Oranges can be an excellent part of your diet. But when you are done with the peels, what do you do with them? Some people might use them as a natural teeth-whitening solution.
But in reality, do orange peels help you achieve a brighter smile? Also, are they safe to use, given the concentration of citric acid found in them?
To answer this question fully, we need to look at the data. So below, you'll find out more about an orange peel's teeth whitening claims, if they are safe, and how that knowledge extends to orange juice.
Can You Whiten Your Teeth With An Orange Peel?
There is some evidence you can use orange peels to whiten your teeth. This data is mostly applicable to those trying to reduce nicotine stains.
A natural solvent found in orange peels, it was found to have short-term effectiveness in removing smoking stains.
However, the same substance was not seen as effective for the long-standing removal of smoking stains and the removal of stains from tea.
Another study focusing on the whitening effects of citric acid found that the acid can help whiten teeth. This acid has the added benefit of including anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits for your teeth.
Now, this does paint orange peels as a solid natural teeth-whitening remedy.
However, both of these studies focused more on the short-term benefits of using compounds from the peel. But, there is no evidence an orange peel is a long-term solution.
The Whitening Properties Of Orange Peels
Two factors contribute to using the peel of an orange and teeth whitening: first, the use of citric acid, and second, the use of d-limonene.
First, acid (at certain levels) is one way to remove bacteria from surfaces. This is why citrus fruits like oranges and lemons are used in many household cleaning products. The acidic content of an acid is measured in ph levels.
According to Clemson University, Florida oranges have a natural ph level of up to 4.15. This is slightly higher than strawberries, which is why you also see strawberry teeth whitening as an alternative solution. Another example, malic acid, is found in apples, which is why you might've heard of apples for teeth whitening.
The problem with this focus is that most mouthwash products already have higher ph levels. A study on the erosive effects of mouthwash found that many of the top band's ph levels of around 3.5 to 7.05. So, there are other sources with stronger bacteria-killing abilities.
The use of this sort of acid isn't known for its teeth-whitening properties.
However, this doesn't detract from mouthwash's ability to potentially improve mouth health.
The other substance that could contribute to this, d-limonene, is the oil found in citrus peels. It is a clear liquid known for having a present citrus scent, making it popular for household cleaners and toothpaste.
However, despite its use across multiple cleaning agents, the orange oil in the peel might not reach your teeth. Because of this, it's better to brush your teeth regularly.
If you want to improve your smile, you might consider some alternatives. For example, baking soda whitens teeth and is more heavily recommended than orange peel.
Is Orange Juice Good For Your Teeth?
Knowing that orange peels aren't an effective way to improve your smile, what about orange juice? Well, as you might imagine, orange juice is generally bad for your teeth.
Typically, the juices you buy at your local grocery store are loaded with sugar.
Anything with a lot of sugar doesn't help your oral health. Numerous studies have taken place on how added sugar can cause cavities, leading to an unwanted visit to the dentist and poor mouth health.
So, naturally, your next question might be: what about no-sugar-added orange juice?
While these are better for your teeth (and general health), orange juice contains citric acid. This sort of acid coats your teeth, eventually eroding your enamel.
When enamel is eroded, it becomes softer initially and feels the effects more over time. Eventually, weaker enamel can cause your teeth to lose their hardness. This can initially cause sensitive teeth and eventually lead to tooth decay.
If you enjoy your fruit juices, there are three tips we can give you:
- First, drink a glass of water after finishing your fruit juice. This can help you stay hydrated (a good health benefit) and remove any lingering acid from your teeth.
- Second, curb your love of acidic fruit juices by looking for alternatives. Flavored sparkling waters, which don't hold the same acidic content, might be a decent alternative.
- Finally, don't brush your teeth after you drink your fruit juices. This might seem like a natural next step, but the acid can soften your enamel. So, when you rub bristles up against that enamel, it can put a lot of strain on your teeth. Instead, stick to drinking water.
You can apply the same logic to actual oranges, a food to avoid if you only consider dental health. Like most things with food, moderation in eating oranges and drinking their juice is a step in the right direction.
Are Orange Peels Safe To Use For Teeth Whitening?
Knowing that citric acid is an issue in orange juice, orange peels suffer from a similar problem. While most of the acid is in the liquid, there is still a healthy amount in the peel, making them unsafe for teeth whitening.
This is why using orange peels to remove tooth stains works in the short term.
But long-term, using these peels might be detrimental to your dental health.
The benefits of white teeth might cause you to think otherwise. But from the data, orange peels only provide a temporary use and a long-term problem.
Still, there is some benefit to using the oils of an orange peel. After all, that's why you see it used in toothpaste alongside fluoride for teeth-whitening benefits.
The Bottom Line
Despite d-limonene and citric acid compounds, orange peels are not helpful for teeth whitening. This is despite the widespread use of these materials in various cleaning products and sometimes toothpaste.
D-limonene has been tested as a short-term solution to removing smoking stains from teeth. But given the lack of data on this subject, there's no evidence that it can help long term. There are some stains that d-limonene is ineffective in the short term.
Citric acid can mouth bacteria due to its higher ph levels. However, similar or higher ph levels are found in everyday mouthwash products. In addition, regular drinking of orange juice and rubbing an orange peel can cause citric acid to linger on your teeth.
With this in mind, orange peels are unlikely to be effective for whitening teeth.
For more questions related to the topic, read below.
Are Oranges Bad For Your Teeth?
In moderation, oranges are not bad for your teeth. The citric acid in these oranges can eat away at the enamel, but you can solve this by brushing your teeth. To avoid the potential adverse effects of oranges, only eat them in moderation and include other types of fruit in your diet.
Do Oranges Make Your Teeth Sensitive?
Because oranges are among the most acidic foods, they can make your teeth sensitive. Eating a high amount of acidic fruits can contribute to a more sensitive mouth. To prevent this from happening, curb your consumption of acidic fruits and regularly brush your teeth twice daily.
Do Oranges Make Your Teeth Yellow?
Oranges aren't known for affecting the color of your teeth, meaning they won't turn yellow just from orange consumption. However, weaker enamel from consuming acidic fruits (like oranges) can make them more susceptible to staining. To prevent this from happening, mix up your diet by including fruits with lower acid content.
How Do You Eat Oranges Without Damaging Your Teeth?
After eating an orange, you can take a swig of water to wash off any of the acids from the fruit. The water will naturally rinse your mouth of any remaining acid.
Otherwise, you can curb your desire for oranges by trying out different types of fruit. The fewer acidic fruits you eat, the happier your tooth enamel will be.
Should You Brush Your Teeth After Eating Oranges?
No. The acid from oranges and similar fruits can soften your enamel. Because of this, brushing your teeth after eating an orange is more likely to damage your teeth. This is why you should rinse your mouth instead of brushing your teeth.
This allows you to protect your teeth and prevent them from being damaged.