You’d love pearly whites that glitter with every grin (who doesn’t), but you have to weigh the pros and cons of different whitening procedures. You don’t want to go to the dentist unless you need to, and you don’t want to spend too much money on drugstore whitening products unless you know they’ll really work.
Turns out, there’s one simple home remedy that dentist Jennifer Jablow, DDS, recommends for whitening on the cheap. What’s more, it’s just two ingredients—and they’re ones that you may already own.
Ingredients: Baking soda + peroxide
How often: 2 x a week
Method: Mix a bit with your toothpaste and brush.
“You’re using a little bit of baking soda and making a slurry of it with peroxide and brushing with that a couple times a week,” says Dr. Jablow.
Peroxide is a key ingredient for whiter teeth—and it’s also why many other home remedies don’t work to brighten your smile. “These days we see all these tips and tricks on the internet about keeping your smile white—those things are kind of trendy,” says Dr. Jablow. “They don’t really whiten the teeth because you have to use something that has peroxide.”
Even though this baking soda + peroxide whitening remedy is effective, don’t get carried away. “You just want to make sure you’re not doing it too often, because too much baking soda or too much grit against your teeth can be too abrasive and you can wear away the enamel and become sensitive,” says Dr. Jablow.
Enamel is the hard calcified tissue covering your tooth. Since it contains no living cells, tooth enamel cannot repair itself from decay or wear. “You want to protect the enamel keep the enamel strong because that’s the protective coating on your teeth and you only have one set of teeth,” says Dr. Jablow.