Natural Teeth Whitening: What’s the Verdict?

Look through magazines, browse the web, scroll through social media and you’re likely to read someone’s opinion of natural teeth whitening remedies. But before you jump on any bandwagon, let’s take a look at what might work and what might not. Below, we take a look at some of the most popular “natural” teeth whitening remedies and whether or not they actually work.

Using Fruit to Naturally Whiten Teeth

Fruit is great for our bodies as part of our diet, but are there any that have magical teeth whitening abilities? Let’s find out.

  • 1. Strawberries and Watermelon: Not only are strawberries and watermelon delicious to eat (and fun to pick when their seasons roll around), but they also contain malic acid which has teeth whitening properties. Malic acid creates more saliva production in your mouth, helping to wash away staining particles and bacteria while supplying your teeth with a dose of natural teeth whitener. However, acidity, which occurs naturally in fruit, in itself is not good for the enamel of your teeth.Creating a paste, like with strawberries and baking soda, may work superficially to brighten your smile. But be warned, don’t overuse this method because it could erode the tooth's enamel.
  • 2. Crunchy Fruits and Vegetables: Apples, carrots, cauliflower, celery and other crunchy fruits and vegetables contain many beneficial properties. One of which happens to be related to your teeth. As you crunch away, these fruits and veggies are essentially “scrubbing” your teeth, and since it takes lots of chewing power to break down these foods, your mouth creates more saliva in the process which can help to rid your mouth of staining particles and bacteria. Apples also contain malic acid which does pack a little whitening kick. However, if you are trying to treat surface stains that are already on your teeth, grabbing a crunchy fruit or veggie to snack on might not do the trick.
  • 3. Banana Peel: We’ve seen some rumors running around that rubbing the inside of the peel on your teeth will lead to a brighter, whiter smile… While this sounds easy enough, and we hate to be the bearer of bad news, there is no scientific evidence that this talked-about trick works.
  • 4. Pineapples: Pineapples contain bromelain which is an enzyme that helps break up plaque. We all (hopefully) know that brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing once daily helps rid your mouth of plaque which can build up and cause cavities and gum disease. While eating pineapple during the day can give you an extra jump on your daily oral hygiene routine, it’s not going to significantly whiten your teeth.

Teeth Whitening Scrubs

You may have seen natural teeth whitening scrubs, like charcoal toothpaste, advertised as the solution to a dinghy smile. However, we recommend being cautious of these options.

Your tooth’s enamel - the outer surface of the tooth, and the strongest tissue in your body - protects the inner layers of the tooth. If your enamel starts to wear away, your teeth can look more yellow, become sensitive, and be more prone to tooth decay. Therein lies the main issue with teeth whitening scrubs like charcoal. If they are too abrasive, either through grit or potency, you may end up doing more harm than good. While it may help scrub away some surface layer stains, it could also wear away at your enamel which can have longer term effects on your overall oral health.

Hydrogen Peroxide for Natural Teeth Whitening

Hydrogen peroxide is largely used in the teeth-whitening realm. Easily purchased over the counter in a bottle, found in many toothpastes, and abundant in teeth whitening products, hydrogen peroxide contains properties that break down stains on, and within, the tooth. However, knowing what you’re buying is necessary. Straight hydrogen peroxide can damage enamel so don’t use higher than 3%. If you’re purchasing a toothpaste or whitening product, check for the ADA Seal of Acceptance to know if it's safe for use.

Spices and Oils for Teeth Whitening

Though there is no scientific evidence that oil pulling or using spices on your tooth surface as a whitening tactic works, some people believe in its benefits regardless. Oil pulling is the method of swishing oil, like coconut oil, around in your mouth for about 15 minutes. While the verdict is still out on whether these whitening methods work, studies do show that the oil eliminates some bacteria in your saliva, helps decrease plaque, and may reduce gum inflammation. So while this may not be a tooth whitening method in the short run, it could be a viable way to keep your mouth healthy which positively impacts your oral health and, ultimately, teeth color.

Same holds true for some spices, like turmeric. Health benefits around turmeric are plentiful because of its natural anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. However, its ability to truly whiten your teeth is questionable.


Avoiding Certain Beverages

Want whiter teeth? Avoid the plethora of beverages that contribute to teeth staining. So many things we consume contribute to oral health problems, including discoloration of teeth.

  • The cup of coffee in the morning
  • The soothing cup of tea
  • The glass of wine to unwind
  • The sports beverage after a workout
  • The glass of soda with lunch…

These beverages can lead to tooth discoloration because of highly pigmented food coloring or natural acids that promote staining. Additionally, some of these beverages contain high quantities of sugar which negatively affects your oral health because sugar contributes to plaque build-up, gum disease, and tooth decay.


The best way to avoid tooth discoloration from these beverages is to eliminate them from your diet or limit your intake. However, if you are determine to consumer them, keep these tips in mind:

  • Consume through a straw to limit contact with teeth
  • Dilute with a neutralizing agent like milk or water
  • Rinse your mouth out or brush your teeth right after
  • Chew sugar-free gum to promote more saliva in your mouth

These tips will help cut down on the negative effects certain beverages can have on your oral health.

Viable Teeth Whitening Options

Natural teeth whitening remedies can help lower the bacteria levels in your mouth and may add a little whitening power to your daily routine, but what having whiter teeth truly boils down to is having healthy habits. The American Dental Association warns us that though DIY teeth whitening methods may be tempting, they could do more harm than good, so tread lightly. The most viable options for maintaining a white smile are:

  • Eating fruits and vegetables
  • Avoiding teeth staining beverages
  • Making sure to brush twice daily and floss once daily
  • Using an ADA approved toothpaste that includes whitening benefits
  • Adding a whitening gel to your toothpaste that safely provides an additional bump to whitening

If you feel your teeth need further whitening, chat with your dentist about what would most successfully benefit you.