Are you striving for a whiter smile? Most of us are!
Unfortunately, in the battle for a white smile, a lot of the foods we eat on a daily basis are working against us.
Many of us know drinks like coffee and red wine are harmful to our smiles, but it turns out there are a lot of more foods that could be yellowing our teeth.
If you’re struggling to get a white smile, try eliminating, or at least reducing, these 7 foods from your diet:
Berries are loaded with antioxidants that are great for the rest of your body, but they’re not great if you’re trying to get a whiter smile.
Dark berries, such as blueberries, blackberries and raspberries can easily stain your smile. You’ve probably noticed how they stain your hands when you’re eating them, and they have the same impact on your teeth.
If you want the health benefits of berries without the staining, try strawberries. These berries are the exception to the rule and are typically recommended as a natural teeth whitener. This is due to an important enzyme called malic acid.
It might seem like a good idea to replace your morning coffee with a cup of tea when you’re trying to whiten your teeth. However, tea can cause even worse staining on your teeth than coffee.
This is due to compounds in tea called tannins. These compounds make it easier for the dark hues of tea to stick to your teeth, thus causing more staining.
If you still need the caffeine boost that tea provides, stick to green or white teas. Since they’re lighter in color, these teas contain fewer tannins so they don’t stain your teeth as badly.
Soda is bad for your teeth in general, but it’s not just likely to cause cavities — it can cause serious staining as well.
Just like red wine, many of your favorite dark-colored sodas (such as Coca Cola) contain compounds called chromogens. These compounds are highly pigmented and they love to stick to your teeth.
Unfortunately, all soda is extremely acidic. So even light colored sodas such as Sprite or ginger ale can cause your enamel to erode and eventually stain your teeth.
Instead of soda, try drinking a sparkling water. These are light in color and usually contain no sugar so they’re much kinder to your teeth.
4. Balsamic vinegar
Balsamic vinegar is commonly used in salad dressings and marinades on meat, but it could also be staining your teeth if you’re not careful. This vinegar has a naturally dark pigment that will stain if it’s not cleaned off soon after eating.
If you usually eat balsamic vinegar on a salad you might be in luck — so long as your salad contains lettuce. Lettuce acts as a natural teeth cleaner and will wipe away the vinegar while you’re eating.
However, if you’re serious about white teeth, it’s best to go and brush as soon as possible after you eat.
Curry is a diet staple in Indian and Thai cuisines, but it turns out that it’s a common culprit of stained teeth.
If you’ve ever cooked homemade curry, you probably noticed that the leaves stained your hands and just about anything else they come in contact with. Unfortunately, this delicious dish has the same impact on your teeth.
6. Tomato sauce
Similar to curry, tomato sauce is another fan-favorite sauce that could be ruining your teeth. If you’re a fan of pasta or pizza nights, it might be time to trade in your sauce for a more teeth-friendly option.
Tomato sauce is highly acidic, which can erode the enamel on your teeth. Enamel is a crucial barrier that protects your teeth from yellowing and decaying.
Try switching out your tomato-based sauces for more cream sauces, such as Alfredo. They might not be easy on your waistline, but your teeth will definitely thank you.
7. Soy Sauce
If you’re a fan of Chinese takeout, it could be sacrificing your white smile. Just like curry and tomato sauce, soy sauce contains deep pigments that can yellow your teeth over time if you’re not careful.
So swap out the Chinese takeout every once in a while, or make your own at home sans soy sauce.
Want a white smile? Eat these foods instead
Most of us would love to have a white smile. Unfortunately, in-office whitening treatments can easily set you back thousands of dollars. Even over-the-counter solutions, such as mouth washes and whitening strips, are expensive and can be a hassle to use.
Now that we’ve discussed foods to avoid for a pearly white smile, what foods should you be adding into your diet?
Here are four foods to add to your next grocery list:
1. Dairy products
There’s good news for cheese lovers: dairy products are great for your teeth. Dairy products are high in calcium, which makes your teeth stronger and healthier in general.
Products such as cheese, milk, and yogurt are also high in lactic acid, which is known to make your teeth stronger and less prone to acidic corrosion.
Not only are apples high in fiber and great for your body in general, they can actually help whiten your teeth naturally. Apples are crunchy, which can help clean your teeth and remove tartar buildup.
Apples also increase your natural saliva product. This might sound gross, but it’s actually key to keeping your mouth clean, which will make your teeth whiter.
Similar to apples, tangy citrus fruits make your mouth over produce saliva, which can lead to a whiter smile.
One citrus fruit you should be wary of is lemons. While lemons are known to be natural lightening agents, they shouldn’t be used directly on your teeth to bleach or lighten them. Too much acidity can be harmful to your smile.
4. Baking soda
While this isn’t technically a food that you’d normally eat on its own, baking soda is worth adding into meals when you can or simply rubbing it on your teeth daily.
Baking soda has been proven to remove stains from teeth and it is a common ingredient in tooth paste.
Do you have any foods to avoid or add in your diet for a whiter smile? Share them in the comments below.