Monkey See, Monkey Eat? The Odd Edible That Can Help Whiten Your Teeth

It seems like everyone is looking for the secret to a whiter, brighter smile these days – and with a million products on the market specifically designed to whiten your teeth (be it toothpaste, mouthwash, whitening strips, etc.), you can get overwhelmed by all the chemical names pretty easily. But if you're looking for a little more natural approach, it can be hard to know exactly where to start, beyond the obvious and well-known whitening foods such as strawberries, apples, and cheese – so how about banana peels? If you're looking for a lesser known, slightly off-kilter food that can help to whiten your teeth, then here's what you need to know.

An Issue of Minerals

It turns out that banana peels are good for something other than keeping your favorite fruit safe from the outside world or tripping up your coworker on his way back from the bathroom – and it's largely because of what's inside them. Banana peels contain potassium, magnesium, and manganese, which people claim is the "how" behind the banana peel's teeth whitening powers.

Potassium is found naturally in your teeth (and in some sensitive-tooth toothpastes under the name potassium nitrate), and is part of why your teeth are naturally white. Magnesium, especially in oil form (as it is in a banana peel) can remove plaque that's been stained, giving your teeth an overall whiter appearance. Finally, manganese helps to break down the bonds between stains and your teeth, which can lead to both a brighter appearance and to a stronger tooth on the whole.

How to Do It

However, as good as they are for your teeth (and as good as the extra potassium in bananas is for your overall health), banana peels aren't really the tastiest of culinary delights, no matter how you slice it. Don't worry, though – you can get the whitening powers of banana peels without making your taste buds revolt.

First, you'll need a banana peel, preferably taken from a definitely ripe (but not black and mushy) banana. You can eat the banana before you go any further for an extra dose of those minerals that you'll be taking advantage of to whiten your teeth. Next, rub the inside of the peel along your teeth until you can feel a thick layer of the banana paste on them. You'll want to let that paste sit on your teeth for the next ten or so minutes, being careful to keep your lips away from your teeth so as not to accidentally rub the paste off.

Then, take a dry toothbrush and brush the banana paste even more into your teeth for about 2 to 3 minutes. Once time is up, wet down the toothbrush and use it to rinse away the paste from your teeth (you can use toothpaste here if you don't like the taste of the banana paste). Doing this once a day for at least two weeks should give you brighter, whiter teeth than when you started. Contact a dental professional like David Jackson, DDS for more information.