Everyone knows that certain foods can stain your teeth, and others (like sugar) are just all-around bad for oral health. But did you know that certain foods can actually clean, strengthen and/or make teeth whiter? Before you succumb to that Groupon teeth whitening deal, try coloring your mouth beautiful (and healthy) the natural way by eating more of these fruits, vegetables and nuts.
Lemons. Both are high in malic acid, a natural teeth whitener that breaks down discolorations on teeth. Strawberries, lemons and grapes are also good malic acid sources.
Almonds. Calcium is as important for healthy teeth as it is for healthy bones, and almonds are a surprising calcium powerhouse. One ounce of almonds has about 80 milligrams calcium–nearly a quarter of your recommended daily intake (300-400 milligrams).
Carrots. Vitamin A is essential for healthy tooth enamel, according to Manhattan dentist Marc Liechtung. And carrots are a great source of vitamin A.
Greens. Green vegetables like spinach, broccoli and lettuce are high in iron, which helps form an acid-resistant film or barrier on teeth that can protect the enamel, Leichtung says.
Shitake mushrooms. Shitake mushrooms can help stop bacteria from growing in your mouth and causing decay. Other bacteria busters include onions and basil.
Pineapple. Pineapples can help whiten teeth, thanks to an enzyme (bromelain) in it that’s a natural stain remover. It also helps break up plaque on your teeth, thereby protecting teeth enamel.
Any foods that increase saliva production are also good for teeth whitening, according to Leichtung, as increased saliva washes away stains over time. Foods that increase saliva include apples, pears, cauliflower and cucumber.