The question has been posed: Do toothpastes that contain Baking Soda work? The immediate answer is this: Whatever toothpaste is going to get you to brush twice a day is going to be better than nothing. But besides that, let’s get into it.
What is Baking Soda?: Sodium Bicarbonate, (NaHCO3) for the nerds, is usually produced on a mass scale by chemical companies. You’ve probably seen it in the back of your fridge to help limit bad odors. But it can also be used for baking, cleaning, fire extinguishers, and other medical uses.
Why Would it be Used as/in a Toothpaste: There are a few claims to fame for using a toothpaste/slurry of baking soda. Let us review.
Stain Removal: Studies do conclude that the toothpastes containing baking soda are capable of increased stain removal1,2,3. The very mild abrasiveness helps to remove some old staining, but with that said, a lot of other toothpastes without baking soda also share a similar abrasiveness and stain removal ability.
Plaque Removal: Similar to the stain removing ability, the baking soda toothpastes also demonstrate good plaque removal because of their very mild abrasiveness4. Again, other toothpastes have other ingredients which can provide similar effects.
Gum Health: If you are removing the plaque, you are also doing your gums a favor by reducing the amount of bacteria that can get down in them. There is some data noting that baking soda toothpastes might help the fight against specific gum-disease-causing-bacteria5.
Whitening:Again, removal of staining and plaque can only be beneficial for the appearance of whiter teeth. Beyond that, studies do show that the chemical properties of baking soda may provide additional benefit in whitening capabilities1,2.
Summary: If you are brushing twice daily with a regular fluoride-containing toothpaste, you are already doing yourself a favor6. If you would like to potentially see a slight improvement upon the claims to fame listed above, try out the baking soda toothpastes! Moral of the story is: baking soda-containing toothpastes are safe to use, provide all the benefits of normal brushing, and if it get’s you to brush twice a day USE IT.
Ghassemi, A., Hooper, W., Vorwerk, L., Domke, T., DeSciscio, P., & Nathoo, S. (2012). Effectiveness of a new dentifrice with baking soda and peroxide in removing extrinsic stain and whitening teeth. The Journal of clinical dentistry, 23(3), 86–91.
Hara, A. T., & Turssi, C. P. (2017). Baking soda as an abrasive in toothpastes: Mechanism of action and safety and effectiveness considerations. Journal of the American Dental Association (1939), 148(11S), S27–S33. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adaj.2017.09.007
Soeteman, G. D., Valkenburg, C., Van der Weijden, G. A., Van Loveren, C., Bakker, E., & Slot, D. E. (2018). Whitening dentifrice and tooth surface discoloration-a systematic review and meta-analysis. International journal of dental hygiene, 16(1), 24–35. https://doi.org/10.1111/idh.12289
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