The antibacterial activity of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) was assessed using three different experimental approaches. Standard minimum inhibitory concentration analyses revealed substantial inhibitory activity against Streptococcus mutans that was not due to ionic strength or high osmolarity. Short-term exposure assays showed significant killing of bacterial suspensions when baking soda was combined with the detergent sodium dodecylsulfate. Multiple, brief exposures of sucrose-colonized S mutans to baking soda and sodium dodecylsulfate caused statistically significant decreases in numbers of viable cells. Use of oral health care products with high concentrations of baking soda could conceivably result in decreased levels of cariogenic S mutans in saliva and plaque.