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How to Whiten Teeth Naturally with Food

Naturally Whiten Your Teeth...Just by Noshing

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Here’s something to chew on: just as some foods, like red wine, coffee, and blackberries, can darken our ivories, there are other foods that naturally whiten our smiles, says Joseph Banker, DDS, a cosmetic dentist in Westfield, NJ. “Avoiding these foods is one way to prevent stained teeth, but who wants to do that? I love coffee, red wine, and soy sauce,” he says. Counteract the discoloration by chewing on one of these 10 natural teeth whiteners.

(Also, pay attention to these 11 Things Your Mouth Can Tell You About Your Health.)

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Nuts

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Next time you reach for a snack, grab a handful of almonds, cashews, walnuts, or even sesame seeds. In addition to being high in protein, iron, magnesium, potassium, and omega-3s, they're also abrasive, which can help scrub away stains while you chew. Plus, they stimulate saliva flow, which helps wash away the bacteria that causes plaque.

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Carrots and Celery

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Veggies that are good for your figure are also good for your chompers. High in fiber and slightly coarse, they act as scrubbers for your teeth when eaten raw.

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Strawberries

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Even though it'll stain your fingers, this delicious fruit contains malic acid, which acts as an astringent to help remove surface stains. Want to harness their whitening power beyond just eating them? “Crush up strawberries, combine them with baking soda, and brush your teeth with the mixture,” suggests Banker. That's one tasty toothpaste! (Not to mention, strawberries are also one of The Best Fruits for a Heart-Healthy Diet.)

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Apples

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An apple a day will keep the dentist away. Crunch into this crispy fruit and the natural acids will help remove surface discolorations. Additionally, they’re fibrous—which means they’re excellent at rubbing away plaque.

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Broccoli

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Eaten raw, these florets will scrub your teeth while you eat, washing away food residue and bacteria. Plus, broccoli’s calcium content rivals that of dairy products, making your teeth strong.

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Citrus Fruits

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Need another reason to nosh on some sweet clementines? Oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes have citric acid in them which is super effective in whitening teeth. Banker suggests mixing lemon juice with baking soda to make an all-natural whitening paste. “The inside of an orange peel can also be used to scrub the teeth in a pinch,” he says. Who knew? (Oranges also made the list of our 5 Office-Friendly Snacks That Banish the Afternoon Slump.)

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Pineapple

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This tasty tropical fruit contains an enzyme called bromelain, which breaks down proteins that can cause stains. Skip the post-dinner cookie and enjoy a sweet piece of pineapple—you’ll not only satisfy a sugar craving, but you’ll brighten your teeth as well.

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Sugar-Free Gum

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“It is a good idea to chew sugar-free gum after eating a meal,” says Banker. “It stimulates salivary flow which helps clean debris off of teeth, and dilutes acids and sugars from food.” Further, Xylitol, a sweetener found in sugar-free gum, has been shown to effectively protect teeth from some decay-causing bacteria.

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Cheese

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The abundant vitamin c in most cheeses is not only key to strengthening your bones, but, when combined with high phosphate levels, is also key to balancing your mouth's pH levels. High or overly acidic pH levels stimulate the growth of bacteria, which can cause cavities and damage tooth enamel. (It's also one of our 22 New Winter Foods for Weight Loss.)

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Water

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“After consuming dark pigmented foods, water is great at diluting those pigments and washing them away,” says Banker. Drinking a glass of water after (or at the same time) as red wine or coffee will greatly reduce the resulting stains.

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