Surprising foods that whiten your teeth
SUMMARY: While coffee, berries, wine and other food and drink can stain the teeth, certain foods can actually enhance the whiteness of your smile.
Posted: March 26, 2014
Many turn to teeth whitening products for a brighter smile. That may come as no surprise considering there are a plethora of foods that lead to stained teeth, such as berries, coffee, wine, juice and curry. But there are also natural methods of maintaining pearly whites - even beyond baking soda and other at-home remedies. People are often surprised to hear that some of their favorite foods can also promote a radiant smile, such as these:
Dark chocolate is best known for containing antioxidants that boost the immune system, but the sweet treat can also enhance the whiteness of your teeth. The food contains the substance theobromine, which works to harden the enamel. Since a weak outer coating on the teeth makes them more susceptible to staining (foods can more easily soak into the surface), dark chocolate's strengthening abilities helps prevent coloring. Another benefit is that the tannins contained in the candy stop bacteria from sticking to your ivories, which can prevent bad breath. Be sure to select dark chocolate, because milk and other varieties do not have the same benefits. Additionally, aim for brands that have the highest quantities of theobromine for the greatest whitening effect.
Seeds and nuts
Seeds and nuts are naturally hard, so one might believe that their abrasive coatings might be tough on the mouth. But they actually work to scrub plaque and stain-causing substances off of the teeth's surface. Be sure to eat them in moderation, though, because the high calorie content can lead to weight gain very quickly if overdone.
Tea often gets the blame for yellowing, but this staple beverage contains one key ingredient that can battle dinginess: polyphenol. Tea is high in this organic chemical, which fights against acid and bacteria in the mouth. That means it not only works to keep the enamel strong and healthy, but it can also help you maintain fresh breath. Additionally, the liquid can actually enhance your mouth's fluoride levels, which may lead to less erosion of the enamel. Keep in mind that drinking too much dark tea can cause darkening of the teeth. You may want to stick to lighter varieties, such as green tea.
Apples and pears
Nature's crunchy, watery fruits are good for the mouth in a variety of ways. The crispy texture can toughen the gums, which can lead to a lower risk of periodontal disease and tooth loss. Apples and pears are also high in water and, in effect, increase saliva production. Saliva is essential for reducing bacteria that causes both bad breath and plaque, and it flushes away teeth-yellowing substances.
With their bright red color, strawberries may not seem ideal for keeping your whites pearly. But the fruit is abundant with malic acid. This enzyme serves as an astringent that clears away stains on the teeth. Some people combine mashed-up strawberries with baking soda to create natural teeth whitening products, but just incorporating the healthy fruit into your diet can help whiten teeth. Mix them into salads or your morning cereal, or enjoy strawberries as an afternoon snack. Note that other berries do not have this same whitening effect and can actually make your teeth more dingy.
Due to its often pungent taste and smell, cheese is often considered a culprit of bad breath. However, the dairy product enhances your calcium levels for stronger, healthier looking teeth. Another little-known benefit is that cheese increases the pH level in the mouth, which means a lower chance of erosion and discoloration.