When you’re not able to shop for your favorite products or visit professionals for beauty services, certain DIY hacks can definitely come in handy. As we all continue to stay home to help flatten the COVID-19 curve, we’ve found ourselves seeking out these tricks more than ever before. One in particular has piqued our interest, thanks to a viral video on everyone’s new favorite social media app, TikTok: using pure baking soda as a tooth whitener.

The video shows a simple step-by-step tutorial. First, you take a dry toothbrush and swirl it around a cup full of baking soda so that the bristles are completely covered. Next, you pour liquid hydrogen peroxide over the baking soda-coated brush before cleaning your teeth with it. But does it actually work? And, most importantly, is it safe? The answer is twofold.

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As for adding a substance like hydrogen peroxide into the mix, Kalasho strongly advises against it. She says mixing baking soda with other corrosive chemicals like hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, or citric acids can damage your teeth.

She suggests using an FDA-approved product that contains baking soda, like an Arm & Hammer whitening toothpaste. But if you don’t have access to any of those products, she recommends using pure baking soda, at most, every six to seven months in combination with a toothpaste that maintains the strength of the enamel and minimizes any sensitivity, like MI Paste Plus. She also says opt for an extra-soft toothbrush rather than an electric toothbrush when using pure baking soda so you’re not putting added pressure on the teeth.

Those with major sensitivity and damage, however, should probably stick to the basics. Kalasho says the most effective way to keep your teeth clean is by regular brushing with toothpaste and flossing. Any other at-home whitening products and hacks really just add a “boost” on top of good maintenance.

Even then, those whitening products may not be effective if the stains are deep. “Those deep-set stains are the hardest to remove, and even high concentration, whitening products cannot remove them,” Kalasho says. “If you remember to brush and floss after meals, the chances that the stains become more deep-set are less likely.”

Harris says you might want to limit food and drinks like wine and coffee that stain teeth. It’s a hard ask, but something to think about if you want to keep your teeth looking their best.

Source: Allure