DIY — from skin care to home decor — has become so popular over the years, even affordable hacks for teeth whitening, like rubbing ripe strawberries across your teeth, have become a thing. While it may seem like a genius idea, this home remedy in particular may bring more harm to your teeth than good.
Fruit contains acid, and prolonging the contact between your teeth and fruits like strawberries can put your enamel at risk. In fact, a study presented in 2012 illustrated just how the citric and malic acid in strawberries can erode enamel over time.
Can Strawberries Whiten Teeth?
Maryland-based dentist Gigi Meinecke, DMD, FAGD, member and spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry, and a dentist based in Potomac, MD, agrees. “I’m sure I’m not the only dentist that winces whenever I read about ‘home remedies’ and other forms of DIY dentistry.”
Strawberries have a pH between 3 and 4, making them very acidic, she adds. A pH of 1 is the most acidic, while a pH of 7 is the least acidic. Enamel starts to dissolve at a pH of 5.5, and teeth will appear whiter when you dissolve away the superficial layers, Dr. Meinecke explains. “The bad news is that once it’s gone, enamel does not grow back,” she says.
A gentle and affordable way to whiten teeth is by brushing twice daily with Pronamel Gentle Whitening. It contains fluoride and acts as a regular toothpaste (cavity protection to boot), and it effectively removes surface stains and restores natural whiteness for a brighter smile. Also great? The toothpaste helps protect teeth against the effects of enamel erosion due to dietary acids, and strengthens and rehardens enamel.