Does Apple Cider Vinegar Damage Your Tooth Enamel?

Posted on: 21 April 2016


If you're looking for an alternative tooth whitening remedy, you may have come across apple cider vinegar as an option. Using this vinegar as a homemade toothpaste or mouthwash is considered to be a natural way to remove some stains from your teeth which may make them look whiter. While apple cider vinegar may help whiten your teeth, this vinegar may also have some harmful effects. How does apple cider vinegar work on your teeth and will it damage your tooth enamel? 

How Does Apple Cider Vinegar Remove Stains From Your Teeth?

The key benefit of apple cider vinegar to whitening your teeth is the fact that this is an acidic liquid. You may be able to harness this acidity to clean some stains off your teeth by diluting the vinegar with water and using it as a daily mouthwash.

Alternatively, you may find that mixing apple cider vinegar with baking soda gives you a homemade whitening toothpaste. Combining the acidic vinegar with the abrasive qualities of baking soda and then brushing your teeth with the paste may give you quicker and stronger effects than using an apple cider vinegar mouthwash.

However, while apple cider vinegar may have some tangible benefits if you want to whiten your teeth, it also comes with some downsides that you should consider before using it as a bleaching agent.

How Does Apple Cider Vinegar Affect Tooth Enamel?

The acidity of apple cider vinegar doesn't just give it stain-removing properties. The acid in the vinegar may also damage your teeth's enamel coating. Apple cider vinegar ranks very high on the acidic scale. Some apple cider products have a pH level of 2.85 which makes them around as acidic as lemons.

This kind of acidity level may pose problems for your teeth. Acids that come into contact with your dental enamel may erode it away over time. You can't replace lost enamel and, if you lose its protective coating, your teeth may be at a higher risk of tooth decay.

Can You Use Apple Cider Vinegar on Your Teeth Safely?

There are ways to use apple cider vinegar on your teeth that may not cause enamel damage. For example, diluting the vinegar in water and using it as a mouthwash may dilute the acid content and prevent it from doing too much damage. To be on the safe side, you should never use undiluted apple vinegar as a mouthwash. If you do this, then you are basically coating your enamel with acid.

If you want to try an apple cider vinegar and baking soda toothpaste mix, you should rinse your mouth out with water after brushing and should restrict how often you use the homemade paste. Your teeth may be able to cope with a once-a-week deep clean with this toothpaste; however, using it daily is probably not a good idea.

Alternative Ways to Get Rid of Stains

While apple cider vinegar may be able to remove light staining, there are safer and more effective ways to clean up your teeth to make them look whiter. For example, you can have your teeth cleaned and scaled at your dentist. This procedure will also remove the stains you were hoping to get rid of with apple cider vinegar but it won't damage your enamel. A clean and scale may also work better than apple cider vinegar as your dentist may be able to remove tougher stains as well as plaque and tartar that may be making your teeth look less white than they should.