You may have heard of the latest DIY teeth whitening technique that’s been gaining popularity, thanks to exposure on The Dr. Oz Show and various YouTube channels.
Proponents of this method state that by mixing fruit — usually strawberries — with baking soda and applying it to one’s teeth, one can create a homemade solution to lighten teeth effectively and organically.
Unfortunately, the fruit and baking soda method doesn’t work, according to a recent study by So Ran Kwon, a researcher from the University of Iowa. Kwon compared the results of the fruit mixture’s effect on teeth with those of other whitening methods, including over-the-counter whitening strips, professional teeth whitening and prescribed take-home whitening kits, according to IBN Live.
Kwon’s research showed that strawberries and baking soda may effectively remove debris from one’s teeth, but the mixture produces no noticeable whitening.
“The only benefit of the do-it-yourself method (strawberries and baking soda) is while it seems to make your teeth look whiter, they look whiter because you’re just removing plaque accumulation on your teeth,” Kwon said.
“Whatever method you use does about the same thing, the difference is the length of time it takes for teeth to lighten,” says Dr. Anibal Lopez of Summit Family Dentistry. “Over the counter methods have 10% Carbamide peroxide (active ingredient) whereas the take-home and in-office methods range from 11% to 40% Carbamide peroxide. The higher the percentage the faster it will remove both external and internal stains.”
According to IBN News, strawberries and other fruits are ineffective as teeth whiteners because they contain no hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, the key ingredients responsible for lightening teeth.
The other three whitening methods Kwon tested — the whitening strips, professional whitening procedure and the at-home whitening solution — all showed visible results after being tested on extracted teeth for three five-minute intervals over a 10-day period.
So while the idea of whitening your teeth with the inexpensive, natural mixture of strawberries and baking soda may seem appealing, it’s still your best bet to whiten your teeth with dentist-recommended techniques.