Natural Teeth Whiteners that Don’t Work

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Natural Teeth WhitenersA quick search for “natural teeth whitening” will turn up thousands of results, announcing that spices, fruits and other kitchen staples can whiten and brighten your teeth. Dr. Jerry Strauss, who has been whitening teeth at his Fairfield, New Jersey dental practice for decades, believes it is important to set the record straight on these natural teeth whiteners. Here, he explains what works — and what doesn’t.


Turmeric is a yellow spice that gives mustard its deep yellow color. Some people dip a toothbrush in turmeric powder and brush it onto the teeth, hoping it will magically bleach stains and lighten the teeth. Alas, turmeric is an ineffective way to whiten teeth and the only thing it will produce is a big mess.

Activated Charcoal

Certain corners of the Internet will tell you that brushing with activated charcoal can strip the stains right off your teeth. The highly adsorptive powder is said to attract substances to its surface like a sponge. However, dental experts warn that the powder is too abrasive and can actually wear away tooth enamel.


Celebrities like Tyra Banks and Catherine Zeta Jones reportedly use mashed strawberries to whiten the teeth (the malic acid in the pulp is said to scrub away stains). However, this method does not deliver the whitening results you would expect; also, the tiny strawberry seeds may get stuck in between the teeth or gum line.


Apples are another fruit that contains malic acid, said to remove surface stains from the teeth. Dr. Strauss does not want to discourage you from eating apples, since the fruit is great for your health and the act of eating crunchy fruits can remove excess food particles. However, know that apples will do very little to whiten teeth.

Coconut Oil

“Oil pulling,” or swishing with a spoonful of coconut oil for 5 to 20 minutes, has received a lot of attention for drawing toxins out of the mouth and also whitening teeth. Putting aside the toxin-clearing claims, coconut oil produces virtually no whitening effects.

The Stain Solution

If you want to lift stains and whiten your teeth for a brighter smile, Dr. Strauss can help. He offers in-office professional teeth whitening to lighten teeth up to eight shades in an hour — with virtually no pain. He supervises the treatment to prevent any issues with sensitivity.
To learn more about teeth whitening or schedule an appointment with our dentist, please call or email us today.