A lot of people work hard at whitening their teeth, and spend considerable money to do so. Perhaps they get it professionally done by a dentist, they buy a take-home whitening kit, or they try whitening toothpaste. While those all might be a solution, it turns out there’s something else you can do that doesn’t involve sitting in a dentist’s chair.
As you’ve probably already guessed, there are certain foods that can actually whiten your teeth, while often delivering health benefits as well. We’re not saying these are as effective as a professional whitening, but take a look for some of these items when you next hit the supermarket if you want a brighter smile.
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Strawberries Can Make You Smile
You might not think about strawberries first when it comes to foods that have whitening power. After all, strawberries can leave stubborn red stains on white shirts if you’re not careful when biting into them.
However, according to the AARP, strawberries are one of the best foods you can reach for to achieve natural whitening. The source explains these fruits contain a certain enzyme called malic acid that does the work. It even goes as far as to suggest “mashing up strawberries and rubbing them on your teeth.” Rinse with water after 5-minutes and brush, it adds.
Go Nuts on Nuts
Shape touts nuts as a food to get those teeth looking whiter. The main reason for this, explains the source, is that nuts are abrasive and therefore become natural scrubbers of stains, while also helping control plaque buildup by stimulating saliva flow.
Aside from the teeth whitening benefit, nuts are also a well-known source of protein. However, the source also explains that nuts such as almonds and cashews are full of iron, magnesium and potassium, which your body uses to maintain certain functions.
An Apple a Day…
…Keeps the dentist away? Err, that’s not quite how the original saying goes. However, according to Eating Well, apples are top-rated for keeping your teeth shiny thanks to their abrasive nature.
Apples also contain a “high concentration” of that malic acid that we mentioned earlier, which is also apparently used in some types of toothpaste, according to the source. The acid stimulates saliva, which is a natural tooth cleaner, it adds. (Disclaimer: we do not recommend skipping the dentist and only eating apples).
Carrots Can Get To The Root
We often think of carrots as a protector of our eyes, because of the beta-carotene content that is converted to vitamin A that is beneficial for vision health. However, it turns out carrots can also help keep your teeth white, according to ShareCare.com.
The source cites a registered dietician that explains the reason behind this is also linked to vitamin A, which is required for healthy tooth enamel. However, if you want the scrubbing benefits, it’s best to eat carrots raw, as this will stimulate more saliva, it adds.
Shine Up With Dairy Products
It’s true that dairy products such as milk contain calcium, which is known to promote health teeth and bones. However, apparently the benefits of dairy including yogurt and cheese goes further than that, as they can help brighten your smile according to the AARP.
The science behind this is that dairy contains lactic acid, “which may help protect teeth against decay,” according to the source. It cites a study that suggests kids that consume yogurt four times a week showed less signs of decay than those who didn’t. This could be due to proteins (in yogurt) that bind to teeth and protect them, it adds. It also notes that you should choose harder cheeses if you’re seeking whitening, as they help scrub away particles.
Start Pining For Whiter Teeth
While you’re enjoying those apples, why not throw in some pineapple for good measure? Not only are pineapples delicious (even on pizza, though some might disagree), it contains a compound that Eating Well says has natural anti-inflammatory and cleansing properties.
The name of this compound is bromelain, and apparently pineapple is the only food where it naturally occurs according to the source. It also cites a study that suggests bromelain is an “effective ingredient in a stain-removing toothpaste.”
Avoid Pushing Aside That Broccoli
While this cruciferous vegetable isn’t everyone’s favorite, Eating Well says you should think twice about scraping it off your plate if you’re looking for a brighter smile. The source credits its high fiber content to limit inflammation in the mouth, as well as iron content that acts like a “wall of protection for your teeth” against acids that can lead to stains.
The source recommends eating broccoli in a crisp and raw form to get the most benefits when it comes to cleaning and polishing your chompers. The source doesn’t mention that broccoli also contains beneficial vitamins and minerals including calcium, zinc, and more, which should give you more incentive to down it.
Don’t Be Sour About Citrus Fruits
Biting into an acidic orange or grapefruit can’t be good for your teeth, right? Well, according to Shape, the opposite is true. Citrus fruits – including lemons and limes – have citric acid, which is actually “super effective” at teeth whitening according to the source.
You don’t have to actually pucker up and bite into a lemon to reap the benefits, it notes. Instead, mix some lemon juice with some baking soda to create a teeth-whitening paste. Alternately, you can use the inside of an orange (or lemon) peel as a gentle teeth scrubber, it adds. (We should add that there’s not much scientific evidence to support this one).
Why Not Water?
We thought we’d close on this one, as water is especially important to stay hydrated in the growing summer heat. However, a simple glass of water can also be an ally in the fight against discolored and stained teeth.
Eating Well explains that drinking H2O regularly throughout the day is an effective way to promote saliva, which you already know is a natural cleanser in your mouth. The source suggests taking some sips of water during and after a meal to rinse your mouth of debris that can diminish your pearly whites. Try to choose fruits and vegetables with a high water content – does watermelon come to mind?