Apple cider vinegar has long been touted as a natural health remedy. It can aid digestion, help control blood sugar levels, alleviate sunburns, make hair shinier, and maybe even play a role in weight loss!
Another claim about the benefits of using apple cider vinegar is that it can act as a natural tooth whitener. Is the miracle cure apple cider vinegar really a whitening agent and, if so, how safe is it to use at home?
What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Vinegar is a sour liquid made during a fermentation process that converts sugar to alcohols and then the alcohol into acetic acid. Apple cider vinegar, which has about 5% acidity, comes from apples and plain water. It’s used for marinades, salad dressings, pickling, and a wide variety of home remedies, including teeth whitening.
The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar has been reported to help remove plaque from teeth and remedy stains caused by smoking or drinking red wine or coffee. Apple cider vinegar is also touted for improving overall mouth health by killing “bad” bacteria and fostering healthy bacteria.
Nearly everyone wants brilliant white movie star teeth, and apple cider vinegar could be an easy, accessible way to get a little closer to that goal. Instead of making expensive, time-consuming teeth whitening products or in-office appointments, just reach in the pantry!
Mixed with water and used as a rinse or mouthwash, or combined with baking soda and rubbed directly onto the teeth as a paste, apple cider vinegar is getting recognition as an all-natural alternative to traditional whitening mouthwashes and toothpaste. But is it as great as some people say?
Potential Risks of Vinegar as a Whitening Agent
As with any “cure-all” treatment, there’s a catch. Apple cider vinegar is very acidic, with a pH of 3.075, and using too much can damage the tooth enamel, which starts to erode at a pH of 5.5.
Enamel erosion will actually make the tooth surfaces appear darker as the shiny white outer layer breaks down. When the protective outer enamel becomes weakened from too much acidity, it can lead to tooth sensitivity.
Although sometimes ingested to help ward off minor illnesses like colds and sore throats, swallowing undiluted apple cider vinegar can also cause throat irritation.
The Best Way to Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Whiten Teeth
To safely use apple cider vinegar as an organic, all-natural tooth-whitening agent, the key is to dilute and use sparingly. Create a rinse of one part apple cider vinegar and two parts water, and gently swish around the mouth for about one minute.
To avoid damaging the enamel, be sure to dilute the vinegar before it comes in contact with the teeth. After rinsing, wait at least 30 minutes before brushing teeth. Even diluted, the vinegar can be abrasive, and applying a rough toothbrush to the tooth’s enamel surfaces right away can do more harm than good.
Apple cider vinegar as a whitening rinse won’t lead to immediately brighter, whiter teeth. Consistent use over time – making sure to dilute to avoid enamel erosion – can eventually lead to a whiter smile. Always be sure to consult a dentist first to make sure it’s the best choice. Often, manufactured mouthwashes and toothpaste can deliver visible results more quickly without the risks, although they typically are not all-natural products.
With careful use, apple cider vinegar may be a smart option for organic tooth whitening. As with any product, natural or manufactured, consult a health professional before use and use in moderation for the greatest benefit with minimal risk.
Want another option for whiter teeth? Water Tower Dental Care offers Zoom! Teeth Whitening. Zoom! is a leading teeth whitening system that brightens smiles up to eight shades in about an hour. For more information on Zoom! or other tips for a healthier, whiter smile, Contact us to learn more.