It's a common misconception that lemon juice and baking soda can safely whiten your teeth. While baking soda is abrasive and can wear down your teeth, lemons contain a high level of acid in the peel which can act as a bleach or whitening agent. Lemons contain citric acid, which is known to be a natural whitening agent for tissues, hair, and skin. When applied to teeth, citric acid can remove stains and brighten teeth.
However, it's important to consider the implications of using lemon juice to whiten your teeth before you try it. Banana peels contain manganese, magnesium, and potassium which can help whiten your teeth. A six-week clinical trial found that toothpaste with these ingredients was more effective at whitening teeth than regular toothpaste. It's best to use fluoride toothpaste approved by the American Dental Association to strengthen enamel and whiten teeth.
Traditional teeth whitening uses ingredients like peroxide, and using lemons isn't much different conceptually. If you're looking for a natural alternative to professional teeth whitening or home kits, there are better solutions than using lemon juice which erodes enamel. Natural toothpaste is an even more effective solution, and if you see toothpastes that contain a mix of baking soda and peroxide, it's even better for whitening your teeth. Overusing lemon juice or using it too often can cause the outer layer of enamel to wear out, increasing the chance of tooth sensitivity and tooth decay.
Alternatively, you can spray some baking soda on your toothbrush before brushing your teeth to help whiten them. You can use the lemon in two different ways; use the lemon peel to rub your teeth or spray the lemon juice on your teeth. Stephanie Busch-Abbate is a dentist in Kalamazoo, MI who provides teeth whitening and other services to patients.