December 22, 2020 Ann Le Are you looking to achieve a more sparkling smile? A number of foods, and a smaller number of drinks, can help whiten your teeth or supplement in-office or at-home teeth whitening treatments. Keep reading to learn more. General Information About Diet and Teeth Whitening Before we get started, let’s be super clear. It’s important to your health to always keep a balanced diet full of healthy fruits and vegetables. Snacking on a limited number of foods over and over again to try to whiten your teeth naturally won’t provide your body with all the nutrients it needs. But, if you have a choice between one of these items and junk food, choose the one that can help brighten your smile. Of course, there’ s more to white teeth and oral health than the food you eat. It’s also vital to always drink plenty of water, stay hydrated, and practice great dental hygiene. Brush your teeth daily, floss, and follow all recommended guidance from your dentist and you’ll be in a better position to keep your teeth looking white. Foods That Naturally Whiten Teeth That said, there are foods that work to naturally whiten teeth. Whether it is a special acid in fruit or the overall texture of each bite, there are different things that could possibly give you a better smile if you eat them often enough. Here are a few of the most important to pay attention to. Natural Crunchy Foods Yes, crunchy foods can help keep your teeth looking nice and white. However, it isn’t all crunchy foods. Specifically, you want to choose natural options like fruits or vegetables. Some of these items contain a special type of malic acid that can help spur important saliva production. Additionally, most crunchy foods take a little longer to chew and are better overall for your teeth. Plus, the abrasive texture of these ingredients and some nuts can also help get rid of stains on teeth as you chew. Crunchy foods that help to whiten your teeth include: Apples Celery Cauliflower Broccoli Almonds Tart and Sour Foods Pucker up for a better smile? It’s true! When you eat acidic foods like lemons or oranges, your mouth creates more saliva due to the tart and sour flavor. In turn, this can help clean away plaque and remnants of food for a slightly whiter smile. Of course, acidic foods can cause other dental issues, so proceed with caution. Strawberries are also a great way to whiten teeth as they contain a high level of malic acid. Tart and sour foods that can help whiten your smile include: Lemons Limes Oranges Grapefruit Strawberries Dairy Products If you’re really looking for a whiter smile, most dentists will tell you to increase your intake of dairy products. Why? Well, they are fairly high in lactic acid, which helps protect the enamel from decay that can cause the dentin underneath to start to show. As you might know, dentin is what stains easily and gives you a less than glowing smile. And, just like crunchy foods, hard cheese can help erase stains due to texture. Dairy products to help whiten your teeth include: Hard cheeses like parmesean Whole milk Sour cream Heavy cream Cottage cheese Pineapple One of the best foods you can eat for better looking teeth is Pineapple. Pineapple contains a special acid called bromelain, which is sometimes used in whitening toothpastes. Eating a fresh piece of the fruit right after a meal could improve the appearance of your smile. But, it is important to remember that this doesn’t ring true for canned pineapple, which loses the benefit during the canning process and is mostly just straight sugar, which is terrible for teeth. Drinks That Naturally Whiten Teeth You already know that soda, tea, coffee, and red wine are horrible for keeping teeth white. Are there any beverages that can help you keep your teeth white? The answer is yes. First, water is the absolute best thing you can drink to keep your smile healthy. Rinsing your mouth out when you first wake up can help keep white spots from appearing. Second, as mentioned above, milk can be a great way to fortify your enamel and reduce stains. Finally, a teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in water can improve your dental health, but the taste isn’t entirely pleasant. This is a short list but, to summarize, drinks that can help maintain your teeth’s white hue include: Water Milk Myths About Foods That Supposedly Whiten Your Teeth And what about all those other foods that people claim you can eat to whiten your teeth? The truth is that the experts all seem a little mixed on this. Some dentists agree that the old wives’ tale that apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, and honey can help whiten your teeth. Sadly, these are all myths. (But honey is helpful if you have a minor toothache and can’t see a dentist immediately) Salt is another one that seems like a good idea, but it might not be. Regular table salt can cause mouth ulcers, which could cause more problems than just dull teeth. However, what it does do is create that same abrasive texture that apples, celery, and hard cheese provide to remove small amounts of plaque. What about baking soda and peroxide? While not technically food, these two items are both very good for whitening your teeth. That’s why so many commercial toothpastes and whitening strips use these safe and natural ingredients. Meals to Brighten Your Smile At Bunker Hill Dentistry, we didn’t want to just give you a list of foods to help you whiten your teeth. We’re also giving you a few meal ideas to help you have a better smile. Breakfast Smoothie Recipe for White Teeth Combine ice cubes, a bit of whole milk, strawberries, and pineapple in a blender until smooth. The high dairy content of the whole milk and enzymes in the strawberries and pineapple will give you all the benefits of whiter teeth while packing a healthy morning punch. Lean Protein with Veggies for White Teeth A healthy lunch or dinner is also a great way to keep your teeth white. Any type of grilled chicken, turkey, fish, or light colored protein combined with fresh vegetables like steamed cauliflower and broccoli are both great for your enamel and taste wonderful. Snacks for Whiter Teeth Got a mid-afternoon snack attack? A charcuterie board with hard cheeses, nuts, fresh broccoli, cut up apples, and fresh pineapple features tons of foods ideal for a whiter smile. And, there’s enough protein to give you the energy you need to get through the rest of the day! Get Your Best Smile with Bunker Hill Dentistry Are you ready to enjoy a healthy, beautiful smile? Our team at Bunker Hill Dentistry can help with our teeth whitening services. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment. Ann LeAnn Le has been successfully managing dental practices since 1990. She is currently Practice Manager at Bunker Hill Dentistry in Houston, TX which she runs with her husband Dr. Tri M Le.