How to whiten teeth with baking soda
1. What ‘whitening teeth’ means?
‘’Whitening the teeth’ does not mean to make the tooth color white. It implies the removal of discoloring, stain, spot or dirt staying in the teeth. The color of the teeth is the reflection of the dentin layer through the outer enamel layer. The strong, healthy and natural teeth are not white. The tooth enamel itself is bluish-white color. But it is also somewhat translucent. So, the yellow of the dentine beneath it shows to make the overall color of the teeth either light grey or light yellow which is the natural color of the teeth. In this connection, it needs to be mentioned that the natural color of baby teeth are more opaque.
2. The purpose behind whitening the teeth:
Having natural tooth color as well as clean, glossy and correctly aligned teeth can sweeten one’s smile, improve confidence, elevate personality and brighten outward look. All these packages are indispensable to the effective and fruitful discussion at the desk on the business or any other bilateral issue, or delivering a lecture in the class, or reading out reports or research paper in the seminar or symposium, or delivering a speech in the public meeting, or acting in the movies and more importantly, facing an interview for a responsible post, be it in the public or private sector.
3. How to whiten teeth?
3.1) Basic method:
3.1.1) One needs to prepare a paste by mixing baking soda (baking soda has only one ingredient—sodium bicarbonate. It is a base that reacts when it comes in contact with acids like buttermilk, yogurt, and vinegar) with water or lemon. In a small cup, ½ teaspoonful of baking soda is to be mixed with a few drops of either water or lemon juice. Then the mixture or the paste that has been prepared needs to be placed to the teeth using a toothbrush or finger. If there is a conspicuous stain in the teeth, then it is better to apply the paste directly on the stain. The paste needs to stay on the teeth for 2 minutes (just as the procedure of washing away the stain on the dish). It is wise to use either a toothbrush or fingernail to wipe out the last bit of dirt. For a better result, one can dry up the tooth surface before applying the paste.
For a still better result of attaining an overall whitening effect, it is wise to dip the toothbrush into the cup and make the bristles of the brush soaked with the paste and then brushing may be started. Alternatively, one can dip a wet toothbrush directly into the paste made of baking soda and then the paste will attach itself to the bristles. However, the taste of the baking soda will be very strong.
3.1.2) The teeth need to be brushed (using the paste made of baking soda) regularly for 1—2 minutes putting greater stress on the crack or crevices to be cleaned properly, but not to brush longer than 2 minutes as baking soda is a mildly abrasive chemical component and can be strong enough to erode the enamel on the tooth. The teeth need to be brushed up and down (and not sideways) making sure to use a soft toothbrush and apply low brushing forces.
3.1.3) In the next step one needs to spit out the baking soda and rinse the mouth with water or mouthwash. After brushing and rinsing, the toothbrush needs to be cleaned thoroughly.
3.1.4) The procedure needs to be repeated every other day (for 1 or 2 weeks). A slight difference in the whiteness will be felt just after a few days and a substantial difference after a few weeks. The use of the solution (baking soda) should be limited to a maximum of 2 weeks. Because the abrasive properties of baking soda may damage the tooth enamel if used longer than the prescribed period. Secondly, the brushing of the teeth using baking soda (for whitening) should never replace the normal regular brushing the teeth (to fight bacteria, gum disease, cavities, plaque buildup, removal of deposited food particles and more importantly, washing away the bad breath after getting up from bed in the morning)
3.2) Alternative method:
3.2.1) Mixing baking soda with hydrogen peroxide:
For preparing the paste, it needs to mix ½ teaspoonful of hydrogen peroxide (it is a chemical compound having chemical notation “H2 O2” and is the simplest peroxide. It is a strong oxidizing bleaching agent and antiseptic. In its pure form, it looks pale, blue, clear liquid and slightly viscous. Additionally, it may be used as a mild antiseptic on the skin to prevent infection of minor cuts, scrapes, and burns. It may also be used as a mouth rinse to relieve mouth irritation) with 1 teaspoonful of baking soda that to some extent resembles the consistency of toothpaste. The prepared mixture (paste) needs to stay on the teeth for 2 minutes. Then one needs to brush the teeth and rinse off the mouth with water or mouthwash. It is important to rinse your mouth thoroughly after using hydrogen peroxide. Because even dilute solutions of hydrogen peroxide can be toxic to the human body if it travels to the stomach resulting in vomiting and inviting other serious gastrointestinal risks. Therefore, it is safe to use the chemical compound hydrogen peroxide (3%) for oral use.
3.2.2) Mixing baking soda with lemon or lime juice:
Baking soda can also be mixed with lemon or lime juice as the citric acid in these fruits is an effective bleaching agent. For the preparation of the mixture, one needs to mix ½ teaspoonful of baking soda with 1/2 teaspoonful of freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice. One then needs to leave the mixture on the teeth to stay for 2 minutes and then brush and rinse thoroughly. It needs to be mentioned that most of the dentists do not recommend this method as the citric acid (contained in lemon and lime) is corrosive and damages the tooth.
3.2.3) Mixing baking soda with toothpaste:
The method is very simple like regular brushing. It needs to put fluoride toothpaste on the toothbrush as usual and then sprinkle a little baking soda on the toothbrush. Then brushing the teeth followed by rinsing the mouth thoroughly is needed.
4) Foods, drinks that are good (for glossy natural color) and bad (that taints and discolors)
Among the fruits, banana is the best choice. Banana is proven to whiten the teeth. Minerals In bananas can help remove stains making the teeth whitened. Additionally, with high levels of calcium and vitamin—D, it can build stronger teeth. Use of paste (prepared with baking soda) for whitening the teeth will be ineffective if harmful foods and drinks including the bad habits that stain the teeth are not avoided. Among the foods and drinks that are bad and harmful, are notably acidic foods and drinks. They discolor teeth, soften tooth enamel and make the teeth sensitive and vulnerable to damage (such as cavities). Among other harmful foods and drinks, coffee has long been branded to stain tooth enamel. Equally harmful in terms of discoloration and staining tooth enamel are: tea, candy, sweets, citrus fruits, soft drinks, tomato sauce, sports drinks, and balsamic vinegar.
Over and above the 2 expensive bad habits (alcohol and smoking), which have no social recognition, are also harmful in all respects, (in addition to discoloring and tainting the tooth enamel). When one smokes, then he inhales about 30 different burning chemicals, besides nicotine and tar. All these chemicals include ammonia, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen cyanide. The residue leaves a stain on the tooth enamel which becomes noticeable afterward. The polish of the teeth wears off and the teeth are made weakened and become vulnerable to damage and infection. Those who are addicted to smoking will find their teeth darker and weaker. Even smokeless cigarettes will not help either as harmful chemicals will still enter the mouth and consequently will dirt the teeth. So far as the evil effect of alcohol is concerned, most of the wine is crafted with black patent malt or roasted barley and hence can stain the teeth.
5) Concluding remarks:
5.1) One needs to apply the solution (baking soda mixed with water or lemon or lime juice or hydrogen peroxide) no more than once a day and no longer than 2 weeks after which it is essential to stop the procedure. And then one may wait for a week to restart (if necessary.)
5.2) It is important to consult a dentist (to examine whether the patient has any dental problem in which case the use of the solution may further aggravate the problem. For instance, some patients may have defects in the enamel mineralization) before starting to use the solution.
5.3) For successful ‘whiten teeth’ the solution used flows through the enamel tubules and begins to lighten the underlying stained tissue. It may be noted that whitening chemicals used can cause temporary tooth sensitivity. And existing fillings, bonding, bridges and crowns will, however, be unharmed by the application of any whitening procedure. It may be further mentioned that ‘whitening‘ will simply restore the natural color of the teeth which may differ with the color of the restoration made through filling, bonding, bridges, etc.