Cleaner and brighter teeth is one of the main goals of dental healthcare. In fact, we use toothpaste to remove the stains of our teeth with the mission to whiten them. There are also a variety of dental treatments and procedures we can get to have white teeth.
Some dabble into DIYs and some turn to natural remedies. For example, using lemons are one of the most common ingredients used to naturally whiten teeth.
Not only that, but it’s also believed to brighten skin, fade scars, and reduce wrinkles. In fact, it’s chock-full of vitamin C, which reduces inflammation and fights UV rays that cause damage to the skin. It even dries out pimples because it has citric acid.
But are lemons as effective in whitening teeth as it is for whitening the skin? Can we really use lemon to whiten our teeth safely? What does science say?
In dentistry, the color of the teeth is important, and it is commonly measured in reflected light by using a visual method or a color-measuring instrument—the Munsell color system. Having pearly white teeth is important because it gives you a better smile, appearance and a pleasant way to show confidence and trustworthiness. That’s why people strive for whiter teeth.
How do lemons whiten teeth?
Lemon is a fruit that contains malic acid, a dicarboxylic that oxidizes the surface of the tooth enamel. It also has a page of 2-3, which makes it very acidic. As a result, it can remove the stain and discoloration of the tooth through demineralization.
According to research, three weeks of consistent tooth brushing with lemon and whitening toothpaste resulted in a positive, brighter change in color. The whitening toothpaste was used to remove stains by mechanical and chemical processes, as well as for the reduction of plaque. Meanwhile, the brighter color change was associated with the lemon.
Mixing lemon juice with water helps to lessen its acidity. It’s believed that this doesn’t affect its ability to reduce any acid that may remain on the surface of the tooth as well as in the oral saliva. But let’s take a look at the research and science behind the concept of lemon’s teeth-whitening powers.
Research may have shown that lemons have the ability to make your teeth bright, but they can also make your teeth weaker. Acidic food and drinks will cause enamel erosion. Instead of having whiter teeth, you may actually end up yellower ones because as the enamel becomes thinner, the yellow dentine underneath it begins to show.
The enamel is the outer protective layer of the teeth. It is made with the hardest mineralized substance in the human body. However, unlike hair and nails, it doesn’t grow.
In other words, enamel erosion is irreversible. Fortunately, there are preventive treatments and habits that can protect and preserve the enamel. One of the best ways to do this is to talk to your dentist and discuss recommendable procedures as well as habits and strategies to prevent or reduce enamel erosion.
A 2015 study indicates that lemon actually eats away at the teeth enamel. Remember that the enamel is the outermost protective layer of the teeth, which also fights tooth decay. That’s why dentists do not recommend using lemons on your teeth for whitening. Learn more about teeth whitening from a dentist.
In fact, they strongly caution people not to rub lemon or squirt lemon juice directly on the teeth—or on any part of the body, for that matter. It does contain helpful ingredients, but they have to the collected and processed and then used in proper bases and doses. So you can’t really act like a scientist without serious repercussions here.
What are better alternatives to lemon juice?
Now that you know how harmful lemons can be to your teeth, let’s try some alternatives. You might not be comfortable with dental treatments and procedures, or you might have some advocacy against single-plastic use that heavily pervades the dental industry. So you can try to make dietary changes, instead.
By eliminating food that stains teeth, you get one step close to brighten them. These food and drinks include soda, tea, coffee, red wine, or tomato-based sauces. You might also avoid curry, berries and beetroots.
You can also use little amounts of baking soda—which has been proven to remove stains and plaques. Click here to know more about teeth whitening at home. Finally, maintaining excellent oral hygiene will not only brighten your teeth but strengthen them and your gums. On top of that, you get a fresh breath!