Check out these foods that do double duty by naturally cleaning and whitening teeth:
StrawberriesThis ruby red fruit contains malic acid, an enzyme and natural astringent that helps remove surface stains from tooth enamel. Strawberries are a healthy snack, of course, but for more tooth-whitening power try adding some mashed berries to your toothbrush before scrubbing. Follow with a baking soda and water rinse to flush away any acidic residue.
In addition to their crunchy and abrasive texture, carrots also stimulate saliva production, which helps prevent plaque build-up. According to a study published in The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, saliva works like a wound-healing disinfectant, breaking down food particles left in the mouth while cleaning food and dead cells from the teeth’s surface and gums. Carrots also neutralize acid in the mouth, which aids in the regeneration of tooth enamel.
Brushing, oil pulling, and rinsing your teeth with coconut oil can ensure pearly white teeth. The lauric acid in coconut oil naturally whitens, while its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties help fight plaque formation and gingivitis.
Seed & Nuts
Thanks to their coarse, crunchy texture and high fiber content, seeds and nuts are great for removing plaque and surface stains. They’re also rich in protein and calcium, which promote strong teeth, gums, and bones. While sesame seeds scrub away at plaque, nuts like cashews also contain saliva-stimulating nutrients that help prevent build-up of plaque and enamel-eroding bacteria.
Sodium bicarbonate, commonly known as baking soda, is one of the active ingredients often used in commercial teeth whiteners and toothpastes. It naturally removes surface stains while reducing plaque and bacteria that cause bad breath. Brushing your teeth with baking soda is simple: Dip your wet toothbrush in some powder and brush thoroughly for about two minutes before rinsing with water. For a fresh minty aftertaste, mix the baking soda with 2-3 drops of mint essential oil.
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. Subscribe to Tanya’s free weekly newsletter and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn