Drinking tea or coffee sweetened with sugar raises acid levels in your mouth, weakening the enamel on your teeth. And because these drinks are often sipped slowly, acid levels may remain high over a longer period of time, aggravating it even more. Coffee, tea, and red wine can also stain teeth when consumed over long periods.
A bright, healthy smile can boost your self-confidence, so if your teeth need a little brightening, but you’d prefer to skip whitening treatments, here are some natural remedies for whiter teeth that you may already have in your kitchen.
Apples, Broccoli, Celery, Carrots
Crunchy foods are great for exfoliating your teeth. Vegetables apples, broccoli, celery, carrots, cauliflower, cabbage and kale will can help eliminate plaque - which is one of the biggest causes of discoloured tooth enamel. Eating crisp raw vegetables like broccoli can help clean and polish your teeth and, according to research in the European Journal of Dentistry, the iron in broccoli has the added benefit of providing a wall of protection for your teeth against the enamel-degrading acid that’s produced by bacteria. This helps prevent stains and cavities. Chewing also stimulates saliva production, which neutralizes the acids and enzymes in your mouth that threaten your enamel helping to keep gum tissue healthy.
We all know how embarrassing it can be when there's stuff stuck between your teeth, but the risk is worth it. Dark, leafy greens like spinach, lettuce, and Swiss chard (Swiss chard is not only one of the most popular vegetables along the Mediterranean but it is one of the most nutritious vegetables around and ranks second only to spinach following our analysis of the total nutrient-richness of the World's Healthiest vegetables) are one of the best sources of enamel-building magnesium, with 78 mg in a half-cup serving. Leafy greens also lack enamel-harming acidity.
Rinse with Apple Cider Vinegar
The benefits of apple cider vinegar are varied and well-documented. However, the benefits for your teeth are less known. It is recommended rinsing with this little miracle substance, in order to remove stains, whiten teeth and eliminate bacteria in your mouth.
"Try mixing two parts water, to one part apple cider vinegar, and swish around your mouth for one minute before rinsing”. "Follow this with your regular brushing routine in the morning."
Follow Citrus with Water
Although it is acidic, citrus fruit increases saliva flow. In fact, research shows that oranges, grapefruits, and other citrus fruit tend to protect tooth enamel. Because citrus fruit contains a lot of water, it also helps wash away acid-producing bacteria. Just be careful to eat in moderation or drink water afterwards so the sensitivity of your teeth is not jeopardized. Vitamin C on the other hand contributes to the health of gum tissue and also speeds the healing process, after everyday scrapes and sores like burns from hot food or beverages, and bitten cheeks or tongues.
Pineapple is the only food that naturally contains bromelai a compound with anti-inflammatory and cleansing properties. A recent study in the International Journal of Dental Hygiene found that bromelain, an enzyme derived from the fruit, stem, and leaves of pineapple, may break down stains on the surface of teeth without harmful, abrasive effects to the enamel. In fact bromelain is an effective ingredient in a stain-removing toothpaste.
Salmon is a great source of enamel-building phosphorus, with 315mg of the mineral in a three-ounce serving (about a third of the FDA’s daily recommended intake for adults). Intact enamel makes teeth look whitest because it keeps the dark dentin at the centre of each tooth from showing through. The fatty fish is also a good dietary source of vitamin D, which encourages calcium absorption.
Strawberries contain malic acid, which acts as a natural astringent. This means chomping down on some strawberries will help remove discoloration on the surfaces of teeth, but brushing afterwards is a must since the berry also contains sugar.
With every passing year, acid eats away at your protective tooth enamel. As adults our teeth are already formed, but it’s still helpful to eat calcium and phosphorus, minerals found in abundance in both cheese and tofu which can fight decay. So feel free to go nuts on the cheese, milk and yoghurt. Not only will the added calcium keep enamel strong, but harder cheese can actually eliminate food particles that stain your teeth. If dairy isn't your thing, you can also go for figs, tofu or seafood.
Onions contain the sulfur compounds, thiosulfinates and thiosulfonates, which reduce bacteria that cause tooth decay. Eating them raw is a must as cooking will destroy these tooth-friendly compounds. If you don’t like onions, garlic also contains these sulfur compounds.
Use a Straw
The very BEST tip is to drink coloured drinks through a straw! This can help avoid it coming into contact with your teeth, especially after you've whitened them. Sure, it may not be the classiest move to pull out a straw for that glass of red wine - but do try it whenever you can. It will make a world of difference.
The best thirst quencher is also the smartest choice for your teeth. Water helps wash acid-producing foods from the mouth.