Does Brushing Teeth With Baking Soda Really Work?

Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) is a household staple used primarily in baking and cleaning. However, some people use baking soda for health-related conditions, like soothing mouth sores, heartburn, and brushing teeth.

Research supports using baking soda paste to clean and whiten teeth, but the taste and texture of baking soda can be off-putting. As an alternative, dental products that contain baking soda are widely available.

This article discusses the pros and cons of brushing your teeth with baking soda.

Man brushing his teeth
Marc Romanelli/Getty Images

Is It Safe to Brush Teeth With Baking Soda?

Researchers have studied whether baking soda as toothpaste is safe. Studies have concluded the following about its safety as a dental cleaner:

  • Low abrasiveness
  • Does not contribute to root sensitivity
  • Safe for people on low-salt diets

In addition, researchers evaluated baking soda's abrasiveness in commercial toothpastes and found that products containing baking soda are safe and low abrasive.

You generally swallow 5% to 7% of the toothpaste you're brushing with. At these low levels, baking soda is safe to ingest.


Brushing teeth with baking soda offers numerous benefits. It is an inexpensive way to whiten teeth, and it can reduce plaque and the risk of gingivitis (gum disease).

Whitens Teeth

The mild abrasiveness of baking soda makes it an ideal product for scrubbing away stains, and research supports its use as a teeth whitener. One study found that baking soda toothpaste was effective as a stain remover and whitener.

Is Inexpensive

Baking soda is cheap. So, if you're on a budget and can't afford expensive teeth whitening procedures or products, baking soda makes a great low-cost alternative.

Reduces Plaque and Gingivitis

Baking soda is an excellent scrubbing agent to remove plaque, a sticky coating of bacteria that builds up on teeth. Its cleansing properties make it ideal for keeping your mouth clean.

One study found that toothpaste containing baking soda is effective at removing plaque biofilm. In another study, researchers found baking soda toothpaste users had reduced gum bleeding, gum inflammation, and plaque buildup after six months.

May Reduce Bacteria

Researchers found baking soda reduces mouth bacteria due to its neutralizing effect on acids produced by oral bacteria. This process can interrupt the attachment of bacteria to the tooth, thereby reducing the likelihood of plaque growth.


While there are plenty of pros for using baking soda paste for teeth, there are also some downsides.

It’s Gritty and Tastes Unappealing

Baking soda doesn't taste great and can feel like sand between your teeth. If you can't tolerate plain baking soda mixed with water, plenty of commercial toothpaste options contain baking soda.

Doesn’t Protect Against Cavities

Another disadvantage of using baking soda to clean teeth is that it lacks the necessary fluoride to protect your teeth from cavities. In one review, researchers discovered fluoride toothpaste had a dose-dependent effect on preventing cavities. The higher the fluoride concentration, the better-protected participants were from cavities. Using baking soda alone is not approved by the American Dental Association (ADA) because it lacks fluoride.

Less Dramatic Whitening

While baking soda is a practical, low-cost whitening agent for superficial stains, it is less effective than other commercial products or professional services. That is because commercially available products and professional services rely on more potent ingredients, including bleaching agents for deeper stains.

Baking Soda Dental Products

Many toothpaste manufacturers have products that contain baking soda. Some products containing baking soda are:

  • Crest Baking Soda and Peroxide Whitening
  • Colgate Baking Soda and Peroxide Whitening
  • Arm and Hammer Advance White Breath Freshening
  • Aim Whitening Fresh Mint Gel With Baking Soda
  • Ultra Brite Baking Soda and Peroxide Whitening
  • Tom's of Maine Natural Baking Soda Cavity Protection

When purchasing toothpaste, read the label to ensure it includes fluoride for maximum cavity protection and contains the ADA seal of approval.


Baking soda toothpaste is a safe and effective way to clean and whiten teeth. However, brushing with baking soda alone is not approved by the ADA because baking soda lacks fluoride, an essential cavity-fighting ingredient. An alternative is to purchase a commercial toothpaste that includes baking soda and fluoride.

A Word From Verywell

Since baking soda lacks fluoride, it's probably not the best choice for everyday toothpaste. However, it might be a perfect scrub for occasionally brightening your smile and whitening teeth. It can also be a good alternative if you run out of toothpaste. To make a baking soda toothpaste, pour a little baking soda into a small dish and add enough water to form a paste. Then, dip your toothbrush into the mixture and brush as usual.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How effective at tartar removal is brushing teeth with baking soda?

    Research has shown baking soda to be quite effective at removing tartar from teeth. Its abrasiveness helps remove plaque, while its neutralizing properties prevent bacteria from sticking to teeth.

  • How fast does baking soda whiten teeth?

    Since baking soda whitens teeth by scrubbing off stains, you should see whitening effects immediately after brushing. However, it may take multiple brushings to remove stains thoroughly.

  • How often should you brush your teeth with baking soda?

    Baking soda is safe to use as everyday toothpaste. However, keep in mind that an at-home baking soda preparation lacks an essential ingredient for reducing cavities—fluoride. So, it's best to use a fluoride product and reserve baking soda for an occasional scrub.

7 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Hara AT, Turssi CP. Baking soda as an abrasive in toothpastes: Mechanism of action and safety and effectiveness considerationsJ Am Dent Assoc. 2017;148(11S):S27-S33. doi:10.1016/j.adaj.2017.09.007

  3. Li Y. Stain removal and whitening by baking soda dentifrice: A review of literatureJ Am Dent Assoc. 2017;148(11S):S20-S26. doi:10.1016/j.adaj.2017.09.006

  4. Myneni SR. Effect of baking soda in dentifrices on plaque removalJ Am Dent Assoc. 2017;148(11S):S4-S9. doi:10.1016/j.adaj.2017.09.004

  5. Ghassemi A, Hooper WJ, Vorwerk LM, et al. The effects of two baking-soda toothpastes in enhancing mechanical plaque removal and improving gingival health: A 6-month randomized clinical studyAm J Dent. 2020;33(5):265-272.

  6. Walsh T, Worthington HV, Glenny AM, Marinho VC, Jeroncic A. Fluoride toothpastes of different concentrations for preventing dental cariesCochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019;3(3):CD007868. Published 2019 Mar 4. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD007868.pub3

  7. American Dental Association. Toothpastes.

By Kathi Valeii
As a freelance writer, Kathi has experience writing both reported features and essays for national publications on the topics of healthcare, advocacy, and education. The bulk of her work centers on parenting, education, health, and social justice.