I Used Apple Cider Vinegar As An Oral Rinse For A Month And It Almost Ruined My Teeth

by Imani Brammer
Imani Brammer

As you may know by now, apple cider vinegar (ACV) is the trendy liquid to use in your wellness routine at the moment. From cutting down on cravings to clearing up your skin, it seems there's nothing this stuff can't do. Though ACV has always been part of my diet (I like to add a couple of drops of it into my water), I've never actually used it for anything besides that, and I was really curious to see how using apple cider vinegar as an oral rinse would affect my teeth.

According to Dr. Axe, the vinegar is supposedly an excellent way to naturally whiten your teeth.

So, I set out to try using ACV on my teeth for a full month, but full disclosure, I had to cut my experiment short at the three-week mark, as I feared my pearly whites were about to suffer some serious and possibly irreparable damage.

Here's how it all went down.

Week One: Let's Do This Sh*t

Imani Brammer

Let me give a quick disclaimer here: I hardly followed any real instructions while going about this experiment, so your experience may turn out to be way different than mine (in fact, I hope it is different for you).

Now, just to give you a point of reference, the above photo shows what my teeth looked like on day one of this experiment.

I woke up that morning, brushed my teeth, and tilted my head back to take a straight-up swig of ACV -- this was my first mistake.

The apple cider vinegar burned the inside of my mouth -- what I should have done was measure a tablespoon, and then swish it around my mouth.

But, it was too late at this point, so I swished the vinegar around in my mouth for 10 seconds, then spit it out.

Imani Brammer

When I looked at my teeth, they were freaking brown. They looked disgusting.

Looking closely at the photo, I saw several little brown particles lodged between each of my teeth. I began to feel nervous, so I rinsed my mouth out once more with water and took another look.

My teeth were still tinted brown, and in my eyes, looked way worse than before.

In a bit of a panic, I grabbed my toothbrush and Colgate, brushing profusely until my gums began to bleed.

Then I reached for some baking soda and sprinkled it onto my toothbrush, determined to get rid of this brown tint. I've always known baking soda has the ability to make your teeth glisten white, so naturally, I headed straight for it in my brief moment of panic.

Thankfully, it worked, and my teeth began to look a little whiter, though the brown particles in between each tooth remained.

This brought me to a sudden realization: I don't floss.

The brown particles in between each tooth are actually an indication of me not flossing. I'm never able to see those particles when I look at myself in the mirror, but with an HD camera, it's definitely evident -- and embarrassing.


Despite a pretty terrible first day, I was determined to keep the experiment going. I decided I'd buy some floss, measure the damn ACV, and keep truckin' along.

Week Two: A Tablespoon Is Still Torture

Imani Brammer

I have to admit, the entire first week was sort of torturous. Every time I brushed my teeth, I looked into the mirror only to find those ugly brown chompers staring back at me.

And, TBH, I actually still wasn't measuring the ACV until this second week.

(Again, there is probably a much better way to go about using ACV as an oral rinse, and this was just my personal experience as someone who prefers to wing it.)

However, even measuring the vinegar into a mere tablespoon hardly changed the icky results I saw. In the above pictures, the left photo shows me pre-ACV-rinse, and the right photo shows my teeth just after I rinsed.

I was genuinely starting to feel like I was causing some serious damage to my teeth.

Week Three: Seriously, What Gives?

Imani Brammer

I tried to justify in my mind that the first two weeks were only bad because, well, maybe my teeth were just going through some sort of adjustment period.

But I found myself in week three still grossed out by my brown-tinted teeth.

I freaked myself out enough to go ahead and Google what the hell was going on. Turns out, I was definitely doing all of this sh*t incorrectly.

ACV apparently has a pH level of 3.075, and taking a swig of the stuff is supposedly terrible for tooth enamel, which begins to dissolve at a pH of 5.5.

Also, you know how I was rinsing my mouth out and brushing my teeth immediately after rinsing with the vinegar? Yeah, I wasn't supposed to do that.

Since tooth enamel is already damaged after coming in contact with apple cider vinegar, brushing your teeth after the fact can actually just make the situation worse. It's supposedly better for you to wait about a half hour before brushing to avoid further damage to the enamel.

For real, I was so over this experiment at this point, and I didn't want to think about it anymore.

Later in the week, I made one last desperate attempt to test ACV as an oral rinse. I tried brushing my teeth with baking soda before swishing the vinegar in my mouth, and instead of a tablespoon of ACV, I poured the liquid into the small cap of the Bragg brand bottle (I'm guessing it couldn't have been more than a teaspoon, if that), and I only held the liquid in my mouth for a few seconds.

While it wasn't quite as sticky and uncomfortable as before, the feeling was still, overall, yucky AF.

I didn't rinse or brush my teeth immediately afterward, and lo and behold, my teeth were still disgustingly brown.

And that was the official last straw for me. I know I set out to commit to a whole month of ACV rinsing, but I just couldn't do it. The appearance of my teeth was seriously starting to mess with my self-confidence, and I'd had it.

If there's anything this experiment taught me, it's that not everything on the internet will work for you.

Or, at least, it won't work for you if you don't follow directions.

I've read countless articles about the benefits of apple cider vinegar, including its supposed whitening effect, and yet my experience was kind of borderline traumatic.

But, as I've said, I definitely didn't follow any specific set of guidelines or protocol with this experiment. I winged the f*ck out of the whole thing, and perhaps there's a lesson to be learned there in and of itself.

So much for pearly whites, huh?