You may want to rethink that second cup of coffee…
Coffee, like several other popular drinks, can stain your teeth. Your diet can affect the color of your teeth dramatically — there are even certain foods that can help whiten teeth.
Thanks to their natural properties, consuming these foods can help brighten your smile. We call them the “good guys” and they are part of what’s called a “white diet.” The white diet consists of foods and drinks that won’t stain your enamel. It excludes acidic, dark-colored foods, and drinks that can make teeth yellow.
If you’re interested in modifying your diet to include foods that boost oral health, we’ve rounded up 10 foods that can help whiten your teeth, plus tips on how to easily incorporate them into your diet.
An apple a day doesn’t only keep the doctor away, it also helps whiten teeth! Apples are high in malic acid — an ingredient that’s present in several types of toothpaste. Apple has abrasive properties so when you take a bite into one and chew, you’re actually helping scrub your teeth. Chewing an apple also increases saliva, which in turn helps clean your teeth.
Smile Tip: Apples make a great mid-day snack. Dress your apple up with peanut butter or add a few slices to yogurt for some texture.
Pineapple is full of amazing vitamins like vitamin C that can help strengthen gums and protect against gingivitis. It’s the only food where the enzyme bromelain is naturally occurring. Bromelain has anti-inflammatory and cleansing properties in it, so eating this tasty fruit can help whiten teeth and break up plaque.
Smile Tip: Throw pineapple slices on the grill for a tasty addition to your meal.
Broccoli has lots of fiber — an ingredient that can help reduce inflammation in the mouth. It also has a good amount of iron, which creates a protective barrier — guarding your teeth against acidic foods and drinks that can erode enamel. Similar to apples, broccoli is abrasive, so taking a bite can help scrub your teeth.
Smile Tip: To make this green vegetable taste better, cook it on a skillet and add olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste.
This lovely red fruit is rich in vitamin C and other natural whitening properties. One study published in the Journal of Dentistry found that drinking strawberry juice had a positive effect on coffee-stained teeth. If you suffer from yellow-stained teeth caused by coffee and other colored drinks, try adding more strawberries into your diet.
Smile Tip: Grind two to three strawberries into a paste and rub on your teeth to help get rid of yellow-stained teeth.
Not only does cheese taste good on everything, but it’s also good for your teeth! Cheese is jam-packed with calcium and phosphate — two minerals that can help keep your bones and teeth strong. It also contains casein and whey, special proteins that can rebuild tooth enamel. On top of that, the lactic acid in cheese can help protect your teeth from tooth decay. As if we were looking for more reasons to eat cheese?
Smile Tip: When picking out cheese, look for aged cheese, soft-ripened cheese, and blue cheese.
Basil is more than just your favorite herb. This little plant is a natural antibiotic. One study found a significant reduction in plaque from the use of basil. The leaves have natural whitening properties that can reduce bacteria in the mouth and prevent your teeth from staining yellow from certain foods and drinks.
Smile Tip: You can mix basil into toothpaste by drying the leaves and crushing them.
Munching on crunchy foods (like carrots) can act as a natural toothbrush — scrubbing off plaque and bacteria. Carrots are also packed with keratin and vitamin A — two nutrients that can help form strong enamel and keep gums healthy.
Smile Tip: Instead of chips, munch on carrots in between meals for a healthy snack.
Celery is rich with vitamin A and C — two nutrients that are beneficial in strengthening tooth enamel. Chewing on celery can also massage your gums and stimulate the production of saliva, which can help clean food particles from the teeth and reduce acid and sugar in the mouth. Celery might not be everyone’s favorite snack, but there are a variety of ways to add flavor while still reaping the benefits.
Smile Tip: If you can’t stand celery, make celery juice instead. Chop up celery and add to a blender with some of your favorite fruits for a yummy juice that’s good for your teeth.
Onion is a powerful vegetable. It contains antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that can kill off certain bacterias in the mouth that cause tooth decay. These benefits reach far beyond oral health — onions can also help prevent certain diseases in the body.
Smile Tip: You don’t have to take a bite out of an onion to see it’s effects — try adding onions to some of your favorite meals. Slices of onions can be added to sandwiches, burgers, and salads.
Kiwis are delicious and nutritious. They are full of fiber — an ingredient that can keep your teeth and gums clean and jam-packed with calcium — which can strengthen tooth enamel and prevent erosion and cavities. They also contain the highest amount of vitamin C out of any other fruit! Vitamin C is a crucial component to oral health.
One study found that taking an oral care tablet containing kiwifruit powder could be effective at reducing bacteria in the mouth. While you may not have access to these tablets, eating kiwi can give you the same benefits, plus it’s yummy!
Smile Tip: For a fun snack in between meals, cut kiwi and pineapple and place on a stick to make healthy skewers.
The Bad Guys: 5 Foods and Drinks that Stain Teeth
While there are several foods that can boost oral health, there’s also a laundry list of foods and drinks that can hurt it. Many items on this list are dark-colored and acidic, two properties that can make your teeth yellow.
- Coffee and tea: Both coffee and tea can stain teeth and wear away enamel. You can lessen these effects by avoiding darker colored teas and lightening up coffee with milk.
- Wine: Red wine is dark and acidic — two properties that can easily stain teeth. While white wine is lighter colored, it contains more acid, which can also stain enamel.
- Juices: Dark juices — like cranberry, blueberry, and grape — can all stain teeth because they are dark and full of acids that can make teeth yellow.
- Tomato sauce: Because of their dark nature, tomato-based sauces can stain teeth. However, there is no reason to omit this sauce completely. Before diving into your pasta, eat some of the veggies listed above that can protect your teeth from stains.
- Curry: Curry is known for making teeth appear yellow. The color is so bright that it can stain teeth instantly. If you’re a curry fanatic, make sure to brush your teeth directly after.
While the above foods and drinks can stain teeth, that doesn’t mean you need to avoid them completely. Everything should be taken in moderation and there are simple ways you can modify your diet to avoid or limit these foods.
For example, if you’re used to having curry once a week, try eating it every other week. If you can’t give up cranberry juice, drink it with a straw instead. Little modifications like this can make a huge difference in the long run. For more tips on how to modify your diet to include more smile brightening foods, download our printable grocery list below!
Additional Ways to Achieve a Brighter Smile
Keep in mind that while changing your diet can help with cleaning, whitening, and maintaining a bright smile, you won’t see results right away and the results you see will be limited. If you’re looking for fast, impressive results, try an at-home whitening product like Auraglow.
Auraglow delivers everything you need to whiten your teeth at home or on the go. On top of brushing, flossing, and eating the right foods, take your oral health to the next level by investing in a whitening kit with an LED light. This deluxe whitening kit delivers professional teeth whitening results, without the added cost and hassle. You can reverse years of stains in just a few days, so you can be proud of your smile again.