It’s true that most patients looking to improve the appearance of their smile turn to whitening treatments as a method of getting that beautiful smile they’ve always wanted. This statistic has led to an enormous teeth whitening industry, with solutions ranging from dubious online bleaching kits to professional treatments.
But not everyone wants to pay for a full in-office whitening treatment, or they may only be looking for a milder remedy to lift their smile by a couple of shades. There are countless ideas for simple, home-made whitening remedies recommended on the web, and baking soda is one of the most popular.
This household substance is claimed to be a safe, speedy, and effective home whitening solution which avoids both the expense of professional whitening treatment and the dangers of over-the-counter bleaching kits.
But is this too good to be true? Unfortunately, yes.
The Baking Soda Whitening Theory Explained:
Baking soda’s effectiveness as a whitener is attributed to the alkaline chemicals it contains. These are said to weaken the impurities which cause staining, loosening the molecules from the dental enamel surface.
This effect, its supporters say, can be enhanced by mixing it with a little hydrogen peroxide. Then, the abrasive texture of a baking soda mix physically scrapes the stains away as you brush.
So, Does Baking Soda Work?
This home treatment can produce results, and using baking soda a couple of times a week can lead to gentle whitening by a shade or two. Unfortunately, there are several major drawbacks to go alongside this minor benefit.
• Overexposure to baking soda begins to strip the dental surface as well as the impurities, leading to sensitive teeth and weaker enamel.
• This damage can easily occur if you don’t thoroughly rinse your mouth after every treatment, or if you get the proportions of baking soda to hydrogen peroxide wrong.
• Experts don’t agree on a safe frequency for baking soda use, with some saying even once a week is too often, others saying three-times weekly is fine.
• Weaker enamel increases the risk of damage, cavities, and decay.
• Once the enamel is damaged, further staining can become permanent and impossible to remove, even with professional whitening.
• Baking soda doesn’t kill stain-causing bacteria; it only scrapes the residues off the enamel surface. There is no effect on deeper, more ingrained staining.
• Baking soda can irritate gums, especially when mixed with other home whitening agents such as strawberries or lemon juice.
Millard Family Dentistry offers several safe, effective, and affordable alternatives to keep your smile happy and healthy in the long-term.
This combination of limited results and possible dangers makes baking soda a poor choice for home whitening. If you’re on a budget, it’s better to ask Dr. Ryan for his medically approved, suggested products such as whitening toothpaste, mouthwash, strips, or trays.
These products are all effective to a worthwhile extent. They’re also much safer than the cheap over-the-counter whitening kits available online, which promise miracles but are unregulated and could contain unsafe ingredients.