Hailed as the cheap and organic alternative to teeth whitening, fruit concoctions have arisen as the new way to get those pearly whites. But is there any truth to all these claims?
A study at the University of Iowa points to no. Associate Professor So Ran Kwon tested homemade strawberry-baking soda mix, over the counter remedies, and professional whitening or prescribed whitening products. What he found was that “the only benefit of the DIY method is while it seems to make your teeth look whiter, they look whiter because you’re just removing plaque.” The fruit blends don’t penetrate into the teeth and remove stain molecules, they whiten only superficially. Professional treatments whiten from the inside out—which is what we really want. All the other procedures tested (professional whitening, whitening strips, and prescribed treatments) all had discernable effects on the whiteness of the teeth.
So why don’t strawberries or other fruits work? It’s all about chemistry. These fruits don’t contain hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, both active ingredients in teeth whitening products as regulated by the ADA. Apples and lemons? They don’t work either. And in fact, the acidity present in these fruits could be harmful to your teeth. Kwon’s study showed that the strawberry-baking soda mix reduced the surface hardness of the teeth by up to 10%.
The study was published in the dental journal, Operative Dentistry. You can read more about the details of the study here.