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Since forever, I've been going to the dentist twice a year for bi-annual cleanings. And at every visit, I hear the hygienist grinding what I assume to be plaque off my teeth. I always try to find out the state of my teeth, but that conversation almost always ends up about flossing (previous post comparing floss). However, at one visit, the hygienist suggested I occasionally brush with a homemade recipe of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide in 2:1 ratio (I think). This ultimately became the reason why I switched to Arm & Hammer toothpaste when I brush my teeth. I've kept with this toothpaste because I've noticed my teeth are smooth (no feeling of plaque) throughout the day, and therefore I consider my teeth cleaner. My wife has even commented without me asking that my teeth looked whiter. She's has now switched to using Arm & Hammer toothpaste every morning, but continues using Sensodyne toothpaste in the evenings for sensitive teeth.
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Baking Soda & Hydrogen Peroxide (2%)
The recommendation to create homemade toothpaste with two simple ingredients is where the change began. But I wanted to confirm this was a good idea.
- Baking Soda: A light abrasive that's perfect for removing plaque. It's also a weak base, which is great for and often acidic mouth (caused by bacteria that break down sugar into acid)
- Hydrogen Peroxide (2%): Is great for whitening, but in higher concentrations may causes teeth sensitivity
I already had baking soda in the house and buying hydrogen peroxide was simple, available at almost every store (Target, Safeway, Costco). Mixing the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide into a paste was also very simple. But the paste itself didn't feel like traditional toothpaste, and so it had an odd feeling. The fact that I had to mix this also caused a bit an inconvenience. Removing all barriers to brushing will keep the daily habit going, and the cost of toothpaste is low.
Arm & Hammer Toothpaste
Since my baking soda is branded Arm & Hammer, I figured it would make sense to go wtih the Arm & Hammer toothpaste with baking. The box claims to be low abrasive, whitening, and neutralizes acids to clean teeth. Since it matched the details of the earlier research, I decided this was the perfect option. As a bonus, the toothpaste is cheaper than Sensodyne toothpaste. Although I couldn't find this brand at Costco, the Arm & Hammer toothpaste is available on Amazon and I'm sure Safeway and Target.
I'll admit that it personally took me a couple of weeks to get accustomed to the taste of Arm & Hammer. Part of what made me stick with it was how clean Arm & Hammer got my teeth. Not only was it clean after I brushed, but stayed clean throughout the day. The only time my mouth felt overrun with bacteria is after consuming sweet foods, such as Starbucks Frappuccino blended drink, hot chocolate, and cotton candy. But once I brush with Arm & Hammer, all the gunk on my teeth are brushed away and my teeth feel much cleaner.
I do pair the Arm & Hammer toothpaste with an electric toothbrush (previous post comparing electric vs manual toothbrush). The toothpaste itself goes a long way, but the electric toothbrush makes cleaning easier, less of a guessing game, and more efficient. With an electric toothbrush, there isn't any brushing motion, but instead I make sure the toothbrush spends about 4-5 seconds on all sides of the teeth. It also makes "brushing" the inside and between of the teeth much easier when compared to a manual toothbrush. But the electric toothbrush itself isn't enough, because when comparing a clean with Arm & Hammer vs Sensodyne, Arm & Hammer wins!