FACT CHECK: Does Rubbing An Orange Peel On Teeth Promote Oral Health?

Anna Mock | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Instagram claims rubbing an orange peel can clean a tooth’s enamel and kill bacteria in the mouth. 

Verdict: False

There is no evidence suggesting orange peels can remove stains. A spokesperson for the American Dental Association denied the claim.

Fact Check:

There are six primary causes of dental erosion, which includes dietary tooth erosion, according to the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC. “Food and beverages can dissolve tooth structure if they are acidic enough,” the school’s website states, stating that citrus-based drinks can dissolve calcium in a tooth.

Now, an image shared on Instagram claims that rubbing an orange peel on one’s teeth can help promote oral health. “Did you know? After eating an orange, you can rub the peel on your teeth to clean your tooth’s enamel. It whitens teeth, kills enamel, and removes stains,” the image’s text reads.

The claim is incorrect. A study from Clemson University found that Florida-grown oranges have a pH level ranging between 3.69 and 4.34, making them highly acidic. A 2013 study from the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology that, if a person’s saliva pH level falls below 7.0, it could clear to “dental decay, halitosis and periodontitis” among other health issues.  (RELATED: Do These Pictures Show Ancient Egyptian Dentistry From 4,000 Years Ago?)

There is also substantial evidence that high acidic levels from orange peels can have a negative impact on teeth. “Prolonged exposure to any kind of acid can harm your tooth enamel if you do it repeatedly,” an American Dental Association spokesperson told USA Today. “If you’re rubbing orange peels on your teeth as seen online, the prolonged contact with your teeth and the acid will wear the tooth enamel away.”

An article from Crest also states that orange peels can be harmful to teeth. “Because oranges are naturally acidic, using orange peels as a natural teeth whitener can actually cause damage to the enamel of your teeth, weaken your teeth, and have lasting negative effects on your smile,” it reads. 

This is not the first time misinformation about dental-related hygiene has circulated on social media. Check Your Fact previously debunked an image from February 2022 claiming to show Egyptian dental work from 2000 B.C.

Anna Mock

Fact Check Reporter

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