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Baking soda is considered a natural, multi-purpose product, utilized for scouring, freshening, cooking, and even calming an upset stomach. It’s also the main ingredient in the powder we may use in the polishing process when you get your teeth cleaned. This week’s question is from Arlyce, and she asks, “Is baking soda a good alternative to toothpaste?”

Because it’s an extremely fine texture, sodium bicarbonate powder, commonly known as baking soda, is an ideal mild abrasive for many things, especially when you have a lot of air power behind it like we do with our jet polisher. But regular toothpaste is actually a little more effective in cleaning teeth because baking soda tends to form a liquid film on the teeth after brushing with it, This film may make you feel like your teeth are cleaner than they actually are. Other than that, it’s very safe and effective as long as your brushing technique is consistent, because it’s the friction, not the cleaning agent, that removes material from your teeth.

And here’s an amazing fact about saliva: did you know that it actually contains trace amounts of natural sodium bicarbonate? Our bodies create their own baking soda to help buffer acids and prevent tooth erosion and decay.

So the bottom line is, yes, it’s fine to brush with baking soda if you are already doing a great job taking care of your teeth and happen to run out of toothpaste, or just want to use a natural product instead. Just be careful to brush it all off so that you know you did a good job.