Should You Use Lemon Juice to Whiten Your Teeth?

Posted on: 2 March 2016

If you're looking for natural ways to whiten your teeth, you may have come across home remedies that use lemon juice as a bleaching agent. While lemon juice does have some ability to make your teeth whiter, these methods may also have downsides to the long-term health of your teeth. How does lemon juice affect your teeth, and is it better to use a diluted solution as a whitener?

The Effects of Lemon Juice on Teeth

Lemon juice is considered to act as a natural bleach, making it an attractive option for people who want a cheap and non-chemical way of brightening their smiles. While you may see some positive effects when you brush your teeth with lemon juice, you may also cause irreversible damage to your tooth enamel if you use it on your teeth too often.

Neat lemon juice is highly acidic. If you put too much acid in your mouth and on your teeth, the acid may attack your tooth enamel and degrade it through a process of erosion. This makes the surface of your teeth weaker and may lead to the need for long-term treatment, such as fillings, veneers, crowns and even root canal treatments, according to the Better Health Channel.

Tip: Use a lemon juice bleach sparingly, say once a week. To minimise the acid effects of the fruit, wash your mouth out with water straight after brushing or chew on a piece of sugar-free gum to get more saliva into your mouth that may help wash away the acid from the lemon.

Mixing Lemon Juice With Other Substances

Many home whitening treatments recommend mixing a little lemon juice and water with a base product such as baking soda. This is thought to add an extra cleaning effect to the bleaching properties of the lemon juice. The baking soda is abrasive and may therefore help clean stains off your teeth and whiten them.

While a mixed solution may reduce the amount of lemon juice you use and its acid effects, the baking soda may not be so good for your teeth either. Its abrasive qualities may also affect your teeth's enamel if you use this solution too often.

Get Your Dentist to Brighten Your Smile

Using lemon juice or a juice and baking soda solution to clean your teeth once every week or so may make your smile a little whiter but may not give you fantastic whitening effects. It's unlikely that these cleaning methods will do more than spruce up new stains on your teeth; older and more stubborn stains may not go away without some extra help.

For a more tooth-friendly whitening solution, it's worth talking to your dentist or a cosmetic dentistry clinic. You may find that having a professional clean and polish deals with a lot of your staining, making your teeth look whiter. If this doesn't whiten your smile enough, your dentist can talk to you about professional whitening treatments or, if you prefer, give you advice on the best products you can use at home.