice on your teeth, and it’s no wonder. It may be natural and widely available, but that doesn’t make it a safe or sensible choice as a teeth whitening ingredient.

  • What Does Work?

    While baking soda is a safe and cheap alternative to commercial toothpastes, it’s not what you need if you want gleaming white teeth. For that, you need a teeth whitening kit that bleaches the enamel and the dentin, but does so in a gentle way that does not damage the teeth or lead to sensitivity.

    The Snow Teeth Whitening Kit is one of the only products on the market that can do this. We spent over $2.3 million developing a formula that was effective enough to whiten teeth in 10 minutes, but gentle enough not to cause sensitivity. The end result is the only product on the market that is quick, effective and affordable, but won’t damage your teeth or lead to sensitivity.

    By all means keep that homemade baking soda toothpaste to hand. It can serve its purpose in scrubbing your teeth and helping to maintain oral health. But if you want something that will actually whiten, then pickup a Snow Teeth Whitening Kit today.