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What’s the Deal with Apple Cider Vinegar?

It seems like you can’t read anything these days without hearing about apple cider vinegar and how well it works to cure a variety of ailments. But how can a condiment do so much? After all, apple cider vinegar supposedly works to cure everything from indigestion to hiccups, dandruff to acne. In fact, some people say it can lower cholesterol. On the cosmetic side, apple cider vinegar supposedly makes your hair shinier and your teeth whiter.

 

What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar is a liquid made from the sugars of fermented apples. As a culinary complement, it can be used in salad dressings and marinades, but some people suggest you drink it straight or mixed with honey to reap the health benefits associated with it.

Teeth Whitening

Apple cider vinegar supposedly scrubs away tough stains naturally, and while its level of effectiveness depends on who you ask, what we do know is that it can be very dangerous to your tooth enamel. That’s because apple cider vinegar, and any vinegar, is very acidic - and acid eats tooth enamel. The problem with using apple cider vinegar as a tooth whitener is that to see the benefits, you must scrub your teeth with the vinegar.

A little bit of apple cider vinegar on your teeth as you eat or drink it from time to time probably won’t do too much damage to your enamel, but brushing with apple cider vinegar right on your teeth is a recipe for enamel damage. Acid softens the enamel, weakening and permanently scratching it.

Bad Breath

Supposedly apple cider vinegar can help eliminate bad breath when consumed with water before meals. Experts claim this is because it helps digestion, thus preventing odors from escaping from your digestive system and into your mouth. But should you be treating this type of bad breath with vinegar? Maybe not.

Most bad breath that originates from the digestive system is caused by one of three things: GERD (or acid reflux), ulcers, or kidney disease. If you have any of these ailments, you should seek medical attention to treat the underlying problem rather than trying to mask the symptoms. Left untreated, GERD can cause permanent damage to the lining of your stomach and esophagus, causing breathing problems and even wearing your tooth enamel while you sleep.

Left untreated, ulcers can cause internal bleeding that can result in severe blood loss requiring transfusion. Over time, kidney disease can cause complete kidney failure. None of these ailments can be cured by apple cider vinegar and should be treated by a medical professional.

Sore Throat

Apple cider vinegar is said to be an effective home remedy for a sore throat, and if you’ve ever had a sore throat you probably already know you'd be willing to try anything to soothe it. For this purpose, gargling some diluted apple cider vinegar can’t hurt - but make sure you rinse your mouth out well with plain water after gargling.

Remember: If you gargle with apple cider vinegar or ingest it for any other reason, brush your teeth no sooner than 30 minutes after drinking or gargling to allow your tooth enamel to re-harden and to remove any remaining acid from your teeth. And if you have any difficult stains or bad breath that won’t seem to go away, speak to Dr. Simpson about some safe options that won’t damage your teeth. She can be reached at 910-550-3959.

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Michele Simpson DDS

Wilmington Dental Office

3317 Masonboro Loop Rd • Suite 140 • Wilmington, NC 28409

(910) 550-3959