Are Strawberries Good for Your Teeth?
Strawberries are known to be great for your overall health.
Low in calories, rich in antioxidants, high in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals including folate, potassium, dietary fibre and magnesium, they are part of a healthy diet.
Also packed with Vitamin C, which is essential in maintaining the strength and integrity of your gums, just one serving of strawberries provides about half of your daily Vitamin C needs.
But yet the question still remains – they may be good for your health, but are they good for your teeth?
Strawberries do have the ability to brighten a dull smile, as they contain the tooth-whitening enzyme called malic acid.
However, there is a fine line between what is right and what is wrong – it seems too much of a good thing can be bad for you.
They are very acidic, and by adding too to your diet much too frequently, you can actually damage the enamel on your teeth.
Today, I will teach you how to whiten your teeth with strawberries, and other natural methods of teeth-whitening that can be used in moderation.
This way you will not cause yourself any dental problems such as discolouration, cracked teeth sensitivity or even tooth loss.
What has made Teeth Whitening with Strawberries so Popular?
Toothpastes, at-home whitening kits, professional teeth whitening, natural methods – there are no limits to the ways to whiten teeth.
And with the popularity of Cosmetic Dentistry skyrocketing in the last few decades, it is no doubt something you have at least considered, if not done.
Do a quick online search and you’ll find multitudes of home-made recipes claiming their use for teeth whitening – and strawberries mixed with baking soda are right up there at the top of the list in helping you get a whiter smile.
It seems like such a simple and tasty way to improve your teeth, but will it really work?
Do Strawberries Work for Teeth Whitening?
Dr. So Ran Kwon, an associate professor and dental researcher at the University of Iowa, put the myth to the test.
Her study, which was published in 2015 in “Operative Dentistry”, showed that she rubbed a mix of crushed strawberries and baking soda over 20 pulled teeth, three times daily, for 10 days in a row.
She left the mixture on the teeth for five minutes, before brushing it away.
By doing the study, she found that the mix helped remove plaque and any surface debris from teeth, which created the illusion of a whiter smile. But the mix didn’t actually do any bleaching.
Strawberries contain a tooth-whitening enzyme called malic acid – this is what helps brighten your smile.
However, they are highly acidic, so using this remedy too frequently could damage the enamel on your teeth.
Eating/using acidic foods on your teeth too often can lead to erosion of the tooth enamel, wearing down the protective coating of enamel on your teeth.
Once tooth enamel is lost, it doesn’t grow back. Enamel erosion can cause a wide range of dental problems, including sensitive teeth, discoloration, cracked teeth and even tooth loss.
However, the malic acid in strawberries is an astringent which will remove surface discoloration on teeth – making a dull smile appear brighter.
You can make a simple tooth-cleaning recipe at home by mixing strawberry pulp with baking soda and brushing it on with your toothbrush.
- 1 Strawberry
- 1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
- Crush one strawberry.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and mix well.
- Dip your toothbrush into the mixture.
- Coat your teeth well.
- Let the mixture sit on your teeth for no longer than 5 minutes.
- Brush your teeth with regular toothpaste and floss immediately.
NOTE: Do not use this recipe more than once a week, as the acid can damage tooth enamel if applied too frequently.
However, let’s not confuse the situation – you don’t have to cut back on your intake of the foods that are good for you.
7 tips on how you can protect your teeth and still gain all the benefits from eating your fruit
- Eat smart – Pair your strawberries with foods that have low acid and sugar content – eat your spinach, bananas, apples, nuts and dairy products. Stay away from certain beverages such as soft drinks, fruit juices, sports drinks and wine, as these are all highly acidic.
- Take breaks between eating – Don’t eat constantly throughout the day. If you wait a couple of hours between eating, this gives your saliva time to neutralise the acid and repair your tooth enamel.
- Rinse your mouth after eating – Rinsing your mouth with water after eating also allows for neutralisation of the acid.
- Chew gum – Chewing sugar-free chewing gum, especially for 20 minutes after you eat your meal, can activate saliva and help clear away any debris.
- Wait before brushing your teeth – Yes, be patient! The abrasives in toothpaste may actually cause further damage to the enamel on your teeth. Wait at least 30 minutes after you eat or drink something acidic before you brush your teeth.
- Floss – Strawberries contain on average 200 seeds, and we all know how irritating they are when they become stuck in our teeth! Floss at least once a day, to help you prevent getting cavities between your teeth.
- Eat cheese – Eating cheese after your fruit raises the pH levels in your mouth and the saliva as well. This helps neutralise the acid and repair your tooth enamel.
After all, a healthy diet, a proper oral care regime and regular dental visits are all you need to maintain a beautiful, healthy smile.
I know when it comes to eating something as healthy as strawberries, your teeth are probably one of the last things you are taking into consideration.
But, with just a little preparation, you can enjoy your fruit and not have to worry about your oral health!
What are other Options I can Use to Whiten my Teeth?
There are other at-home remedies that you can use to whiten your teeth, or simply keep them healthy, using the same element that works so well in strawberries – that is, either malic acid or Vitamin C.
Fruits with Malic Acid
If you don’t like strawberries, you can also find malic acid in:
Add these to your diet – just take the necessary precautions to keep the most acidic fruits from hurting your teeth (as discussed above).
Easily done – you can have your fruit and eat it too!
An Apple A Day Keeps the Dentist Away
The apple can be considered a natural toothbrush – it too contains malic acid like strawberries, which helps remove stains from your teeth.
Other reasons include;
- Chewing on an apple can dislodge food particles that have become stuck
- Chewing on an apple can reduce bacteria in your mouth
- Apples can massage your gums
- The juice of an apple can guard against dental problems such as periodontal (gum) disease
- If you don’t have any apples, try swishing some apple cider vinegar in your mouth before you brush your teeth in the morning – this can help remove stains.
Adding more dairy products into your diet will help you gain a whiter smile.
Dairy products like cheese and yoghurt cause your mouth to produce excess saliva, which helps to break down stains on enamel.
Cheese especially has an additional whitening effect as it contains lactic acid, which is similar to malic acid. This helps to dissolve superficial stains on the surface of your teeth.
The Importance of Vitamin C
Vitamin C plays a major role in the growth, maintenance and repair of your body’s vital tissue – including your bones, cartilage and teeth.
Vitamin C also keeps your body prepared to heal wounds and fight infections – gum disease included.
However, our body cannot make or store vitamin C by itself, so you need to get your daily dosage through eating foods that contain a lot of it.
Vitamin C is found in all fruits and vegetables, but some of the best fruit sources are citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruits, and kiwi fruit, mangos, pineapples, watermelon, and of course berries.
It will always be recommended that you eat a balanced diet with lots fruits and vegetables, to ensure that you get enough Vitamin C.
Try adding a little baking soda to your normal toothpaste for a natural teeth whitener.
This will remove stains and whiten your teeth. Use it just like toothpaste – just be sure to spit, not swallow!
Keep in mind that no at-home remedies are as effective as a professional whitening treatment performed by your Dentist.
However, there are whitening toothpastes and natural whitening methods that you can use in moderation only. Always be careful to;
- Eat smart
- Rinse with water immediately after eating acidic foods
- Wait at least thirty minutes before brushing after eating acidic foods
- Keep up your good oral care regime
- Use our advice carefully and correctly, and at-home remedies may just help you maintain a bright, stain-free smile!
Have you tried using Strawberries to brighten your smile? We’d love to hear your thoughts!
By Andrew Adams
Created at October 10, 2019, Updated at March 06, 2020