Say what? Apparently, you can use banana peel in a variety of ways (such as to make banana vinegar, as a meat tenderizer, or to reduce acne), but it is also good for your teeth! We love a great, inexpensive natural remedy, especially one that you are already likely to have on hand. Banana peel can help your teeth in two ways: by ingesting it, to get the vitamins and nutrients from the peel, and by applying topically, to whiten. Learn more about both ways below.

Strengthening Teeth and Gums

Yes, you can actually eat the banana peel, which some other cultures do. Like the skin of most fruits and vegetables, it contains tons of nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin B-6, potassium, magnesium, and fiber. Vitamin C helps strengthen gums and may protect against gingivitis. Potassium improves the mineral density of teeth. Banana peel is sweet, slightly bitter, and can be tough and fibrous. Be sure to buy organic and rinse thoroughly. Roasting it with the fruit in it is a delicious way to eat the peel. Blending it into smoothies also makes it easier to consume and digest. If you’re brave, you can attempt to eat uncooked peel, especially if the banana is overripe, as the peel will be thinner then.

Whitening Teeth

You might have guessed this one. The potassium and vitamin C in the peel is great for whitening teeth and you will not have any negative side effects, such as sensitivity. And if you already have sensitive teeth, this is a good whitening option. Brush your teeth first, then rub the peel on your teeth for two minutes. This can be done twice daily for up to two weeks. Do note that it this will help with surface stains only and because no bleaching is involved, there will not be a dramatic difference. But it is safer for enamel. And if you realize you need to whiten quickly but don’t have any whitening strips or toothpaste, you can always give this a try.

Obviously, you have to really like banana, but using peels in these ways ensures less environmental waste or at least an additional use before tossing (though these are great for the compost pile). Let us know if you’ve ever tried banana peel!