Apple Cider Vinegar For Teeth Whitening - Is It Safe?

Apple Cider Vinegar For Teeth Whitening - Is It Safe?

 Whitney DiFoggio MA, RDH
Written by Whitney DiFoggio MA, RDH🔬 Evidence Based
Apple Cider Vinegar For Teeth Whitening - Is It Safe?

Apple cider vinegar for teeth whitening. It’s become one of the most popular trends when it comes to home remedies for teeth whitening. Many people have heard of using apple cider vinegar to whiten their teeth and are curious to know if it is a safe and effective way to make their smile brighter, despite its highly acidic nature. While there may be some advantages to using apple cider vinegar every day, the toll it takes on your teeth may not be worth the risk. Especially if you already struggle with tooth sensitivity, enamel erosion, or gum recession.

Even if you’re not using apple cider vinegar for teeth whitening, you might be one of those people who take it every day for weight loss. But studies show that even people who use it for those reasons have experienced eroded teeth because of the liquid’s acidity.

Some people use apple cider vinegar (ACV) to whiten teeth, but there's no evidence it works. ACV's acidity can damage enamel and cause sensitivity, and swallowing it can irritate the throat.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Dental Health

Recent studies have shown that using an apple cider vinegar rinse can permanently damage the tooth enamel, leading to physical erosion in your teeth. Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which is produced during the fermentation process and is responsible for its acidic nature. Although it might seem like a holistic alternative to mouth rinse, apple cider vinegar should not be used for this purpose. The longer the contact time it has on your teeth, the more erosion there will be. Using a pH-balanced or alkaline mouthwash is a much safer option. Not only is there the risk of erosion, but its acidity could also cause damage around the margins of dental restorations like crowns, fillings, bonding, or veneers. This scenario can lead to the need for additional dental treatments in what would otherwise be healthy teeth.

Let’s say you’ve already been using home remedies for teeth whitening, like apple cider vinegar or rubbing lemons on your teeth. Experts recommend applying topical fluoride—like a prescription from your dentist—to help prevent additional demineralization in your teeth.

Apple Cider Vinegar for Teeth Whitening

Apple cider vinegar is an increasingly popular whitening agent used to naturally whiten teeth at home. Some people rinse with it daily or use it as a mouthwash. It’s claimed that apple cider vinegar contains enzymes that break down food particles and bacteria in your mouth, while its acidic nature can help remove stains on teeth.

However, it’s important to note that apple cider vinegar can be damaging to tooth enamel because of its extremely acidic pH levels. Its acidity can literally erode the hardest structure in your entire body, leading to more visible yellowing in your teeth over time. Your teeth might look whiter at the beginning, but the more enamel erosion you have, the yellower your teeth will look.

The only reason people use apple cider vinegar to whiten teeth is because it gives off this false sense of brighter enamel. In reality, your teeth are just losing minerals, causing them to look hypocalcified. It’s pseudo-whitening instead of the real thing.

Tooth Enamel and Apple Cider Vinegar

Enamel erosion is the physical wearing down of tooth enamel, which is the hard outer layer of the teeth. Erosion can be caused by several things, such as acid found in soft drinks, fruit juices, and other acidic beverages. It can even be caused by existing medical conditions like acid reflux disease, bulimia, or frequent vomiting. And guess what? Apple cider vinegar is acidic too, so it can erode your enamel the same way stomach acids do.

Apple cider vinegar is acidic, with a pH level of around 3.0 (7.0 is neutral.) This acidity can physically erode through your white enamel, leading to exposed yellow dentin underneath. So instead of your teeth looking whiter, they appear darker and more yellow over time. Long-term severe enamel erosion can also cause problems like extreme tooth sensitivity and a higher risk of tooth decay. Every time you rinse with it or swish it around your mouth, you’re essentially coating your teeth in an acidic liquid. Over time, that really adds up!

As an alternative, some people use baking soda for teeth whitening, which is less acidic and can help remove stains without causing significant enamel erosion.

Whitening Teeth With Products vs. Apple Cider Vinegar

When it comes to whitening your teeth, professional help from a dentist or quality teeth whitening product you buy at the store is your best option. Professional help from a dental office can offer services like teeth whitening plans, dental implants, dental crowns, and Invisalign® consultations. While some people have had positive results from rinsing with apple cider vinegar, it’s important to understand that the acidity of the vinegar can cause enamel erosion, leading to long-term dental health problems. Tooth enamel is the protective layer of your teeth, and when it’s eroded, it can cause significant damage and make your teeth more vulnerable to staining. They might look whiter at first, but the results won’t last.

Instead of using apple cider vinegar to whiten your teeth, it’s safer to use a professional teeth whitening product such as strips, custom trays, or in-office whitening. Professional advice can help you make sure you are using the right product for your teeth, and your dental team can provide personalized advice on how to get the best results for your situation. Teeth whitening products are designed to be safe on your enamel and will provide much brighter results than DIY treatments like apple cider vinegar rinse.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Your Medications

Apple cider vinegar’s acidic solution can interact with certain medications. People taking antibiotics, anticoagulants, diabetes drugs, and heart medications should talk to their doctor before using apple cider vinegar for teeth whitening or other holistic health purposes. This is to ensure that any potential interactions won’t pose a risk to their health.

For example, people who take insulin can experience too low of blood glucose levels if they’re using apple cider vinegar. It can also lower your potassium levels, which can be dangerous if you’re taking diuretics or medications that are already specifically meant for managing potassium.

Additionally, swallowing undiluted apple cider vinegar can cause throat irritation, adding to the list of potential risks.

Talk With Your Dentist

DIY teeth whitening trends, such as using apple cider vinegar, can be dangerous to your dental health and wind up costing you big time in the long run. Although apple cider vinegar can help to whiten teeth initially, it’s temporary and only because it physically changes the minerals in your enamel. Similarly, other home remedies like coconut oil should also be discussed with your dentist before use. It’s important to discuss any teeth whitening methods with your dentist before trying them, regardless of which method you go with.

Your dentist will be able to assess your dental health and determine the best course of action for you, especially if you have any active issues like tooth decay or gum disease, which contraindicate a lot of teeth whitening products. Active diseases need to be addressed beforehand, so it’s important to make sure your smile is healthy enough for whitening before you use any type of bleaching agent.

If you’re worried about the expenses involved, it can actually be more cost effective to buy a professional whitening kit than use home remedies for teeth whitening, especially when you consider the potential damage it does to your teeth. Your dentist may have special offers on take-home trays, for example, which are super affordable and last for years.

Apple cider Vinegar to Whiten Teeth

If you’re looking for an effective DIY teeth whitening method, it’s best to seek advice from a dentist or use a quality teeth whitening product that’s tooth safe and won’t damage your enamel. Avoid rinsing with apple cider vinegar or using other acidic substances like lemon juice, as their acidity can lead to enamel erosion and other long-term damage to your dental health.

Don’t go with home remedies for teeth whitening. They’re almost always bad for your teeth. Instead, pick up a set of whitening strips or ask your dentist to take impressions for a custom set of bleaching trays.

 Whitney DiFoggio MA, RDH
Written by Whitney DiFoggio MA, RDH"Teeth Talk Girl," is a registered dental hygienist. She started her dental health journey on YouTube, educating the public through videos.
Last updated onMay 22, 2024Here is our process

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