The efficacy of baking soda dentifrice in controlling plaque and gingivitis: A systematic review

Int J Dent Hyg. 2019 May;17(2):99-116. doi: 10.1111/idh.12390. Epub 2019 Mar 6.


Objective: To test the efficacy of a dentifrice containing baking soda (BS), compared with dentifrice without BS for controlling plaque and gingivitis.

Materials and methods: MEDLINE-PubMed and Cochrane-CENTRAL were searched. The inclusion criteria were randomized controlled clinical trials including healthy participants aged 18 years or older. Studies were selected that compared the effect of toothbrushing with a dentifrice with and without BS on the clinical parameters of plaque and gingivitis. Data were extracted from the selected studies, and a meta-analysis was performed.

Results: The search retrieved 21 eligible publications. Among these papers, 43 comparisons were provided, with 23 involving a single-use design and 20 being evaluations with a follow-up. Negative controls were found, or positive controls for which various active ingredients had been used. The included studies showed a moderate overall potential risk of bias and considerable heterogeneity. The meta-analysis of plaque scores from the single-brushing experiments showed that BS dentifrice (BS-DF) was associated with significantly better outcomes than the negative control dentifrices (DiffM -0.20; P < 0.0001; 95% CI: [-0.27; -0.12]) or the positive control dentifrices (DiffM -0.18; P < 0.0001; 95% CI: [-0.24; -0.12]). This finding was only confirmed in studies that used a follow-up design as compared to a negative control (DiffM -0.19; P = 0.01; 95% CI: [-0.34; -0.04]). The indices of gingival bleeding also improved when the comparison was a negative control (DiffM -0.08; P = 0.02; 95% CI: [-0.16; -0.01] and (DiffM -0.13; P < 0.001; 95% CI: [-0.18; -0.08]. However, for the gingival index scores, the meta-analysis did not reveal any significant differences.

Conclusion: BS-DF showed promising results with respect to plaque removal in single-use studies. However, the finding was partially substantiated in follow-up studies. Studies that assessed bleeding scores indicated that a small reduction can be expected from BS, relative to a control product.

Keywords: baking soda; bleeding; dentifrice; gingivitis; plaque; sodium bicarbonate; systematic review; toothpaste.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Bibliographic
  • Dental Plaque / prevention & control*
  • Dental Plaque / therapy
  • Dentifrices*
  • Gingivitis / prevention & control*
  • Gingivitis / therapy
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Sodium Bicarbonate*
  • Toothbrushing*


  • Dentifrices
  • Sodium Bicarbonate