While one of the only ways to whiten teeth is to use the two chemical agents, hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide, there are plenty of natural ways to brighten your teeth and clean off debris. Since these tasty treats can remove debris and surface stains, eating them regularly just may prevent the natural darkening of teeth that happens over time.
By Katie Faulkner
These red berries contain malic acid, which increases saliva, your mouth’s natural cleaning agent. They
also contain ellagitannins, which are antioxidants, and vitamin C – both of which can help deter gum inflammation. Ellagitannins may also reduce bacteria, which can attract staining agents to infiltrate your enamel.
2. Some citrus fruits
While it can be harmful to leave citric acid on your teeth for an extended period of time as it softens the enamel, some fruits like pineapple contain bromelain, an enzyme with powerful anti-inflammatory and stain-fighting properties. They also significantly increase saliva production, which naturally cleans teeth. Just rinse your mouth with water after eating them to rinse the acid off your enamel.
Yogurt, milk, and cheese contain lactic acid, which can help protect teeth from decay. Some researchers think proteins in certain dairy products may bind to your teeth and protect them from being harmed by acids that can cause cavities. Hard cheeses are also good at brightening because they’re abrasive and therefore help remove debris.
4. Baking soda
Not a favorite snack but still a natural, edible ingredient that can brighten your smile, baking soda has long been touted as an at-home teeth brightening tool. That’s because it has an abrasive texture, making it great at removing plaque and surface stains. Just don’t be over-zealous – too much abrasion can damage enamel.
Drinking water regularly, and even swishing with it intermittently throughout the day, is a great way to rinse off debris and stain-causing plaque. Plus, water promotes the production of saliva, which we know helps maintain a clean mouth. Swishing with water after ingesting staining, sugary, or acidic foods and drinks can help prevent the softening of enamel, discoloration, and cavities.
6. Crunchy fruits and veggies
Foods like carrots, apples, and celery are excellent at increasing saliva production and simultaneously act as a natural abrasive when you chew them, thanks to their crunchy quality. This helps clear away left-behind food debris, keeping your mouth cleaner and helping prevent cavities and stains.
In addition to knowing which foods and drinks help keep your smile bright, you can also avoid those that cause discoloration and dullness. Obviously, dark-staining items like red wine, coffee, dark teas and juices, soy sauce, and tomato sauces can cause your teeth to gradually darken over time. Also, candy and sugary drinks like soda can cause cavities and decay, which will hinder your pearly whites.
By making smart selections from the list above and avoiding, when possible, some of the well-known teeth-damaging items, you’re sure to maintain a radiant smile. HS