Have you heard about apple cider vinegar recently? It is because the health world has fallen in love with this substance. Health bloggers and experts insist it can help with everything from lowering inflammation to weight loss but have any of these claims been verified?
You might have probably read about ACV and its ability to cure a seemingly endless array of ailments. ACV can cure everything, from an upset stomach to athlete’s foot, and even cancer.
So the next question. Can drinking something acidic like vinegar every day really do more harm than good when it comes to our teeth?
For generations, apple cider vinegar or ACV has been used as a home remedy. However, there is not much science to support all the claims. However, ACV has unique properties and is promoted as a miracle cure for your internal and external uses. It can relieve sunburn, treat acne, and also reduce the risk of heart disease.
Apple cider vinegar for teeth whitening is another popular remedy. Before you use ACV for teeth whitening or other oral applications, you need to have enough information so you can make an educated decision.
What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is primarily apple juice. But if you add yeast, it turns the sugar in the juice into alcohol. Alcohol is formed by a process called fermentation.
It is a popular home remedy. People have used it for centuries in medicine and cooking. Many claim it can relieve a whole range of health complaints, but what does the research say?
Bacteria present in the yeast turn the alcohol into acetic acid. That is what gives vinegar its strong smell and sour taste.
ACV has a long history as a home remedy as it is used to treat symptoms like sore throat and varicose veins. Though there is not much science to support these claims. But in recent years, researchers have started taking a closer look at apple cider vinegar and its possible benefits.
Some people say that the cloud of yeast and bacteria you may see in a bottle of ACV is what makes it healthy. They are probiotic in nature, meaning they give your digestive system a boost and aids in digesting.
Vinegar has several healthful properties, including antimicrobial and antioxidant effects. Evidence suggests it could offer health benefits, such as reducing cholesterol, aiding weight loss, lowering blood sugar levels, and improving the symptoms of diabetes.
As you already know, apple cider vinegar is celebrated as a home remedy and superfood. Many of you might probably have a bottle hidden at the back of your pantry.
However, despite these claims, there is very little evidence of the benefits of drinking this super liquid. In dentistry, vinegar is popularly known for its use as a natural or chemical-free teeth whitener.
Unfortunately, several studies are showing that if you drink apple cider vinegar, it will do more harm than good to your oral health.
Damaging Effect of Apple Cider Vinegar on Your Teeth
You may have seen health articles discussing the apple cider vinegar benefits. Some insist you should drink it every day, or even before every meal. But you might not know, however, that frequent consumption of apple cider vinegar can actually harm your teeth.
Why does this happen? ACV has a high acidic quantity as it contains malic acid and acetic acid. ACV has an average pH between 2.5 and 3.0. For comparison, distilled water is a neutral solution that has a pH of 7.0.
The pH scale runs from 1-14. Levels higher than 7 are alkaline and levels lower are acidic. Consuming foods and beverages high in acid, will strip away the protective tooth enamel and hasten your permanent tooth erosion process.
The low pH of ACV could be a threat to your oral health if precautions are not taken. If you regularly consume ACV for its health benefits, you always should dilute the vinegar before use.
Like other vinegar, apple cider vinegar is also acidic, with a ph level below 7. However, a study shows a connection between vinegar consumption and enamel erosion.
The American Dental Association agrees that if there is prolonged contact between teeth and acidic foods or drinks like apple cider vinegar, it can put your teeth at risk for enamel erosion.
What are the problems with undiluted apple cider vinegar? Undiluted ACV is acidic enough to weaken your enamel. If you have a weakened enamel, it could increase your chances of oral problems. In particular, with the heavy consumption of undiluted ACV, you can experience swelling or burns inside your oral cavity.
Certain websites recommend that people use apple cider vinegar as a mouthwash. Do not do this! This can cause major problems for your oral health.
Does Apple Cider Vinegar Have Any Verified Health Benefits?
Although soft drinks and fruit juices are more widely studied, research shows that your tooth enamel can be eroded by the vinegar present in acetic acid.
A 2014 lab study focused on the immersion of tooth enamel in a variety of different kinds of vinegars. Vinegar with different pH levels ranging from 2.7 to 3.95 were used during the research. After 4 hours of soaking in the vinegar, the study measured a 1 to 20 percent loss of minerals of the teeth.
However, this lab study did not take into account the natural effect of saliva against acidity. But the study demonstrates that if you consume large amounts of vinegar, it can cause dental erosion.
A 2005 study concluded that if you can reduce or eliminate acidic drinks, you can prevent the progression of dental erosion. Another 2012 case concluded that the erosive tooth wear in a young woman resulted from her consumption of a glass of ACV that she drank every day for weight loss.
Though there have been some interesting studies illustrating the health benefits of ACV, when it comes to concrete evidence, the research around ACV is lacking.
While many claim it can help with weight loss. However, there is no compelling evidence that shows a correlation between drinking apple cider vinegar and weight loss.
On the contrary, a few studies have shown a connection between a reduced glucose response and drinking apple cider vinegar. But if you drink apple cider vinegar, it might help with steadying your blood sugar and short-term feelings of hunger, but science has yet to prove it.
Can Apple Cider Vinegar Whiten Your Teeth?
Many brands of AVC claim that vinegar is an effective method to whiten teeth(how to whiten teeth). Your dentist can use the vinegar at full strength, mix it with ‘active ingredients’ such as baking soda, or diluted with water. Unfortunately, many of these products do not provide information on their negative side effects.
Studies completed in 2014 have concluded that apple vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and even white vinegar all contain bleaching effects. Hence they can affect your tooth color and hard dental tissues.
However, vinegar can cause more serious damage to the surface of teeth. White vinegar is the worst and has the most damaging effects. Discuss with your dentist if you have any queries.
Safer Ways to Consume Apple Cider Vinegar and Minimize Tooth Exposure
If apple cider vinegar is already part of your daily health regimen, you might not have to give it up entirely. Instead, you can consider these options:
- Dilute ACV in water: Mix 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar with 8 ounces of water before use.
- Drink it through a straw. This method will avoid direct contact of ACV with your teeth.
- After consuming, rinse your mouth with water.
- Do not brush your teeth right away. To prevent further enamel damage, you should wait for at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth. The wait time will give your saliva a chance to wash away the acid in the vinegar naturally.
- You should take ACV as a supplement in pill form. The pills contain a dehydrated form of ACV, but the amount varies from brand to brand. According to a Healthline report, one capsule contains about 500 mg, which is equivalent to 2 liquid teaspoons or 10ml of AVC. The ACV liquid form is FDA regulated but not the pills hence look for brands that are tested.
Consuming apple cider vinegar is becoming a popular health trend. If you experience severe side effects after using ACV, you should seek medical care immediately.
If you regularly consume large quantities of vinegar, especially in an undiluted form, it might damage your tooth. In addition, it might cause digestive issues and affect potassium levels.
If you are staying vigilant with your daily oral care, occasionally drinking a small bit of apple cider vinegar is probably fine.
It is true that ACV can whiten teeth, but it can also damage your tooth enamel. There are also other concerns as ACV interacts with certain drugs. Therefore, if you are considering using ACV for teeth whitening, please consult your dentist.
The best way to keep your oral health in tip-top shape! Brush twice a day and floss regularly not only to protect your teeth from cavities but also for your overall health.