Dental benefits

Dental trend spotlight: Can a banana peel really whiten your teeth?

Teeth whitening is a multi-billion-dollar industry. In fact, Americans spent more than $11 billion on teeth whitening in 2015, including more than $1.4 billion on at-home products.

So when word spread that rubbing your teeth with the inside of a banana peel for two minutes can help whiten your teeth, it caught fire. Advocates of the home remedy say the potassium, magnesium and manganese in banana peels absorb into your teeth and whiten them.

Others suggest that lemon peels, strawberries or orange peels can be used as natural teeth whiteners.

But there aren’t any studies or scientific evidence to back claims that fruit can whiten teeth. Experts say the effectiveness of using fruit peels as natural teeth whiteners simply doesn’t match the hype.

Fruits are a great source of vitamins and minerals. But some fruits, such as lemons and oranges, are highly acidic and can damage your enamel.

Eating crunchy fruits, such as apples, increases saliva production and helps reduce the bacteria in your mouth that causes plaque. But while they may naturally wash away food particles, they don’t necessarily whiten your teeth.

Talk with your dentist before trying any home remedies for tooth whitening. Your dentist will be able to outline the pros and cons to help you make an informed decision. Regular dental visits will also help remove plaque and tartar, and keep your smile healthy and bright. The good news is that most plans cover 100% of dental checkups.

Our verdict: Stick with eating fruits for a nutritious snack, not a teeth-whitening hack.