There are many teeth whitening treatments available to the general public such as whitening trays, strips, and compounds that can be applied at home. There are also teeth whitening treatments offered by cosmetic dentists that promise to brighten your smile. But what if you could naturally brighten your smile by simply eating the right foods? Although this will not give you the same results as a teeth whitening procedure, eating certain foods will naturally clean and brighten your teeth’s enamel. The foods on the list below have all been found to have whitening properties and are a great alternative to harsher whitening treatments.
Different fruits, such as strawberries, pineapples, and apples can contain malic acid which works as a natural bleaching agent. Some people will even mash up strawberries and leave them on their teeth temporarily to obtain results. Pineapples also contain bromelain which also works to remove stains. Finally, all these fruits help increase saliva production, which is the mouth’s natural cleaning agent, while decreasing plaque build up.
Vegetables including: celery, carrots, broccoli, shiitake mushrooms, basic, onions, and garlic have also been found to have various benefits. First and foremost, the crunching action associated with chewing these vegetables works to eliminate excess plaque and naturally cleans the teeth. This is especially prevalent when eating celery or broccoli. Broccoli also contains high amounts of iron, which naturally protects the enamel from erosion. And carrots promote healthy enamel through containing amounts of vitamin A.
In addition to supplying nutrients, certain vegetables can also have antibacterial properties. Shiitake mushrooms, basil, onions, and garlic all contain certain things that help to keep the mouth naturally clean and plaque free. For shiitake mushrooms, this is a sugar called lentinan that eliminates plaque by inhibiting the bacteria that causes it. Basil also kills the bacteria responsible for causing cavities. Finally, onions and garlic are made up of thiosulfinates and thiosulfonates that reduce the amount of plaque that is being produced.
Products containing dairy such as yogurt, milk, and cheese are all contain lactic acid. Lactic acid has been found to reduce tooth decay and the high calcium content in dairy is beneficial for your teeth. Hard cheese has also been found to aid in saliva production while also removing plaque build up.
Although it is not technically food, tea has whitening properties. Both green and black tea are composed of fluoride and Polyphenols, which are beneficial to oral health. Fluoride is an ingredient used in most toothpastes and Polyphenols work to naturally decrease bacteria.
Although these foods are a guideline, it is important to note that eating a well-balanced diet rich in nutrients has many benefits. Even if a particular food is not listed above, it still may contain nutritional benefits. A general rule of thumb when eating to improve oral health is to eat foods rich in calcium and in vitamins C & D. Also, anything with a high water content is beneficial as well.