Can Strawberries Really Whiten Your Teeth?

Nowadays, there are many ways to whiten your teeth. You can use whitening toothpaste, trays, or strips, or you can have them whitened professionally at your dentist's office. Some sources claim even coconut oil can be used to whiten teeth. The problem is that not all of these options give you the same results, and they don't all offer the same level of safety. In fact, some whitening products can cause teeth sensitivity, gum irritation, and other unwanted side effects.


Although some teeth-whitening options can safely give you sparkling pearly whites without negative side effects, there's been some buzz over the years related to strawberries as an alternative teeth whitener. Have you heard of this — the ability of a simple fruit to make your teeth appear whiter? Strawberries contain two types of acid that are associated with teeth whitening, but do they actually work like those over-the-counter or professional teeth whiteners do, and are there risks involved?

Some people claim a strawberry-baking soda mixture whitened their teeth

We all know strawberries are good for our bodies. They're rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals and have anti-inflammatory properties that can protect the skin. They can also help lower cancer risks, but Healthline claims they can also whiten teeth due to their citric acid and malic acid content.


Howcast shared a video tutorial on how to make a strawberry-baking soda mixture to brush on your teeth to whiten them. Even the renowned Dr. Oz claimed that eating strawberries, among other fruits, can whiten teeth. In the comments of the Howcast video, one person commented, "This works GREAT!! It whitened my teeth about two shades." Several other respondents who tried the mixture also claimed the solution worked for them. 

However, Dr. So Ran Kwon, a dentist at Loma Linda University Health, conducted a study of the same mixture when she was a dental researcher at the University of Iowa and found less exciting results (via Iowa Now). She claimed the strawberry-baking soda mixture did nothing more than remove debris from the surface of the teeth, but she did acknowledge one benefit to the teeth. "They look whiter because you're just removing plaque accumulation on your teeth," she said.


Using strawberries as a teeth whitener can be risky

Although Dr. So Ran Kwon and several others found that the strawberry-baking soda solution can create the appearance of whiter teeth, temporarily, there are some risks that should not be ignored. Dr. Kwon says the mixture eroded teeth enamel (via Iowa Now). The Conversation made a similar claim regarding citric acid, stating that while having a "whitening" effect, this same agent is the culprit behind dissolving teeth enamel.


Enamel can be thought of as a shield for your teeth because it protects them from things like hot or cold foods and beverages, as well as damage caused by grinding and biting. If acid erodes the enamel, it can't regenerate naturally, and the protection diminishes. This leaves your teeth at an increased risk for cavities and decay.

Although strawberries can create the temporary appearance of whiter teeth by removing surface plaque, the risks might outweigh the benefits. If your teeth are a few shades darker than you want them to be, speak with your dentist about whitening options and the best ways to keep your teeth clean and healthy. And save the strawberries for snacking.