Baking Soda and The Mouth

Hi Dr. Ellie,

I’m a 22 year old college student in Houston, TX. I’ve been using your mouthcare system for two weeks, with the addition of flossing (after Closys and brushing, before Listerine) and am really happy with the results! My teeth have never felt cleaner, my chronic gingivitis has been completely eradicated, and I (think) I’m already seeing a reduction in white spot lesions, which I’ve had for a long time.

However, I do eat and drink a lot of acidic foods/drinks. I LOVE fruit, and eat it constantly. I’m also a big drinker of orange juice, green tea (which I’ve pH tested as neutral), and eat an abnormal amount of mustard. Since starting the system, I’ve consolidated my fruit consumption into planned snack times, as to better control the cariogenic challenges. I take some granular xylitol after every snack as well. The other thing I’ve done a couple of times is use a fairly dilute baking soda solution as a quick mouthwash right after eating a problematic food item, and right before enjoying some xylitol.
I know you’ve talked about baking soda causing gum recession in the past, but I gathered that those remarks were aimed at the Keyes technique, which uses a thick paste of salt, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and forces it into the sulci. Do you really think that using a dilute solution of baking soda could have the same effects? I’m skeptical because baking soda is a common component of buffered saline solutions, like those used as nasal washes. 

Perhaps the baking soda is overkill, but it’s comforting to (theoretically) neutralize the acid in my mouth before I go on to take some Xylitol and continue my day.
The solution I use is a little more concentrated than buffered isotonic saline approximately 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of salt in two cups of water.

Thank’s so much for your amazing mouthcare system! I think preventative medicine is where the future of medicine simply has to go, and I look to you and others as role models in how to use clinical experience and scientific understanding into practical public health measures.
– J

Hi J,

I was excited to read your letter particularly to see your understanding of the way medicine needs to progress.

I know that you have read many of my comments ( not sure if it is via my blog or my book) and have a good understanding of ‘the process”

My comments would be:

Floss first before you start the system.

Each item of the system needs to ‘flow” directly into the next for a number of reasons.

For example, the toothpaste releases fluoride quickly to the tooth surface ( to protect your teeth from the acidity of the Listerine).

I am not sure how long this protection remains and I am concerned that you are interrupting the system to floss and may be producing a change in outcome.

If you floss first you will be able to flow through the stages without interruption give it a whirl and see!

Try Zellies fruit Mints:

If you eat a lot of fruit I think Zellies fruit mints would be good for you to carry around!

I drink coffee several times a day and Zellies mints are invaluable protection from this acidity.

Baking Soda I know you want my comment on this!

Baking soda is an excellent cleaner it removes molds and bacteria efficiently.( I always clean my refrigerator with baking soda!) BUT Your teeth are not supposed to be squeaky clean!! I am sure that a one time use would “clean” gums and teeth quickly but I have concerns about the consequences of this harsh treatment. I would bet that if you charted progress following the Keyes technique, young healthy men probably recovered better than older women.

Teeth are supposed to have a natural biofilm covering them which protects the underlying (delicate) enamel crystals from thermal, chemical and mechanical damage.

I believe the problem is baking soda cleans away this natural biofilm.

Young healthy men, with good intestinal bacteria will probably be able to repopulate their mouths in a short amount of time.

Anyone with a compromised immune system, or an older adult, particularly one with an acidic mouth, may not repopulate with healthy bacteria.

Baking soda for these people will have denuded their teeth leaving them exposed to dangers of sensitivity, gum recession and enamel damage.


In the years ahead I think we are going to see more recommendation for probiotics to help keep teeth and mouths healthy.

Popular dental advice is usually aimed at “scrubbing, bleaching and polishing” teeth to clean, whiten and supposedly smooth teeth.

Since the structure of enamel is delicate and made up of soluble crystals, I do not believe harsh cleaning is in the best interest of your teeth!

Thanks so much for your interest and I wish you continued success with your oral health improvements.

Maybe, with your understanding, you will be able to help others enjoy oral health!
Best Wishes,


Ellie Phillips DDS
Solutions for Oral Health!
author, Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye

Categories: Uncategorized


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