Is Apple Cider Vinegar Safe for My Teeth? (2024)

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a vinegar made from fermented apple juice. It's often added to salad dressings, preservatives, marinades, and more. It is also used as a traditional home remedy that is touted as having a wide range of beneficial health effects. Everything from acid reflux, sunburn, and even some types of cancer are believed to be treatable with ACV.

While many claims about it have been debunked or are lacking in evidence, a few studies have shown benefits for several conditions, including type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

In addition, apple cider vinegar is also used by some to perform at-home teeth whitening. While using solutions with ACV may have a bleaching effect on your teeth, it can harm the enamel (the hard outside shell) and may have other health effects.

This article provides an overview of how ACV teeth whitening works, what the risks are, as well as how to do it safely.

Is Apple Cider Vinegar Safe for My Teeth? (1)

Does ACV Whiten Teeth?

Like other kinds of vinegar, ACV is highly acidic. The acetic acids in vinegar have a well-documented bleaching effect; regular treatments can effectively clear away some areas of staining and discoloration.

Additionally, as vinegar has an antimicrobial effect, ACV may help take on bacteria that form on your teeth. This means it may help take on plaque and tartar, which are frequent causes of tooth discoloration.

Typically, dentists recommend other methods of home teeth whitening as they tend to be more effective. Of course, there are also limitations to what you can do at home, and nothing will work better than having this done professionally.

Risks

Dentists are likely going to recommend against whitening your teeth with ACV. Though it may help brighten your smile, alongside other methods, the risks may outweigh the benefits. Prolonged exposure to ACV can damage tooth enamel, affect how your throat feels, and even interact with medications you’re taking. It’s important to understand these risks.

Erosion

The primary issue with using ACV for teeth whitening is its effect on your tooth enamel. Like acidic beverages, such as soda or coffee, apple cider vinegar can cause this outer layer to weaken and erode. Tooth erosion can lead to a host of dental issues, including:

  • Tooth sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Yellowish discoloration
  • Damage to dental fillings
  • Increased risk of cavities
  • Tooth loss

Throat Burn

Another potential issue with vinegar intake is throat burn. If you take too much or are unsafe about it, the high acidic content in ACV can injure the tissues of your esophagus (the inside of your throat) and cause stomach distress. In turn, this can cause you to have nausea, pain, and discomfort, and you may vomit blood. Notably, high acidic content in the stomach can make tooth erosion worse.

Drug Interactions

Medications can also react poorly with high ACV consumption; however, the interaction is generally mild to moderate, with severe issues rarely arising. Especially if you’re taking high doses, be mindful and tell your doctor if you’ve been prescribed:

  • Digoxin: Often available under the name Lanoxin, this drug helps treat heart arrhythmia and high blood pressure. Long-term ACV use can lower potassium levels, which increases the risk of digoxin side effects.
  • Insulin: This drug, which is used to manage diabetes, can also lower potassium levels. Since low potassium levels are associated with tooth sing ACV at the same can become problematic.
  • Other antidiabetic drugs: Other classes of drugs that manage diabetes, such as biguanides, sulfonylureas, and thiazolidinedione (TZD), among others, can interact poorly with ACV. Taking these drugs alongside vinegar may lower blood sugar levels too much.
  • Water pills: Also known as diuretics, water pills help kidneys get rid of excess urine; they’re prescribed for certain heart problems, high blood pressure, edema, glaucoma, and other conditions. Like ACV, this can lower potassium levels, so co-use isn’t recommended.

Daily Intake

Specific dosages of ACV depend on the health condition being taken on. That said, overconsumption can be problematic; the greater the exposure, the greater risk there is of dental erosion, throat burn, and drug interactions. Aim for no more than 2 tablespoons (tbsp) a day (about 30 milliliters (ml) diluted in water, mixed in with salad dressing, or added to meals.

How to Use ACV Safely

While the overall risks of ACV are mild, it can still damage dental and esophageal health when it’s highly concentrated. The risk of tooth erosion and other issues rises considerably when you use undiluted solutions regularly.

If you do want to try ACV to whiten your teeth, here’s what you can do to minimize the risk of damage:

  • Dilution: Create a diluted solution of one part ACV to two to three parts warm water. You may have to adjust the mix as the former’s acidity can vary between 4% and 8%. Make sure you know what you’re working with. Some add baking soda to the solution.
  • Swishing: In the same way that you’d use mouthwash, you swish the solution in your mouth for about 20 seconds at a time before spitting it out. You can repeat this a couple of times.
  • Cleaning: After you’ve gargled the ACV, make sure to brush your teeth and rinse your mouth out with water. You don’t want acids from the solution to be in contact with your teeth for too long.

Diluting ACV

Minimize the negative effects of apple cider vinegar by diluting it first with warm water. If you decide to try it for tooth whitening, use one part ACV to two to three parts warm water. After using it, make sure to brush and rinse to minimize damage to tooth enamel.

Home Remedies for Teeth Whitening

Using ACV is one of a couple of other home remedies for tooth stains and plaque build-up. Other at-home methods of teeth whitening include:

  • Teeth whitening strips: Available over-the-counter or online are a great range of teeth whitening strips or trays, made with carbamide peroxide, which contains hydrogen peroxide and has a bleaching effect. They have to be used as indicated and are worn for about 35 to 40 minutes a day.
  • Hydrogen peroxide: Hydrogen peroxide can break down the compounds that cause discoloration, but, like with ACV, it’s best to dilute it in water first. While a diluted solution swished as a mouthwash may help, gels or strips that employ hydrogen peroxide will likely work better.
  • Baking soda: Often an ingredient in toothpaste, baking soda may also be helpful for tooth whitening and cleaning. This is mixed with water to create a paste to brush with. However, make sure to keep up with regular tooth brushing, too, so that your teeth get enough fluoride.
  • Oil pulling: A method that has its origins in India, oil pulling involves swishing 1 tablespoon of an oil (such as sunflower oil) for 15 to 20 minutes a day. Unfortunately, there’s little evidence that this yields any benefits.

Summary

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) fermented apple juice that is safe to consume within reason, such as with dressings or in marinades. Due to it's high acidity, ACV is not recommended for teeth whitening. If you use it, it is best to dilute it and ensure you are rinsing your teeth afterward.

There are better alternatives for teeth whitening, including the use of teeth whitening strips, hydrogen peroxide, or baking soda.

Always consult with your dentist before trying any teeth whitening solutions. They will advise you on the best method based on your oral care needs.

A Word From Verywell

Especially with the proliferation of information on the internet and social media, there seem to be countless claims made about ways to whiten teeth at home. And while ACV has shown some benefits, it's likely going to do more harm than good.

However, there are at-home options that are safer, and certainly other aspects of good dental health—keeping up with brushing and flossing, having regular cleanings—can help brighten your smile. What’s most important is that you care not only for the appearance of your teeth, but their health as well.

Here’s What You Need to Know About Oral Hygiene

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is “the mother” in apple cider vinegar?

    “The mother” is a conglomerate of the yeasts and bacteria that convert apple juice into apple cider vinegar. These microorganisms work to convert sugars into acetyl acid, which is essential for ACV’s taste and health effects. You’ll often see parts of the mother floating around in bottles of ACV.

  • What are the benefits of apple cider vinegar?

    As a traditional remedy with a long history, many claims are made about the health benefits of ACV. And while some of these have been largely debunked, there is some evidence that ACV can help with type 2 diabetes, weight loss, and high blood pressure. Additionally, vinegars may also have probiotic and antioxidant properties.

    Learn MoreCan Apple Cider Vinegar Help Lower Blood Pressure?

  • How is apple cider vinegar made?

    Apple cider vinegar is an apple juice that has undergone a two-step fermentation process. Basically, yeasts are introduced to the solution, which feeds on the sugars in the apple and produces alcohol. Then, bacteria are added to convert the alcohol to acetic acid (giving ACV its tang and bleaching effect).

    Learn MoreWhy You Should be Eating Fermented Foods

Is Apple Cider Vinegar Safe for My Teeth? (2024)

FAQs

Is Apple Cider Vinegar Safe for My Teeth? ›

And while it doesn't have any specific recommendations around drinking or not drinking apple cider vinegar, the American Dental Association agrees that “prolonged contact” between teeth and acidic foods or drinks like apple cider vinegar can put teeth at risk for enamel erosion.

Is it OK to brush your teeth with apple cider vinegar? ›

Some people recommend swishing with it prior to brushing and others say you should actually brush your teeth with the vinegar. We strongly encourage you to avoid both. While apple cider vinegar may have many benefits, when it comes to your teeth, it can do more harm than good.

Is it safe to rinse the mouth with apple cider vinegar? ›

Apple cider vinegar's acidity can deteriorate your tooth enamel, so I suggest diluting it before using the vinegar as a mouthwash. Mix one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with a cup of water to get the best results. Then, use it as you would any mouthwash.

How to restore tooth enamel? ›

Enamel can never 'regrow' per se because there are no living cells in the tooth enamel. Your best bet is to treat any existing problems from tooth decay and focus on better oral care and hygiene habits, which will preserve the enamel you have and prevent further deterioration.

Should you drink apple cider vinegar with a straw? ›

Undiluted ACV can also break down tooth enamel. To avoid these issues, always water down apple cider vinegar and drink it through a straw to protect your teeth. (ACV in food generally doesn't have these effects.)

How long does it take for apple cider vinegar to whiten teeth? ›

ACV to whiten teeth requires consistency. In fact, you will need to repeat the process for about a month to see true results. Using a finger, rub apple cider vinegar on your teeth for one to two minutes, then rinse your mouth thoroughly with water.

Will vinegar remove plaque from teeth? ›

Rinse with White Vinegar

White vinegar can help to remove tartar from your teeth as well as the plaque that causes it. This is because white vinegar has antibacterial properties. What to Do: Mix 2 teaspoons white vinegar with ½ c. water and ½ teaspoon salt (salt is optional).

Can I use apple cider vinegar rinse everyday? ›

For most people a using a vinegar rinse every day will be quite drying. It is best to restrict use to 1 to 2 times per week. The amount of water you add to the vinegar, the dilution rate, will also affect how often it can be used as well as whether it is drying to your hair.

What are disadvantages of apple cider vinegar? ›

Apple cider vinegar may have some health benefits, but consuming too much vinegar can cause unwanted effects, such as tooth decay and indigestion. Apple cider vinegar is a common ingredient in food dressings, flavorings, and preservatives.

Will vinegar whiten teeth? ›

Acids can destroy some of the stain molecules on teeth to reveal a whiter smile. But whitening your teeth with vinegar isn't safe. It can result in tooth enamel damage and, ultimately, more yellow-looking teeth. The same acidity that provides whitening will also wear away on tooth enamel.

Can anything really repair tooth enamel? ›

Can Tooth Enamel Be Restored? Once tooth enamel is damaged, it cannot be brought back. However, weakened enamel can be restored to some degree by improving its mineral content. Although toothpastes and mouthwashes can never “rebuild” teeth, they can contribute to this remineralization process.

Which vitamin is good for the teeth? ›

Vitamin D is essential for strong teeth and bones. It helps to regulate calcium and phosphorus levels in the body, which are essential for the growth and maintenance of teeth and bones. Without enough vitamin D, your body may not be able to absorb enough calcium, leading to weak teeth and bones.

Does Sensodyne actually repair enamel? ›

Intensive Enamel Repair toothpaste is Pronamel's most advanced formulation in enamel care that both improves the remineralisation process and inhibits demineralisation, actively repairing your enamel and protecting it from future erosion.

When not to use apple cider vinegar? ›

You should avoid apple cider vinegar if you're allergic to it, have gastroparesis, or are taking a medication that may interact with it, such as a diuretic.

Should I brush my teeth right after drinking apple cider vinegar? ›

Avoid apple cider vinegar products that require lots of chewing (like acidic gummies). And do not brush your teeth directly before or after drinking apple cider vinegar. Instead, wait for about half an hour. When you brush, be gentle (not too abrasive), use fluoridated toothpaste, and do not use a hard toothbrush.

What does taking a shot of apple cider vinegar every morning do? ›

Some research indicates that ACV has some health benefits. It may help to reduce high cholesterol and regulate blood glucose levels. However, there is no particular benefit to taking ACV as a shot. Doing so may damage the teeth or throat due to the acidity of the mixture.

Can I use apple cider vinegar to clean toothbrush? ›

Clean Your Tooth Brush.

Mix half a cup of water with 2 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 teaspoons of baking soda and mix well. Leave your toothbrush head in the mixture for 20-30 minutes. Rinse your toothbrush vigorously and thoroughly afterwards.

How to whiten teeth at home in one day? ›

10 Ways to Whiten Teeth in a Day and Keep Healthy Gums
  1. Brush with Baking Soda. ...
  2. Use Hydrogen Peroxide. ...
  3. Activated Charcoal. ...
  4. Powdered milk and toothpaste. ...
  5. Coconut Oil Pulling with Baking soda. ...
  6. Essential Oils Whitening Toothpaste. ...
  7. Turmeric Whitening Toothpaste. ...
  8. Baking Soda and Strawberry Paste.
Mar 27, 2019

How to make your teeth white naturally? ›

Seven Ways to Naturally Whiten Teeth
  1. Eat Strawberries. One of the simplest ways to naturally whiten your teeth is just by eating strawberries. ...
  2. Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables. ...
  3. Brush After You Eat or Drink. ...
  4. Rinse with Apple Cider Vinegar. ...
  5. Apply Coconut Oil. ...
  6. Brush Your Tongue. ...
  7. Use Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide.

Does apple cider vinegar whiten dentures? ›

Plain white vinegar has been used for years to keep dentures clean and bacteria free, but did you know that using Apple Cider Vinegar can have the same cleaning benefits and help to keep your pearly whites, pearly white?

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