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Is it Safe to Whiten Your Teeth with Baking Soda?

Photo: two women brushing with hello toothpaste

There are tons of teeth whitening products and DIY whitening “hacks” being advertised out there on the internet, but not all of them are created equally. In fact, many aren’t effective – and some may even be straight-up bad for your teeth.

Let’s talk about one of the most popular tricks on the internet: using baking soda to whiten your teeth. Here’s what you should keep in mind if you’re planning on taking this kitchen essential out of the pantry and bringing it into the bathroom.

Is Brushing with Baking Soda Bad for Your Teeth?

Can you brush with baking soda? The short answer is yes – if you incorporate baking soda into your brushing regimen, it shouldn’t lead to consequences like increased tooth sensitivity or enamel erosion. That’s because baking soda is very low on the RDA (Relative Dentin Abrasivity) scale – a measurement system used to determine how rough a toothpaste material is.

The American Dental Association (ADA) has established an abrasiveness scale, referred to as an RDA (Relative Dental Abrasivity) rating for toothpastes. The safe range goes from 0 to 250, and kind of like that class you took Pass/Fail back in the day: anything under 250 is considered safe according to ADA standards, and anything above 250 is considered to be a potential hazard to your enamel.

Does Baking Soda Really Whiten Teeth?

While baking soda’s super-low abrasivity value ensures it’s a safe substance to use on your teeth, this supreme gentleness doesn’t necessarily do it any favors as a whitener. That’s because whitening toothpastes typically work by gently polishing your teeth to physically remove stains from their surfaces. A certain level of abrasivity needs to be present in a toothpaste for this polishing, brightening magic to happen.

Other Things Tooth Think About

If you still feel like brushing with baking soda might be a good choice for you, we recommend that you apply the powdery white stuff carefully to avoid too much bathroom cleanup after the fact. It’s also worth mentioning that baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) has a salty taste to it when used au naturel, so make sure your taste buds are prepared.

While we’ve established that you can absolutely use baking soda on its own, you may want to consider a toothpaste formulation that simply incorporates it as one of its ingredients instead. This can lead to better whitening outcomes and also a more palatable taste to have in your mouth multiple times a day. (You are brushing your teeth twice a day, aren’t you?)

Gentle Whitening Alternatives

If gentle but effective whitening products are important to you, you’ve come to the right place. hello toothpastes are formulated with naturally friendly ingredients that’ll brighten your smile without the risk of dental damage or discomfort. Naturally friendly whitening options are waiting for you here.

Oral Health
hello team member

about the author

Connie is our Director of R+D, which not only means she created the formulations for our products, but that she has more degrees than a thermometer. One of her degrees is an MS in food biochemistry, and she was a research scientist in Pepsi’s Product Innovation Group before deciding to focus cavity prevention and optimized oral health. When she’s not climbing, hiking, ultra-marathoning, playing guitar or making awesome brownies with chickpea flour, she’s whipping up the most naturally friendly oral care products around. If you let us know you’re coming for a visit, Connie might be able to craft a custom paste for you….or maybe just rock some of her awesome brownies for you.

Learn more about our editorial policy here.

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