The lie about baking soda and lemon juice teeth whitening
July 05, 2015
If you want whiter teeth (and who doesn’t), you may be tempted to look on the internet for methods of whitening that don’t cost an arm and a leg. As luck would have it, you will find quite a number of different recommendations, many involving baking soda (bicarbonate of soda).
One, in particular, is mixing baking soda with lemon juice and brushing your teeth with the mixture. Here is the good news. It works! So does pouring petrol on your bonfire, and setting light to it. That works too. In fact, it can work too well. If you are not careful, you can easily get caught up in a vicious blast of flame that will cause serious injury, or even death.
Not for a minute is it suggested that a mixture of baking soda and lemon juice will cause serious injury or death. It won’t. However, what it will do is damage the enamel on your teeth. The enamel is what protects the structure of the tooth, and if you damage it, you can suffer much more serious damage to the tooth itself.
It’s much the same thing as painting the windows and exterior doors of a house, or using a wood preservative on a shed or a fence. You know full well that if you erected a shed or a fence, but failed to protect it with a preservative or a couple of coats of paint, that shed or fence would rot, and in two or three years would be in such a state of disrepair that it would be worthless.
Think about your teeth for a moment. Baking soda is an abrasive, and will cause minute scratches on the enamel of your teeth. Lemon juice is basically citric acid. Yes, it’s an acid! Acids can destroy all sorts of things, including steel and other metals. They are used to clean the oil from the floors of car repair workshops, among many other industrial applications.
Lemon juice is not that strong, but what it will do when mixed with baking soda and used as a tooth whitening agent is whiten your teeth. It is a bleaching agent. However, it will also corrode the enamel on your teeth
, so you are effectively stripping away the protective coating.
All the sources that recommend whitening your teeth with baking soda and lemon juice add the proviso that 'most dentists do not recommend this method, as the citric acid in the juice is corrosive and will damage teeth'. Quite why they explain this method and then warn you not to use it is something of a paradox!
The real answer, if you want whiter teeth is to talk to your dentist. They will be able to inspect your teeth, and recommend the best way of producing whiter teeth, that will not cause lasting damage.
Be assured that using baking soda and lemon juice in combination will most certainly cause lasting damage to your teeth. Our recommendation is very simple: just don’t do it.