Posted on: 11 May 2015
These days, those with less than bright-looking gnashers can take advantage of teeth whitening toothpastes and treatments to achieve a Hollywood smile, but a dazzling grin won't suddenly make you invincible to discolouration from certain foods.
If you're considering any such treatments, you should make every effort to hang on to your bright white smile for longer by eating the right foods. Here are our top food picks that can minimise teeth staining and help keep your pearly whites shining brightly.
Strawberries may stain your fingernails and clothes if you're greedily scoffing them, but they can thankfully have the reverse effect on your teeth. Strawberries contain the helpful enzyme malic acid which helps to reduce staining by slowing down the rate of discolouration. For a quick teeth-whitening trick, try rubbing mashed up strawberry on to your teeth and leave it to work for five minutes. Or you could enjoy them in the normal way, of course.
Lemons & Limes
Citrus fruits are also members of the white teeth preservation club. The citric acid in things like lemons, limes and grapefruit contains calcium chelating agents which essentially help in promoting stain removal. Overtime, stains can become permanently embedded in your tooth enamel but these unique calcium properties get stuck in and disrupt the enamel's protective film - chasing away any potential stains in the process.
Also, because citrus fruits are mostly water, they increase saliva flow which helps cleanse the teeth of stain-producing foods and protect enamel against further bacteria.
Apples, carrots & celery
Other than their overall health benefits, the physical crunch factor of these foods makes them a great companion to gleaming white teeth. Hard fruits and veggies are natural stain removers since they encourage extra saliva to cleanse your teeth and mouth of bacterial nasties. Ever notice your teeth squeak when you munch on celery or raw carrot? It's because these foods are the nearest thing to a dentist clean feeling without picking up a toothbrush.
Hard cheese really is recommended for maintaining a healthy white smile. Tough cheeses such as Gouda, Emmental and Cheddar can greatly increase plaque-calcium concentration which can help harden teeth and toughen them up against potential cavities and decay.
Hard cheese also helps maintain a safe pH level in your mouth. When we eat, our mouths generally become more acidic to break down foods, but cheese keeps things at a more neutral pH level, giving teeth a fighting chance against plaque build-up and discolouration.
If you must...
- Eat chocolate, eat dark chocolate. Substances in cocoa have been shown to protect against erosion and decay of the teeth. Since dark chocolate is lower in sugar content, it limits the stains that so easily form the beginnings of erosion and decay.
- Drink soda, only drink at meal times. Food will help neutralise the acid, limiting your teeth's exposure to its harmful eroding qualities. Also, don't be fooled by 'diet' variations of your favourite soft drink; these are often just as bad in the teeth-staining stakes.
- Chew gum, go for sugar-free varieties. The act of chewing gum neutralises harmful acids in the mouth to protect your tooth enamel. It also helps with cravings for stain-producing foods.