Americans spend over $1.4 billion every year on over-the-counter teeth whitening products, and 80 percent of American adults want whiter teeth. As such, it's unsurprising that American consumers are always looking for new ways to get a whiter smile, and a lot of people believe that the natural health benefits of fresh fruit can also help them get the white teeth they want. Find out if fresh fruit really is a good way to whiten your teeth, and learn more about the effects this type of food can have on your dental health.
How tooth stains develop
Tooth whiteness varies from one person to another, and several factors influence how white your teeth look to other people. The protective enamel layer on the outside of your teeth varies in thickness and texture. For some people, the enamel is very smooth and thin, which allows the natural color of the dentin below to show through.
The enamel layer is also porous. Certain types of food and drink will slowly stain these pores, darkening the natural color of the tooth. A thin coating on the enamel (called pellicle) also picks up stains from dark liquids like coffee and red wine or from tobacco products. Intrinsic stains can also occur if you expose the teeth to too much fluoride, and trauma can also lead to permanently darker teeth.
Fruit as a tooth whitener
Health food advocates promote fresh fruit for an almost endless array of uses, and there are many healthy ways to add fruit to your diet. A lot of consumers are also increasingly concerned about their exposure to artificial ingredients and chemicals, so it's unsurprising that fresh fruit becomes an appealing alternative to manufactured whitening products.
Popular fruit preparations that some people suggest as tooth bleaching agents include:
- Lemon juice mixed with salt or baking soda
- Ripe strawberries mixed with bicarbonate of soda
- Whole apples eaten after a meal
Generally speaking, fruit advocates promote these methods on the basis that whitening effects come from the natural chemicals that you'll find in abundance in these fruits. They then add additional agents (like salt of baking soda) as an abrasive to further enhance the natural benefits of the fruit.
Does fruit whiten teeth?
Most of the natural fruit solutions advocated by health food fans can only give the impression of whiter teeth.
For example, strawberries contain chemicals that break down the plaque (or biofilm) that builds up on a tooth's surface. Mixed with baking soda, the fruit juice also removes particles of food or debris build-up that can cause discoloration. However, the fruit cannot do anything about the stains that occur in your enamel pores. What's more, strawberries certainly cannot help tackle the intrinsic stains that many people want to get rid of.
Unfortunately, fruit solutions can also cause damage.
How fruit could harm your teeth
Citrus fruits like lemons, oranges and grapefruits are naturally acidic. Over time, this acidity can erode the enamel layer on your teeth, and, if you continually rub lemon juice into your teeth and gums, your risk of tooth decay increases significantly. What's more, if you combine the juice with an abrasive product like baking soda or salt, you will probably accelerate these negative effects.
Similarly, strawberries contain high levels of citric and malic acid. Even though the fruit tastes sweeter than a lemon or a grapefruit, the effect of the acid on your teeth is largely the same, particularly as the fruit ripens. For this reason, when you eat fresh fruit, you should always then rinse your mouth with water to get rid of excess acid. Nonetheless, when you realize that the fruit isn't actually whitening your teeth, isn't it better to seek a more professional whitening solution?
How dentists whiten teeth
Your dentist offers the best teeth whitening solutions available. In-office tooth whitening treatments are safer, get results quicker and achieve more sustainable changes. After a small number of visits, your dentist can often whiten your teeth by three to eight shades. What's more, he or she can offer a range of treatment options that suit your needs.
Fresh fruit is not a good ingredient to whiten your teeth. While you may see some superficial results, the risk of damage to your teeth means that you should always turn to your dentist for safe tooth bleaching products. Check out websites like http://www.vfdental.com for more information.