Claim: The inner part of banana peels can help to whiten teeth quickly.
Verdict: Insufficient evidence. Studies and expert opinions show that banana peels do not have the properties to whiten teeth, as claimed.
Cleanliness and good hygienic practices are encouraged to live a better and longer life. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says better hygiene leads to better health, confidence and overall growth. As a result, people, at different times, seek knowledge on how to improve their hygiene and what to do to appear clean.
Sometimes, individuals take to social media and other digital platforms to seek Do-it-yourself (DIY) techniques to learn a lot of things about keeping their environments and themselves tidy.
Recently, an X user @Nig_farmer, who is known for giving out DIY techniques on X, published a tip he claimed could get rid of brown teeth and give people the much-desired white teeth.
“Brown teeth are normal, so far it doesn’t smell. But we all love to have that shiny white teeth. If you’re looking at whitening your teeth effortlessly. Scrape the inner part of a BANANA peel and brush your teeth with it. It helps in teeth whitening fast.”
Also, a lot of people asked questions regarding the period of usage and if plantain peels have similar effects but, the user @Nig_farmer gave no response.
DUBAWA observed the comments and noticed how people wanted to learn about using the banana peel and decided to verify.
What causes tooth discolouration?
In its article, Cleveland Clinic explained that tooth discolouration refers to changes in the colour of the teeth. The dentition may appear yellow, or brown, and have white or dark flecks.
It further categorised tooth discolouration into two which include: extrinsic discolouration and intrinsic discolouration. While extrinsic discolouration affects the outer surface of the teeth (enamel); Intrinsic discolouration starts from the inside of the tooth and affects the dentin (the layer underneath the enamel).
Exposure to certain foods and beverages, tobacco, dental trauma, excessive fluoride, ageing, genetics, diseases and certain medications were listed as some of the causes of tooth discolouration.
Also, a research study found that smokers have a higher prevalence of tooth discolouration than non-smokers.
While these factors among many others are responsible for brown teeth in grown adults, many people try to get rid of this using natural, do-it-yourself remedies at home.
Does banana peel have teeth-whitening properties?
According to a research report on PubMed Central, banana peels have a lot of benefits. The study established that it contains important compounds, such as flavonoids, alkaloids, tannins, quinones, and saponins, which have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
Also, “banana peel extracts also demonstrate antimicrobial activity against pathogens that cause oral diseases.”
The study analysed the potency and efficiency of banana peels and other natural products recommended for teeth whitening, including activated charcoal and turmeric. While the study established that the natural agents could not cause a significant difference, all treatments resulted in a colour change.
Also, the study established that charcoal or banana peels did not achieve the perceptibility threshold, regardless of the brushing time, demonstrating that these products did not change the whitening perception of the samples. The study further concluded that the popular natural agents used to obtain tooth bleaching did not present whitening efficacy, regardless of the use time.
Meanwhile, the study used bovine teeth as samples and not human teeth.
Another study published in the International Journal of Ayurvedic Medicine aimed to establish the efficacy of banana peel and orange peel as teeth-whitening agents in deciduous dentition (milk tooth).
It explained that bananas have traditionally been a healing remedy for various diseases, including diarrhoea, ulcerations and hypertension.
It concluded that banana and orange peels could prove efficacious and a safe bleaching option for deciduous dentition. However, the researchers called for further long-term studies into the efficacy of these natural agents.
“As this is an in vitro study carried out for a short duration, further long-term studies and ‘in – term studies and ‘in – vivo clinical trials are needed to determine the long-term stability of teeth whitening procedures performed using banana and orange peels.”
Another article from Montebello Dental Clinic noted that there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that banana peels are effective for teeth whitening. It noted that the potassium and magnesium in bananas promote dental health, but they will likely not brighten one’s smile.
Explaining further, the article established that there are two primary methods of whitening teeth which include: bleaching and abrasion.
It says applying banana peels for teeth whitening will not function effectively because the peels are not sufficiently abrasive to remove stains. Also, they do not contain any bleaching chemicals, which makes it difficult to use them to whiten the teeth.
However, it noted that bananas are “naturally sweet and low in acids. The potassium in bananas improves the density of the bone mineral. The potassium also works with magnesium to prevent acidity in the blood, eroding calcium from your bones and teeth.”
Quoting previous studies, a 2015 research noted that banana peels have been studied in treating mosquito bites, gastrointestinal disorders, warts, and nipple fissures caused by Staphylococcus aureus.
The present study established that an alcoholic banana peel extract has antimicrobial activity against P. gingivalis and A. actinomycetemcomitans. However, the study did not mention the direct application of banana peel to teeth.
DUBAWA spoke to Dr Chioma Agu, a registered dental therapist at the Federal College of Dental Technology Enugu. She explained that there is no scientific evidence to back the assertion that banana peels have teeth-whitening properties.
“It is not true, there is no scientific evidence. There are materials you use which are specially for teeth whitening, those ones are proven,” she said.
She noted that there are materials that could be used for teeth whitening naturally, they are abrasives and they can have negative effects on the teeth.
“This is because they tend to peel the surface of the teeth though you’ll achieve the whitening effect to an extent. They can damage the teeth because they’ll peel off the teeth’s crown,” she said.
Ms Agu explained that dentition discolouration can come naturally as it is from the dentin which is the inner structure of the teeth.
She advised that whenever anyone wants to whiten their teeth, it is important to pay a visit to their dentist. Ms Agu also explained that if anyone wants a sparkling white tooth, they could opt for a veneer.
“It’s a ceramic which you use to cover the surface of your teeth. It doesn’t get stained,” Ms Agu said.
The claim that the inner part of banana peels can help to whiten teeth quickly is unsubstantiated. There is no scientific evidence to back it.