The Internet is a great source of information. Unfortunately, it’s also a great source of misinformation as well, including numerous teeth whitening shortcuts that people will unknowingly try, and, in the process, damage their teeth.
It Might Work . . . for a Little While
This home remedy for whitening tells people to rub a little undiluted apple cider vinegar on their teeth daily, then rinse it off.
The worst thing about apple cider vinegar is that it can be effective . . . sort of. Apple cider vinegar is a strong acid, about as acidic as cola, the most acidic type of soda. This acid can break down stain molecules that get trapped in your teeth, especially those on the surface level. This means that putting apple cider vinegar on your teeth can remove such stains. But that’s not all it’s removing. The strong acid in vinegar will instantly begin breaking down your tooth enamel.
Apple cider vinegar has a pH level of about 3. The pH system is set up so that neutral is 7, and every whole number below that represents a tenfold increase in the concentration of acid. So apple cider vinegar (pH 3) is about 100 times stronger than coffee (pH 5). Since tooth enamel starts to break down at pH 5.5, apple cider vinegar can aggressively damage your teeth. Studies of bleaching teeth with vinegar show that they do whiten your teeth, but only in proportion to the extent that they remove your tooth enamel. The more whitening, the more damage.
So you will see your teeth whiten, for a while. Your teeth will become stained again, so you’ll use more vinegar. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that your enamel will remineralize as fast as you’re removing it, so you’ll be wearing away your enamel. This will expose the dentin underneath. Dentin is the middle layer of your teeth. It’s not cosmetic: it’s yellow, brown, or gray. Once it starts to show through, your teeth will be permanently discolored. Not only that, but they will be more vulnerable to decay, cracking, and loss. It’s the same problem as using very abrasive whitening toothpastes, or trying the strawberry teeth whitening remedy.
It’s true that vinegars don’t all have the same erosive potential. A study of different vinegars showed there was significant variation in tooth erosion among vinegars with similar pH values. So you might think that apple cider vinegar doesn’t cause tooth erosion. But you’d be wrong. Researchers have already documented the damaging potential of apple cider vinegar when used as a natural remedy. People who drink it as a weight loss aid can experience erosion of tooth enamel. If you don’t like the thought of drinking vinegar (who does?), but you still want to get the purported health benefits of apple cider vinegar, you might try taking a supplement. But these can be so acidic they can damage your throat tissue.
Who Can Benefit from Apple Cider Vinegar
But some people can genuinely benefit from apple cider vinegar–if they’ve already lost their teeth. Denture wearers can use apple cider vinegar to help ward off oral thrush–it’s very effective against Candida fungus.
If you are looking for teeth whitening that will make your teeth attractive while keeping them healthy, please call (702) 873-0324 for an appointment with a Summerlin cosmetic dentist at the office of James B. Polley.