Foods that Whiten Teeth – Myth or Reality?

There are tons of myths out there when it comes to teeth whitening. Websites and magazines often tout foods that naturally whiten teeth, but just because something’s natural doesn’t mean it’s beneficial or healthy for your teeth. Our dentist in Montreal separates fact from fiction, and debunks some of the myths about DIY teeth whitening.

Lemon or Apple Cider Vinegar and Baking Soda

One of the most popular natural methods people think will whiten their teeth is by applying lemon and baking soda to teeth for a prolonged period of time. Some even suggest putting it in aluminum foil and wrapping it around your teeth. (Ouch!) Applying acidic fruit or vinegar to your teeth will wear away enamel, which protects your teeth from sensitivity and decay. Combining these acidic foods with a highly abrasive substance like baking soda can do serious and painful damage to your teeth.

Coconut Oil Pulling

Another natural teeth whitening theory that just doesn’t hold water is the idea that swishing with coconut oil for 15 minutes in the morning whitens your teeth over time. Claims have also been made that coconut oil pulling can prevent tooth decay, fight gingivitis and freshen breath. There is no scientific evidence that using coconut oil in this way whitens or helps protect your teeth.


This myth involves mixing turmeric powder and coconut oil into a paste, brushing it on your teeth, and leaving it on for five minutes. After you rinse, your teeth will supposedly be whiter. This is absolutely not true. In fact, consumption of dark or brightly-colored foods and beverages can stain your teeth over time. Turmeric has a bright orangey-yellow tint and is often used as a natural food coloring, which can leave your teeth more discolored than white.

Although trying natural DIY whitening methods is tempting, the best way to find out how to safely and effectively whiten your teeth is to ask your dentist in Montreal. Our Westmount dental clinic offers several professional teeth whitening options that will brighten your teeth, enhance your oral health, and give you something to smile about.