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Compendium
May 2020
Volume 41, Issue 5

Arm & Hammer™ Toothpaste Harnesses the Benefits of Sodium Bicarbonate to Fortify Oral Health

Since graduating from Loma Linda University School of Dentistry in 2006, Brian Nový, DDS, has been busy promoting the merits of preventive dentistry. After teaching at Loma Linda for several years and establishing a private practice that was awarded the ADA's "Adult Preventive Care Practice of the Year" in 2009, he served on the ADA Council of Scientific Affairs from 2011 to 2014 and spent time as chair of the CAMBRA (Caries Management by Risk Assessment) Coalition. He currently lives in Massachusetts, where he is Chief Dental Officer of the Alliance Dental Center, providing oral healthcare to state public employees.

While teaching a cariology class, he had students research the differences among toothpaste brands to assess which ones provided specific benefits so appropriate recommendations could be made to patients. "In dental school, one faculty member taught that patients who brushed with sodium bicarbonate were likely to have improved periodontal health," he explains, "and the research since has substantiated the benefits of sodium bicarbonate to a reduction in dental caries."

As a result, Nový says he highly recommends Arm & Hammer toothpaste because it contains  a significant amount of sodium bicarbonate (ie, baking soda), and using it is "quite simply the most effective and cost-efficient way to change the chemical composition of saliva and neutralize plaque," he offers. "Arm & Hammer's combination of sodium bicarbonate and fluoride quickly and holistically improves the overall physiology of the mouth."

In addition to topically neutralizing plaque acids and having the unique ability to alter the chemical composition of saliva, another benefit of sodium bicarbonate, Nový says, is that it immediately improves gingival health. "When my patients use Arm & Hammer toothpaste, I notice a dramatic improvement in their gingival health in as little as 2 weeks," he states. "Over time, as more plaque is neutralized and removed from the mouth, there is a marked decrease in dental caries risk as well."

While the various kinds of Arm & Hammer toothpastes contain different concentrations of sodium bicarbonate, Nový says he frequently recommends Complete Care Toothpaste to his patients because of its high concentration of sodium bicarbonate and, therefore, strong ability to help the oral environment. "Many patients are surprised when I recommend toothpaste with sodium bicarbonate because they remember their grandparents using baking soda before fluoride-based toothpaste became popular," he observes. "It turns out, their grandparents were right!"

Nový adds that, contrary to what people might think, the sodium bicarbonate-based toothpastes are very gentle on teeth and suggests that the Arm & Hammer products are among the "least abrasive toothpastes available." Patients, he also reports, usually comment that they like the way their teeth feel after using the toothpaste and notice fresher breath. "Interestingly, patients have said they notice food starting to taste better as their salivary health improves."

In his lectures, Nový often preaches the advantages of Arm & Hammer toothpastes, and in his office he and his staff are firm believers in baking soda, even going so far as to hand out glassware to patients that says, "baking soda + toothpaste = healthy mouth."

"If dental practitioners are not already using sodium bicarbonate toothpaste, they are missing out on an inexpensive, effective way to improve patients' oral health," Nový asserts. "It is a simple, cost-effective route to fundamentally alter the physiological composition of the patient's mouth for the better."

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