Many people reject commercial products that aim to whiten the teeth, in favor of natural at home dental whitening methods. And one of the natural alternatives most often mentioned is to use lemons, rubbing the peel across the teeth or drinking lemon juice with a bit of salt, or to mash up some strawberries and actually brush with them. Many people who advocate the use of fruits in this way often say they see noticeable tooth whitening within a few days. Yet despite their supposedly healthy qualities, these fruits still may not turn out to be the best solution.
The most effective use of fruit for dental whitening appears, at first, to be provided by lemons, whether using the juice as a mouthwash or rubbing the peel directly on the teeth. Yet what the citric acid actually does is pull calcium out of the enamel. This makes the tooth appear whiter, for a while, because calcium is one of the things that adds a darker tinge to the color. But losing calcium eventually makes the enamel thinner, weakening the teeth. As an at home teeth whitening method, lemons look promising at first, but could produce devastating effects in the end.
Are strawberries any better as a natural teeth whitener? Not really. Its seeds are coarse and can scratch and hurt the teeth, and the acid can have a similar effect to that in lemons. In actual fact, the acid contained in strawberries in fact makes the enamel softer. This is why it’s advised that people will want to wait 20 minutes after eating them before brushing the teeth, to allow the saliva a chance to top off the minerals in the enamel. The use of actual strawberries to brush your teeth, particularly habitually, might be not the most appropriate method of achieving whiter teeth.
One should remember that most tooth color comes from the yellowish dentin inside, beneath the translucent enamel. So using an at home dental whitening method that in fact erodes the enamel, and gradually reveals more of the dentin, means that rather than ending up with white teeth, they could produce teeth that are ultimately more yellow than before.
In fact, with most of the teeth’s color dependent on the dentin, it may not really be possible to make teeth much whiter than they were to start with. The more important assignment is to keep maintain the health of your teeth, and a continuous treatment of either lemons or strawberries is not likely to accomplish that objective.