Whitening Teeth on the Cheap

I don’t know about you, but I’ve completely bought into the hype of teeth whitening. Several of those Crest kits have been used, plus specialty toothpastes and gels, plus a few of those mint-flavored ampoules — all to keep my pearly whites a radiant shade. As I pondered the latest solution, a $100 month-long kit with guaranteed results, I felt a mixture of inadequacy and stupidity. How white is white enough, anyway? How much money am I willing to spend on brightening my smile? Well, okay, a bit, actually. When I notice that all the other teeth in my photos make mine look yellow, I start up the shopping again. Hmmm. With a sigh, I replaced the kit on the shelf.

A few weeks later, I dredged up my observations to my sister, Allison, and our friend Myntha. Allison was sympathetic, saying she’d spent a bit of money on whitening recently as well. We discussed how the kits made our teeth feel — sort of scraped up and sensitive for a few weeks — and whether the benefits are worth the results. Yes, we agreed, knowing how shallow this makes us. Noting Myntha’s silence, I asked her what she used on her teeth, big glowing white teeth that they are. “Baking soda,” she replied. “It’s cheap and it works.” End of conversation.

I did not buy that $100 kit. I went directly home and put a tablespoon of baking soda in a small bowl. Each morning when I brush my teeth, I first wet the brush and quickly dip the bristles into the baking soda so that only a bit of the soda attaches itself. I brush my teeth lightly for 30 seconds, then rinse my mouth and toothbrush. Followed by a regular brushing with toothpaste, the salty baking soda taste doesn’t last. I noticed the difference within 3 days — no kidding! — and have been brushing this way ever since. With just two cents worth of baking soda, my teeth are now equally as white as they were after a Crest kit. Yes, Myntha, it’s cheap and it works.