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Ask Your Dentist: Can StrawberriesWhiten Your Teeth?

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A gleaming white smile can boost your self-confidence, so it's unsurprising that so many people in Australia like to experiment with tooth whitening products. While a dentist can always help you with the latest products and treatment solutions, some people also like to experiment with natural remedies. For example, a lot of people believe that fresh strawberries can help them naturally whiten their teeth. Find out if they're right.

The appeal of fresh fruit

When it comes to tooth whitening products, some consumers worry that harsh chemicals and artificial ingredients can damage their teeth. Touted as a great addition to a healthy diet, fresh fruit boasts the benefit of all-natural ingredients and tastes pretty good too, so it's unsurprising that many people think these foods universally boost well-being.

Unfortunately, what many people fail to remember is that natural foods can still cause unwanted side effects. Despite the health benefits of fresh fruit, people who consume too much fruit can actually increase their risk of diabetes due to the high levels of fructose found in this type of food. What's more, while fresh strawberries may seem like a more natural way to whiten your teeth, you may actually do more harm than good.

How strawberries whiten teeth

Strawberries naturally contain high levels of polyphenols. These particles have well-known antioxidant properties, and polyphenol-rich foods can also help improve brain health. Scientists also believe that polyphenols can help fight plaque and will kill the bacteria that cause gum disease.

If you dip your toothbrush in a ripe strawberry and scrub your teeth, you may see a change in tooth colour and a whiter, brighter look. In fact, this isn't because strawberries have any whitening properties. When you brush with a strawberry, the chemicals in the fruit can help break down plaque (or biofilm), which can give the teeth a whiter appearance, but the fruit does not have any 'real' whitening properties.

Research undertaken at the University of Iowa found that a strawberry and baking soda solution could only create the appearance of whiter teeth because the solution just removed superficial debris. An effective whitening product (like hydrogen peroxide) will penetrate the tooth and break down any stain molecules. Strawberries can't do this. To make matters worse, there are other risks.

How strawberries could damage your teeth

Strawberries are naturally high in citric and malic acid, particularly as they ripen. Over time, regular brushing with a ripe strawberry solution could erode the surface of the tooth. Studies show that these fruit acids can cut microhardness by around 10 percent. As such, you would actually increase your risk of more serious tooth decay.

If you're keen to whiten your teeth, you should always consult a dental professional. Home remedies may seem to get results, but you could actually do more harm than good. For more information, contact a local clinic like Semaphore Dental