Apple Cider Vinegar is celebrated as a home remedy and superfood, and many of you reading this probably have a bottle hidden away at the back of your pantry. However, despite these claims, there is little to no evidence of the benefits of drinking this ‘super’ liquid. Currently, the vinegar is well known for its use as a chemical-free or natural teeth whitener. Unfortunately, recent studies are showing that drinking apple cider vinegar will do more harm than good to your oral health.
Does Apple Cider Vinegar ruin your teeth?
The damaging effects of fruit juices and soft drinks have been widely studied; and given their similarities, it is no surprise that research shows the acetic acid in vinegar causes erosion in tooth enamel.
A 2014 study shows that dental erosion can be caused by consuming large amounts of vinegar. This study tested a variety of different kinds of vinegar with varying pH levels, focusing on the immersion of tooth enamel. After soaking for four hours, the researchers measured a 1 to 20 per cent loss of minerals. While this study does not take into consideration saliva, which is a natural buffer against acidity, it does provide a warning to those drinking the vinegar, especially in excessive amounts.
Can Apple Cider Vinegar whiten your teeth?
Many brands are claiming their vinegar is an effective method to whiten teeth, whether the vinegar is full strength, diluted with water, or mixed with ‘active ingredients’ such as baking soda. Unfortunately, many of these products fail to provide information on their negative side effects.
Studies completed in 2014 have shown apple vinegar, white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide all contain bleaching effects when applied to tooth colour and hard dental tissues. However, vinegar can cause serious damage to the surface of teeth. White vinegar has been shown to have the most damaging effects.
If you are currently undergoing a braces treatment, consult your Ethos Orthodontist before starting any teeth whitening methods.
How does Apple Cider Vinegar damage teeth?
Apple cider vinegar is twice fermented apple juice and within the first stage of fermentation the apple’s sugars turn into alcohol (turning it into cider). During the second stage, bacteria converts the alcohol into acetic acid.
At the end of the fermentation process, the vinegar has an average pH reading between 2.5 and 3.0. Water measures in as a neutral solution, with a pH of 7.0, therefore the acidity of apple cider vinegar is relatively significant. Unfortunately, when undiluted, the vinegar can weaken tooth enamel and consequently cause sensitivity, decay and cavities.
Your tooth enamel is the outer protective layer of your teeth, preventing the inner layers of your teeth from extreme temperatures and the damaging effects of plaque and acids. Unfortunately, your enamel is not a living cell and once it is destroyed, your body is unable to replace it.
How can you use apple cider vinegar without harming your teeth?
While apple cider vinegar is popular due to its teeth whitening abilities, it is also known to seriously damage tooth enamel. Several studies are also showing that apple cider vinegar can negatively impact the efficiency of certain medications.
Therefore, if you are considering using apple cider vinegar for teeth whitening, please speak with your local Ethos Orthodontics team member to discuss safe whitening methods. If you are looking into teeth whitening methods, Ethos offers a safe, professional and take-home teeth whitening kit, to give your smile a little extra sparkle. If you are contemplating using vinegar for other health reasons, consult your doctor first.