Oral hygiene is an important factor to our health that we should be aware and work to maintain. For many people who are learning about more natural ways of eating, living and treating our body’s, using the typical toothpaste brands that contains fluoride quickly becomes a non option. For me, I transitioned from toothpaste with fluoride to fluoride free toothpaste. From there I made my way to brushing with baking soda.
What’s wrong with regular toothpaste?
When it comes to regular toothpaste, there are better and safer alternatives. If you read the tube or box your toothpaste comes in, you will notice a warning stating that if you swallow the toothpaste, you should call poison control. The reason being is, toothpaste contains several potentially dangerous chemicals, one of these is called fluoride. Although fluoride has been shown to potentially achieve results in re-strengthening enamel, it is also a toxic substance linked to many health problems. The reason why fluoride is not recommended is because the majority of the time it is used in toothpaste and at the dentist, too much is being applied and therefore it is doing more harm than good. With there being more effective and safer alternatives, using fluoride is not a healthy choice. Using too much fluoride can make the teeth too brittle and therefore more susceptible to cavities and dental fluorosis. Considering that 1 in 3 children in the US now have dental fluorosis, we are clearly using too much fluoride. Another reason is that toothpastes contain ingredients like polyethylene glycols, triclosan, strontium, benzene, and tin, which are all potentially harmful to human health. Toothpaste also contains high levels of glycerin. When there is high levels of glycerin left on our teeth, it takes quite a long time before it wears off and our enamel can properly strengthen again. This leaves teeth susceptible to cavities. Finally, toothpaste does not contain many natural ingredients. This of course is your choice as to whether or not you want to stick to products that are as natural as possible. You can read more about fluoride here.
Is baking soda a good option?
I first came across the idea of using baking soda when doing fluoride research for a short documentary I made called Fluoride: The Hard to Swallow Truth. I made the change over from fluoride free toothpaste to baking soda and was very happy with the results. Then I began hearing about the potential of baking soda being too abrasive for teeth and gums and that it could actually wear away at the enamel. So I began to research this to find out whether this was a good option for me, especially since I was recommending it to other people as well. I found that YES, baking soda is a good option; here’s why.
When a toothpaste is produced it must get FDA approval before it can be sold to the public. One of the tests that is conducted before its approval is to determine its RDA value (radioactive dentin abrasion or relative dentin abrasivity). To determine the RDA value of toothpaste, the lab tester begins with an extracted human or cow tooth. The tooth is irradiated in a neutron flux, mounted in methylmethacrylate (bone glue), stripped of its enamel, inserted into a brushing-machine, and brushed by ADA standards (reference toothbrush, 150g pressure, 1500 strokes, 4-to-1 water-toothpaste slurry). The radioactivity of the rinsewater is then measured and recorded. For experimental control, the test is repeated with an ADA reference toothpaste made of calcium pryophosphate, with this measurement given a value of 100 to calibrate the relative scale. (2)
The following are the RDA levels for popular toothpastes including baking soda which was also tested.
|RDA||Dentifrice brand and variety||Source|
|07||straight baking soda||Church & Dwight|
|08||Arm & Hammer Tooth Powder||Church & Dwight|
|30||Elmex Sensitive Plus||Elmex|
|35||Arm & Hammer Dental Care||Church & Dwight|
|42||Arm & Hammer Advance White Baking Soda Peroxide||Church & Dwight|
|44||Squigle Enamel Saver||Squigle|
|48||Arm & Hammer Dental Care Sensitive||Church & Dwight|
|49||Arm & Hammer Peroxicare Tartar Control||Church & Dwight|
|49||Tom’s of Maine Sensitive (given as 40′s)||Tom’s|
|52||Arm & Hammer Peroxicare Regular||Church & Dwight|
|53||Rembrandt Original (RDA)||Rembrandt|
|54||Arm & Hammer Dental Care PM Bold Mint||Church & Dwight|
|57||Tom’s of Maine Children’s, Wintermint (given as mid-50′s)||Tom’s|
|63||Rembrandt Mint (‘Heffernan RDA’)||Rembrandt|
|70||Arm & Hammer Advance White Sensitive||Church & Dwight|
|70||Colgate 2-in-1 Fresh Mint (given as 50-70)||Colgate-Palmolive|
|83||Colgate Sensitive Maximum Strength||Colgate-Palmolive|
|93||Tom’s of Maine Regular (given as high 80′s low 90′s)||Squigle (Tom’s)|
|94||Plus White||Indiana study|
|95||Crest Regular (possibly 99)||P&G (P&G)|
|101||Natural White||Indiana study|
|103||Arm & Hammer Sensation||Church & Dwight|
|104||Sensodyne Extra Whitening||Colgate-Palmolive|
|106||Colgate Platinum||Indiana study|
|106||Arm & Hammer Advance White Paste||Church & Dwight|
|107||Crest Sensitivity Protection||Colgate-Palmolive|
|110||Amway Glister (given as upper bound)||Patent US06174515|
|113||Aquafresh Whitening||Indiana study|
|117||Arm & Hammer Advance White Gel||Church & Dwight|
|117||Arm & Hammer Sensation Tartar Control||Church & Dwight|
|120||Close-Up with Baking Soda (canadian)||Unilever|
|124||Colgate Whitening||Indiana study|
|130||Crest Extra Whitening||Indiana study|
|133||Ultra brite (or 120-140)||Indiana study (or Colgate-Palmolive)|
|144||Crest MultiCare Whitening||P&G|
|145||Ultra brite Advanced Whitening Formula||P&G|
|145||Colgate Baking Sode & Peroxide Whitening (given as 135-145)||Colgate-Palmolive|
|150||Pepsodent (given as upper bound)||Unilever|
|165||Colgate Tartar Control (given as 155-165)||Colgate-Palmolive|
|168||Arm & Hammer Dental Care PM Fresh Mint||Church & Dwight|
|200||Colgate 2-in-1 Tartar Control/Whitening or Icy Blast/Whitening (given as 190-200)||Colgate-Palmolive|
As we observe in the chart, baking soda, when used correctly, is actually less abrasive than all toothpastes. Given the unnatural nature of toothpaste and the efficacy of baking soda when it comes to keeping teeth clean and the mouth at a good Ph level, using baking soda to brush your teeth is actually more favorable than natural toothpastes.
How to brush with baking soda
Brushing with baking soda is quite simple. First start with a fresh toothbrush that does not contain any of the left over residues from your toothpaste.
1. Take a pinch of baking soda and put it into a small glass or small bowl.
2. Add a small amount of pure water (ideally not tap water) to the bowl and mix it into the baking soda. The solution should be slightly runny as you don’t want too many of the granules present. Dip your toothbrush in to get some of the solution on the brush.
3. Brush starting with your molars and then moving to the facings and backs of your teeth.
4. (optional) Once done, you can add some more water to the glass or bowl and swish it around your mouth. This will help keep your mouth alkaline.
5. Rinse out your mouth with pure water as you normally would after brushing.
Try this out for yourself and share your thoughts on how this works for you. Remember, if you have learned that baking soda is too abrasive, it may misguided information or people may have been incorrectly using baking soda to brush. As always, feel it out for yourself and make adjustments accordingly.