You may avoid certain foods that can stain your teeth, but for a brighter, whiter smile try eating more of these:
The enzyme bromelain in pineapples acts as a natural stain remover that breaks up plaque, the sticky bacteria that forms a film on your teeth. Citrus fruits such as oranges stimulate production of saliva, which cleans teeth naturally.
Dark leafy greens such as spinach, lettuce, kale, and Swiss chard contain a host of mineral compounds including magnesium that form a stain-resistant film on teeth that helps the enamel stay whiter.
Biting into the firm skin and dense flesh of an apple has a scrubbing effect that helps remove plaque, while releasing malic acid that helps dissolve filmy build-up that discolors teeth. Fruits and vegetables that are high in cellulose, such as carrots and celery, are naturally abrasive – so they help remove stains from the enamel surface.
Cold water fish such as salmon contain omega-3s and phosphorus that help strengthen tooth enamel. Salmon is a particularly good source of vitamin D, which aids calcium absorption for stronger teeth and a brighter smile.
Like apples, strawberries contain malic acid that removes surface discoloration and the berry’s slightly abrasive texture helps buff the enamel for a smoother, whiter appearance. Make your own all-natural tooth whitener by mixing crushed strawberries with a half teaspoon of baking soda.
Forgot your toothbrush? Chomping on some crunchy raw carrot sticks will help scrape away food buildup while also stimulating production of saliva, your mouth’s natural cleanser. Plus, carrots are rich in vitamin A which promotes healthy tooth enamel.
In their raw state onions contain two sulfur compounds, thiosulfinates and thiosulfonates, which reduce bacteria that dulls teeth by eroding the enamel surface. Garlic contains these sulfur compounds, too.
Yogurt, milk and cheese
Dairy products contain minerals such as calcium and phosphorous, which help strengthen the enamel and improve their appearance. The protein in yogurt binds to teeth, making them more resistant to decay. Hard cheeses have a whitening effect because their slightly gritty texture helps scrub away tiny food particles and smooth the enamel’s surface.
For delicious high fiber meal plans, recipes and tips on healthy eating, drinking and losing weight, check out my latest book, The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber!
Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a registered dietitian in New York City and the author of two bestselling diet books: The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with fiber and The F-Factor Diet. Follow Tanya on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and subscribe to her free weekly weight loss newsletter.