Whitening your teeth naturally by eating certain foods has now been confirmed through scientific research. Let’s look at the evidence and discover proven ways to whiten teeth.
Yellow or stained teeth is a surprisingly common problem. Some of us are born with yellowish teeth and some of us lose the natural shine with time, usually due to poor oral hygiene and bad dietary habits.
Most dentists recommend patients undergo teeth whitening procedures to get bright and shining teeth, but that can be costly and time intensive. Some of these are safer than others. Some teeth whiteners have been shown to weaken teeth enamel.
What I tell my patients at my practice at SK Family Dental goes something like this:
“Teeth whitening is a safe and easy way to get rid of yellow or stained teeth, but it’s not always needed. Simple dietary changes and good oral hygiene can do the trick if your teeth aren’t very poorly stained.”
Let’s have a look at a number natural foods that can naturally whiten the teeth.
An apple a day doesn’t only keeps the doctor away, but will also keep unpleasant yellow teeth stains at bay.
According to a 2013 study conducted by the University of Grenada, apples release malic acid which helps remove teeth stains when mixed with our saliva. Malic acid is also found in many toothpastes due to its proven benefits.
Other than that, consuming apples have other benefits as well. They work as a water flosser for our teeth. The fibers in apples help remove the food particles that are stuck in between our teeth and keep the teeth healthy and white.
This may be surprising to some, because it was the opinion of many that raisins stick to the teeth more and increase the risk of dental caries. Actually, raisins help fight cavities along with helping to whiten teeth according to the research. Studies say that eating raisins can enhance the production of saliva, which can help remove stains from the teeth.
They should be consumed raw and ideally chewed and not grinded. They not only help remove stains but can also help get rid of food particles that are stuck in the teeth. So, it’s a good idea to have raisins after every meal.
Pineapple is a natural teeth whitener thanks to the presence of bromelain. It’s an enzyme that is naturally found in pineapples that can help remove layers of bacteria from the teeth. As a result, teeth appear shinier and whiter. Pineapples also increases salivary flow according to the research.
If you really want to enjoy the benefits of this enzyme, then turn to pineapple juice as well because this is where most of the bromelain is found. However, pineapples must be fresh and not canned since bromelain degrades quickly, which is why it is still not being used in many dental products.
Papayas contain an enzyme called papain, which works similarly to bromelain in many ways. In fact, the pineapple study above tested a blend of papain from papaya along with the bromelain from pineapples on 24 human molars. The researchers found:
“There was statistically significant difference in percentage removal of stains for test and control groups.”
They also found an increase in teeth lightness by several degrees.
Other research has also found that papain reduces teeth discoloration, and dental patches for teeth whitening often now use papain as a whitening agent.
Strawberries are delicious and healthy, but if you want them to whiten your teeth then you must eat them whole and not turn them into strawberry shakes.
This fruit is rich in malic acid and provides several other benefits as well. The small seeds found on the skin of strawberries work as buffers and help remove stains by rubbing against the teeth.
They are also rich in vitamin C. This is a very important vitamin as it helps clean plaque from the teeth surface and restore whiteness of teeth.
This incredibly delicious food can make your teeth shine thanks to the generous amounts of theobromine present in cocoa. It is an alkaloid that prevents the occurrence of demineralization and keeps the teeth white and shining.
However, chocolate must be consumed with care. Over consumption may lead to tooth decay and unsweetened is best. (Unsweetened organic cocoa can be added to a variety of dishes.)
Many of my patients find it very surprising when I suggest them to consume dark chocolate. It’s actually a good food, just make sure to not consume a lot and to brush your teeth right after you have it so that no amount of chocolate gets stuck to the teeth.
You must have heard of how bad tea and coffee can be for the teeth. The notion is true since colored beverages can stain teeth, but there is no such risk with green tea.
Green tea can actually help whiten your teeth. It contains ingredients like tannins, which fight bacteria that sticks to the surface and causes it to turn yellow.
Then there are antioxidants which reduce the effects of acids that hurt our teeth and stain them. In addition, green tea can also increase the level of fluoride.
Drink three to five cups of green tea per day, preferably decaffeinated. It doesn’t only help strengthen teeth but can also result in weight loss.
The hard texture of carrots is a blessing for our teeth. As we crunch down on a carrot, it rubs against the teeth and scrapes down bacteria.
Studies say that carrots also enhance saliva production which can help kill bacteria and keep the teeth white and shining.
Whitening strategies: inexpensive and natural
Getting whiter teeth doesn’t have to be expensive or entail many trips to the dentist. Try adding these foods to your diet and you’ll soon notice whiter, brighter teeth.
Dr. Kwon holds a doctor of dentistry (DDS) and has been practicing dentistry for 10 years, and owns a dental practice in Puyallup, Washington. His education includes dental implants, orthodontics, and cosmetic dentistry to help ensure that his patients receive the most comprehensive and advanced dental care.