Can You Whiten Teeth With Orange Peels?

Home whitening products and dentist-office treatments are possibilities for whitening, but both are perceived as harsh and expensive. Home remedies for teeth whitening aren't usually based in much scientific research, but anecdotal evidence suggests they may work. Orange peels contain a natural solvent that may help reduce some stains on your teeth. If the orange peel treatment does work for you, it will take a much longer time to see results and is unlikely to remove all stains.

Solvent in the Rind

Citrus rinds, including oranges, contain d-limonene, a natural scent and solvent. Cosmetic manufacturers include d-limonene in a number of products, including toothpastes and tooth whiteners. A study published in a 2010 issue of the "American Journal of Dentistry" found that toothpaste containing d-limonene was significantly effective in reducing smoking stains on teeth and d-limonene alone inhibited the development of further smoking stains 3.

Limitations of Orange Peels

The 2010 study did find that the orange peel compound, d-limonene, was not effective in reducing stains on teeth due to tea drinking. The d-limonene that successfully reduced smoking stains was combined with another compound -- so it's impossible to say if the d-limonene alone would be an effective ingredient. Researchers also found that the d-limonene compound did not work to reduce longstanding stains on the teeth.

Beware Acidic Juice

Dr. Josh Axe, a clinical nutritionist, notes that you should be cautious in using citrus on your teeth, though. Although the peel may have a gentle whitening effect, the juice of the orange can break down your teeth's enamel. A 2009 study in the "Journal of Dentistry" compared the effects of orange juice versus 6 percent hydrogen peroxide, the concentration used in many dental-whitening kits and office treatments. The researchers found that while the teeth immersed in orange juice experienced an 84 percent decrease in enamel surface hardness, no statistically significant changes occurred in the teeth immersed in hydrogen peroxide. When your enamel erodes, you are more vulnerable to increased tooth sensitivity and tooth decay. Axe suggests that if you do use orange peel, rinse your teeth in a simple mixture of half hydrogen peroxide and half water right afterward. Swish the rinse around in your mouth for about a minute and then spit it out.

To Try It

An orange peel treatment could be an affordable way to try whitening your teeth, says registered dental hygienist Sandy Johnson of Castle Dental. The website "Health Guidance" suggests two methods of using orange peels to whiten the teeth. You simply rub the white side of the peels gently all over the teeth, with or without table salt. The salt acts as a scrub and is thought to intensify the whitening effects. Another way to use orange peels is to create a powder with dried orange peels and dried bay leaves. Dampen the mixture and then rub it all over your teeth. No scientific data to support the success of these treatments exists, however.