10 foods that will whiten your teeth naturally
White teeth will add a sparkle to your smile that will boost your self-confidence and make you even more attractive to others. It’s no wonder so many of us turn to teeth-whitening treatments.
From at-home whitening kits to professional teeth whitening, there are several different ways you can make your pearly whites even whiter. But what most people don’t realise is that diet can play a huge role in the colour of your teeth.
So if you’re considering whitening treatments, or you’ve already had your teeth whitened and want to maintain the results, here are 10 foods that will help your teeth stay pearly white.
Broccoli can protect and strengthen your teeth, thanks to two nutrients: fibre and iron. Fibre reduces inflammation, as well as your risk of tooth loss and decay. It’s also key to keeping your mouth salivated, with saliva being surprisingly important for oral health. Saliva contains proteins and minerals that defend against tooth decay and protect your tooth enamel (the white surface of your teeth). Saliva also washes debris away from your teeth.
The iron in broccoli takes this one step further, creating a protective coating for your teeth that stops acid and bacteria breaking down your enamel and yellowing your teeth. This barrier can lengthen the effects of professional teeth whitening or protect the natural and healthy colour of your enamel.
One thing to bear in mind with broccoli is that it’s better to eat it raw or undercooked — cooked broccoli loses a lot of its nutritional value. It’s also more crunchy to eat when it’s undercooked or raw, so as you chew, the hard texture scrubs your teeth clean.
Much like broccoli, carrots are best eaten raw or undercooked if you want to reap their teeth-whitening benefits. Their crunchy texture means they’re abrasive, so as you chew, they remove dirt, plaque and food particles from your teeth.
Carrots also have a high water content, which helps to wash away any debris in your mouth. The minerals and proteins in the water also defend against the acids that break down enamel.
Acid is enamel’s worst nightmare, but it can be hard to avoid. Pears have a high water and fibre content, so they can combat acid in the mouth by increasing saliva production, which will help balance your mouth’s pH levels. With your pH levels balanced, bacteria that cause cavities and tooth decay won’t be able to survive.
By making your mouth a healthy environment for your teeth, you’re less likely to experience discolouration. Instead, your teeth will maintain a healthy colour.
Cheese contains calcium, phosphorus and protein, which all strengthen your teeth and protect tooth enamel from damage and discolouring.
While we’re usually advised to steer clear of fat and sugar, the fat in cheese can combat bacteria in the mouth, while the sugar (lactose) is non-fermentable, meaning it’s unlikely to cause cavities or damage teeth. Cheese does contain lactic acid, which can cause tooth decay, but in moderation, this can actually help fight against periodontitis, an inflammatory condition that can lead to tooth loss.
Strawberries contain malic acid, which in excess can be harmful to teeth, as the acid can start to eat your enamel. However, in moderation, malic acid’s erosive nature can help to remove any discolouration from your teeth.
The vitamin C in strawberries can also prevent inflammation and reduce the risk of periodontitis. Vitamin C doesn’t directly whiten your teeth, but it improves your dental health by strengthening your teeth. It’s also an antioxidant, which means it can prevent and reverse any oxidative damage in the mouth. With strong and healthy teeth, it’s more likely your pearly whites will retain a healthy white colour.
Apples also contain malic acid, so by eating them regularly, you can erode any discolouration and restore a healthy colour to your teeth. While they don’t contain as much malic acid as strawberries, this can be a good thing, as too much can result in extensive erosion. Apples are a great food to eat regularly if you want to naturally whiten your teeth — without risk of damage.
Much like carrots, their crunchy texture and high water content also mean that as you chew, you’re giving your teeth a brush.
7. Seeds and Nuts
We’ve already spoken about crunchy foods exfoliating your teeth and essentially giving them a brush, and seeds are nuts are among the crunchiest foods you can get. Whether you want to snack on walnuts, peanuts or cashews, or add seeds to your recipes, seeds and nuts will rub against your teeth, removing stubborn discolouration.
Pineapple is quite acidic, which makes it a surprising addition to this list. But despite its high acidity levels, in moderation, it actually neutralises harmful acids in the mouth. This is because the bromelain, an enzyme that can only be found in pineapples, has an alkalising effect.
Bromelain is also a natural stain remover, so as you eat pineapple, the enzyme will work to remove any discolouration, restoring your teeth to a healthy white.
9. Greek Yoghurt
From a young age, we’re told that milk helps our teeth stay strong and healthy. But if you don’t fancy a glass of milk, and you’d rather have a satisfying and nutritious snack, yoghurt can do wonders for your teeth. As a dairy product, it’s packed with calcium, which strengthens tooth enamel and prevents decay.
Yoghurt also helps to neutralise acids and balance the pH level in your mouth. Bacteria that cause cavities, decay and discolouration can’t survive in a neutral environment, so by eating yoghurt, you’ll be protecting your teeth and helping them keep their healthy colour.
10. Baking Soda
Baking soda is more of an ingredient than a food, but it’s one of the best cupboard items you can use to whiten your teeth naturally. It’s a natural bleaching agent and it also kills bacteria, so it can prevent tooth decay and discolouration. In fact, it’s so effective at whitening teeth that many major toothpaste brands include it as an ingredient in their toothpaste.
To whiten your teeth with baking soda, mix some with a little water to create a paste and then simply use it as toothpaste. Unfortunately, a cake baked using baking soda won’t have the same effect!
Your dietary choices can play a big role in the colour of your teeth, and these 10 foods can brighten your smile and protect your pearly whites from discolouration. However, eating the right food might not be enough to give you the dazzling results you’ve been hoping for. If you want to really perfect your smile, it’s worth going to a friendly dental practice for professional teeth whitening.