Q: I’ve heard that brushing with baking soda helps whiten teeth — is that true?
A: Brushing with baking soda does technically whiten teeth by reducing the appearance of surface stains — but be careful. Due to its mildly abrasive nature, using it more than once a week can damage tooth enamel and gum tissue. Those with braces or other types of dental fittings should not use baking soda as it can weaken the dental glue used for these types of procedures.
Another factor to consider is that by not using a fluoridated toothpaste you are losing the benefits of fluoride. You will still need to use fluoridated toothpaste to help strengthen your enamel and lower your risk of cavities.
However, baking soda can help protect against plaque build-up which helps prevent cavities, dental decay and gum disease and neutralizes bacteria that causes bad breath. Baking soda is essentially a salt and can, therefore, kill bad bacteria in our mouth by being a natural antimicrobial.
A common belief is that the combination of baking soda and acidic substances, like lemon juice, will lead to better results; this is not true and can, in fact, be more harmful for your teeth as the acid removes calcium from teeth which can lead to dental corrosion and may cause gum inflammation.
Learn more about at-home teeth whitening options by reading this Ask a Dentist post.
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