Strawberries, Charcoal and Other Natural Tooth Whitening Suggestions.... What Really Works?

When researching natural tooth whitening there is a plethora of suggestions coming from the internet, health influencers, and perhaps friends and family. With all the information and claims available, it’s easy to feel confused about the likelihood of a technique having a positive impact on the appearance of the teeth, and the safety of the suggested practice.

To help out we’ve listed some of the common natural suggestions below and provide some information about what they might do to your smile.


Charcoal is fast becoming a trendy and highly included ingredient of many toothpastes and whitening products. Evidence so far does not show that the use of charcoal results in whiter teeth, in fact, high calcium substances like charcoal and bi-carb soda actually work as abrasives, so they’ll remove plaque and surface stain which may whiten initially, but not actually bleach teeth. Long term use of abrasives can cause enamel loss, sensitivity, and yellowing as the enamel ultimately thins.


There are claims that a mixture of strawberries and bi-carb soda will lead to a whiter smile. The process involves crushing strawberries and mixing with bi-carb soda, then rubbing it on the teeth and letting sit for 10 minutes before washing away. The mixture may help to remove debris and plaque from the teeth, creating a slightly brighter smile, however it won’t actually bleach the teeth. Fruits including strawberries contain sugar, which can lead to dental decay, and the abrasiveness of the bicarb soda can cause damage to the tooth enamel as mentioned as mentioned above.

Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is an ancient Indian Ayurvedic practice said to draw toxins from the body and aid in oral hygiene. The process involves swishing a tablespoon of edible oil, like coconut oil or olive oil in the mouth for up to 20 minutes before discarding. It is unlikely that you’ll notice any dramatic or lasting change in the colour of your teeth from oil pulling. There is no good quality evidence that oil pulling is an effective method of oral hygiene as a replacement to toothbrushing. So, if you decide to try it, just make sure you keep brushing and flossing in addition.

We hope this helps to address some common questions about natural tooth whitening options.

If you have any further questions about tooth whitening see our article ‘Top 5 Tooth Whitening Questions’ and ‘Did you know… Wearing a blue toned lipstick will make your teeth look whiter?‘or schedule an appointment with Dr Kate Amos or Dr Sam Rosehill at Ethical Dental on 6652 3185 or book online.