Whitening your teeth is a matter of proper oral care and finding the right products.
There are many supposedly healthy teeth-whitening remedies popular online, and one of the more popular ones involves whitening teeth using a paste made from strawberries. So should you actually try it?
The truth is, using strawberries to whiten your teeth may do more harm than good. There are plenty of other affordable solutions for getting a dazzling smile without actually hurting your tooth enamel.
Let’s take a look at why some people believe strawberries can whiten your teeth, why you should avoid it, and what you should try instead.
People who swear by using strawberries to whiten teeth aren’t coming up with this claim out of nowhere. Strawberries do have properties that would hint at their effectiveness as a teeth-whitening agent.
Ripe strawberries contain citric acid, which may give teeth a whiter appearance after you apply it to them. However, citric acid is known to accelerate the demineralization of your teeth. In other words, this type of acid breaks down your tooth enamel, making any benefit of whitening negligible.
Strawberries also contain malic acid, which is also present in apples. Malic acid is a natural enamel whitener.
But here’s the problem: Strawberries don’t contain any ingredients that can actually lift stains to whiten your teeth.
Rubbing strawberries on your teeth may create the illusion of whiter teeth for an hour or so, as your teeth are scrubbed clean from plaque and are gleaming.
But the effect is superficial. Soon after, your teeth will be back to looking like they did before you used strawberries.
Mixing strawberries with baking soda to create a toothpaste to whiten your teeth probably won’t work as well as you might hope, either.
Baking soda does work to remove plaque from your teeth and even has natural whitening properties. But mixing mashed strawberries with baking soda will likely create a messy paste that leaves sugar on your teeth, negating baking soda’s benefits.
A 2014 University of Iowa study attempted to figure out, once and for all, whether baking soda and strawberries could team up as a whitening superpower. The answer was disappointing.
Using strawberries and baking soda on 20 recently extracted teeth three times over the span of 10 days didn’t reveal any visible whitening result. Furthermore, three control groups using more traditional whitening methods did become visibly whiter, both to the naked eye and under a spectroscope.
Using strawberries as a teeth whitener poses risks.
Strawberries are delicious for a reason: They’re full of natural sugar. Of course, the sugar found in strawberries isn’t the same as the white cane sugar that you may associate with processed sweets.
Still, fruit sugar eats away at the enamel on your teeth. Putting strawberry juice all over your teeth may leave you at a higher risk for cavities, just as white sugar increases your chances of them.
Loss of tooth enamel
The American Dental Association (ADA) points out that while fruit is a great dietary choice, saturating your teeth with fruit acids isn’t. Prolonged exposure to any kind of acid can harm your tooth enamel if you do it repeatedly.
Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your body, but once it’s gone, it can’t be replaced. In addition, using strawberries to clean your teeth means you’re not using fluoride toothpaste, which is essential for preserving your enamel.
There are plenty of well-established, low-risk ways to work on whitening your teeth, like:
- over-the-counter whitening toothpaste, including toothpaste that includes baking soda
- over-the-counter whitening strips
- whitening mouthwashes
- whitening gel treatments
- in-office teeth whitening performed by a dentist
Strawberries don’t work to lift stains from your teeth. In fact, any whitening effect you notice from using strawberries on your teeth will probably fade before the day is over.
Over-the-counter products are a better bet (and a safer option) for whitening your teeth at home.
The best way to keep your teeth white is to brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste for 2 minutes and to floss at least once a day. If you’ve tried several alternatives and are still searching for an option for whitening your teeth, speak with a dentist.