All that Halloween candy can stain your teeth… along with a million other things we consume in a day. If giving up candy and coffee and wine and all that fun stuff that sounds too scary, we’ve got some foods that’ll help your pearly whites recover.
We all know the common (delicious) culprits that stain our pearly whites. Coffee, tea, red wine, etc…Did you know there are foods and drinks that can actually do the opposite?
Not only can the right foods and drinks help scrub away stains and make your teeth look brighter, but some can also actually strengthen your chompers from the inside—and make them whiter on the outside.
If you’re curious about how to whiten teeth naturally, here are eight dentist-approved picks to add to your menu.
It’s a double-whammy, dental-wise. Yogurt is rich in calcium, which is essential for keeping your teeth looking healthy and bright. “Calcium-rich foods help strengthen the enamel, the outer layer of teeth that give them their whiteness,” says Timothy Chase, DMD, a cosmetic dentist at SmilesNY in Manhattan.
Like yogurt, it’s rich in the enamel strengtheners calcium and phosphorus. You’ll get the biggest bang for your buck from hard cheeses like cheddar, Gruyere, and Parmesan. Of course, you might not notice as much whitening action if you wash down your cheese plate with a glass of red wine though!!
Think of them as nature’s best designer toothbrush. The crunchy texture of apples acts as a gentle abrasive to scrub away the plaque that can leave your teeth looking dull. “The chewing that’s required also promotes the production of saliva, which helps keep plaque from developing. And stains attach to plaque like Velcro,” says periodontist and nutrition expert Sandra Moldovan, MS, DDS CNS.
Just like apples, carrots’ hard, crunchy texture can actually help scrub your teeth clean, say Muldovan and Freeman. You’ll want to stick with raw ones, though. Cooked carrots are too soft to deliver much scrubbing action.
Drink up for stronger bones—and whiter teeth. Milk is another top source of both calcium and phosphorus. Keep in mind that the mineral content goes up as the fat content goes down, so you’ll get the most of both nutrients from skim milk. (A cup of skim milk has 316 mg of calcium and 255 mg of phosphorus, while a cup of whole milk has 276 mg of calcium and 205 mg of phosphorus.)
Breaking down the crisp, fibrous stalks with your teeth helps scrape away stain-causing plaque and boosts the production of saliva. Crunch away, people.
Not only will they not stain your teeth red, but strawberries may also help make your teeth appear brighter and whiter. They contain an enzyme called malic acid that works as a natural astringent to remove surface discoloration.
For even more whitening action, try applying mashed strawberries to your teeth like a paste for five minutes then rinsing and brushing as normal.