Are mixtures of baking soda + xylitol equivalent in effectiveness as casual flouride toothpaste?

If you have good brush technique, good diet, brush twice per day, is this mixture mixed with, amount of water enough to become creamy, in other words, to be able to pick up with toothbrush

  1. ... too abrasive for oral cavity (tooth, gum...) ?

  2. ... too abrasive for plastic retairners ( note: after brushing teeth with this mixture, wash oral cavity with water 3-4 times, then drink some water, and then put retairners in mouth )?

  3. ... good enough to replace toothpaste, tooth remineralisation?

  4. ... abrasive for cleaning retainers (note: take bowl, put this mixture, put water enough to retairners are drowned in, and let it stay for 10 minutes )

These are sources I have found prior to asking here:

  • 1
    Welcome to Health.SE! I've significantly edited your question and formatted it because you had explicitly asked for it. The question as it was would have been too broad to be answerable on this site, I therefore condensed it to whether xylitol + baking soda serves as a good substitute for toothpaste or not. If you are curious about the other aspects of your question, feel free to ask another question on this site. If you happen to disagree with my edit, feel free to revert my edit or edit the question yourself.
    – Narusan
    Commented Nov 18, 2017 at 12:21
  • Thanks for welcoming and editing. You are right my mistake.
    – user12025
    Commented Nov 18, 2017 at 12:30
  • But still, made some changes on your edit, hopping it is not bad practice?
    – user12025
    Commented Nov 18, 2017 at 12:36
  • Not at all, we always welcome improvements and clarification. I can't know what you exactly want to know, that's why I notified you of my edit and invited you to rework it.
    – Narusan
    Commented Nov 18, 2017 at 13:02
  • 3
    While I'll let someone with a background specifically in teeth answer this more completely, one of the biggest problems with this toothpaste would be the lack of fluoride. The fluoride in your toothpaste isn't there for fun, it serves a serious medical need in modifying the natural hydroxyapatite composing your teeth, which is very susceptible to tooth decay from a modern diet, into fluorapatite, which is highly resistant to decay. While there are groups here and there that try to avoid fluoride out of concern of overdose, losing your teeth is much worse than most possible fluoride effects. Commented Nov 19, 2017 at 22:05

1 Answer 1


First of all: even brushing with nothing – except the dry brush – is better for dental hygiene than doing nothing at all. Before the invention of the tooth brush people were actively caring for their teeth. One interesting example is found in the "toothbrush tree", which has a number of beneficial attributes.

To address the questions:

  1. Abrasiveness is usually no big problem for the gums. Tooth enamel is another story, but: Baking soda as an abrasive in toothpastes: Mechanism of action and safety and effectiveness considerations:

    Conclusions: On the basis of the collected evidence, baking soda has an intrinsic low-abrasive nature because of its comparatively lower hardness in relation to enamel and dentin. Baking soda toothpastes also may contain other ingredients, which can increase their stain removal effectiveness and, consequently, abrasivity.
    Practical Implications: Even those formulations have abrasivity well within the safety limit regulatory agencies have established and, therefore, can be considered safe.

  2. For plastic retainers after rinsing in your mouth? Totally inert.

  3. If you do not have a regular toothpaste, then baking soda is a nice alternative. But fluoride containing pastes are usually considered way superior. For "remineralisation": tooth enamel is mainly built from hydroxylapatite. Sodium bicarbonate is usually very low in Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2, that is calcium, phosphorous, or beneficial trace elements like strontium and fluoride.
    The direct contribution to remineralisation has to be considered zero. The neutralising effect of the soda (Evidence for biofilm acid neutralization by baking soda) might contribute a little bit to enable the natural capacity of your saliva to remineralise.

  4. Test the baking soda on any piece of plastic, like a bowl or a cup. It will not do anything to it.

That might look very safe and effective now. Reading certain studies just emphasises this:

Stain removal and whitening by baking soda dentifrice: A review of literature:
Conclusions: The evidence available in the literature indicates that baking soda-based dentifrices are effective and safe for tooth stain removal and consequently whitening. A number of clinical studies have also shown that baking soda-based dentifrices are more effective in stain removal and whitening than some non-baking soda-containing dentifrices with a higher abrasivity. So far, research efforts have mainly focused on stain removal and tooth-whitening efficacy and clinical safety of baking soda dentifrices used with manual toothbrushes, with only a few studies investigating their effects using powered toothbrushes, for which further research is encouraged. Practical Implications: As part of a daily oral hygiene practice, baking soda-based dentifrice is a desirable, alternative or additional measure for tooth stain removal and whitening.

But this should not be misread!
All of the above just says that the plan from the question is not really dangerous. Baking soda and xylitol may even be a quite clever combination compared to soda alone.
Comparing toothpaste on this basis with regular paste containing fluoride shows the superiority of added fluoride for maintaining oral health in numerous studies, for example:

Comparing three toothpastes in controlling plaque and gingivitis: A 6-month clinical study:
After 6 months, subjects assigned to the triclosan/copolymer/fluoride group exhibited statistically significant reductions in gingival index scores and plaque index scores as compared to subjects assigned to the herbal/bicarbonate group by 35.4% and 48.9%, respectively. There were no statistically significant differences in gingival index and plaque index between subjects in the herbal/ bicarbonate group and those in the fluoride group. The triclosan/copolymer/fluoride dentifrice was statistically significantly more effective in reducing gingivitis and dental plaque than the herbal/bicarbonate dentifrice, and this difference in efficacy was clinically meaningful.

That means unless your local drinking water is very high in fluoride or you drink large amounts of green or black tea (containing large amounts of fluoride) tooth pastes with fluoride will be much better at protecting dental health.

  • Thanks. Just quick review, is baking soda same as sodium bicarbonate?
    – user12025
    Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 18:50
  • @user12025 Usually yes. But that needs to be double checked. Depends on where you live. Some baking sodas, are really baking powders, adding sth like citric acid, which is a whole nother equation then and definitively not recommendable. Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 18:55
  • OK, I bought one that say, it is sodium bicarbonate like big letters, and then below that say natrium hydrocarbonate e 500ii, and also that this product is made for food. Is this baking soda?
    – user12025
    Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 19:01
  • + there is sentence: thing for lifting dough
    – user12025
    Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 19:03
  • As far as I read and understand it: absolutely. [That extra sentence shows just what it will do in baking. In baking that effect is then further enhanced in 'powders' with the acids added. I hope you understand that: that I did not advise you to skip on regular toothpaste/fluoride because of the above?] Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 19:06

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