Baking Soda as a Toothpaste?


Is there really a miracle product sitting in the back of your fridge or up in your cabinet–something cheap that can zap bad smells and keep your teeth sparkly white?

Yes. That box of baking soda, also known as bicarbonate of soda (or sodium bicarbonate), can do major things!

Its superpowers come from a two-letter term: pH. That stands of “potential (or power) of hydrogen” to make something either an acid or a base (alkaline). Baking soda is an alkaline substance with a pH of 9. When it mixes with an acid, it alters the pH level. That’s why it can quickly combat acidic saliva or cover bad breath.

Baking soda has long been used as an alternative to toothpaste. Many people will admit to brushing their teeth with baking soda. Today, many toothpaste manufacturers incorporate baking soda into their formula. As with most things, there are pros and cons associated with using this agent as a toothpaste alternative.

Pros of Brushing Teeth with Baking Soda

  • Baking soda is effective as a cleanser. According to the Journal of Clinical Dentistry (June 2008), brushing teeth with baking soda products was proven more effective than using products without baking soda.
  • Baking soda has been found very effective in fighting bacteria that causes plaque, bad breath and other problems related to oral health.
  • Brushing teeth with baking soda helps remove the stains and whiten the enamel.
  • It’s inexpensive. If you use just baking soda, a box will last you for a long time and costs less than $1.
  • If you’re striving for a “natural” lifestyle, an organic product like baking soda is one of the best options.
  • Claims that baking soda is abrasive are inaccurate. The RDA value (relative dentin abrasion) determines how abrasive a product is for your teeth. The RDA value of baking soda is only 7, whereas tooth pastes range from 30 to 200 RDA, which counters these statistics against baking soda and its abrasive properties.


Cons of Brushing Teeth with Baking Soda

  • It’s messy. Brushing with baking soda may be inexpensive, but it’s not neat. Although there is no handy packaging, the dusty powder does wipe down the sink easily.
  • It feels gritty and tastes less than desirable. Rinsing with a mouthwash afterwards can provide that minty fresh taste.
  • It’s not approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). The ADA has not approved brushing teeth with baking soda, but many toothpaste brands include it in some of their formulas.
  • Brushing with baking soda alone will not provide you with the fluoride you need to help remineralize teeth and prevent cavities. According to the Fluoride Action Network, Fluoride is found in 95% of toothpaste in the United States alone.

If regular brushing and flossing isn’t giving you the results you want, we recommend a personalized, in-office consultation with Dr. Katie Bell and our awesome dental hygienists. Make sure to have an examination at least annually, but ideally, every six months for preventative dental care and good oral health. Talk more with us about the benefits of adding baking soda to your own brushing regimen and to learn more about the best products and techniques for keeping your mouth healthy.