3 Foods That Can Whiten Your Teeth (And 3 You Should Avoid)

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There are lots of cosmetic dentistry procedures, but none are so popular as teeth-whitening. Over 1.4 billion dollars are spent by Americans in search of blinding teeth per year. But with all of this money spent, it seems like a good idea for those trying to keep their budgets down to avoid the process entirely. So if you're trying to cut costs, here are some foods that'll keep your teeth white, and a few to avoid.

Foods to Eat

Superfoods are nothing new, but these foods don't just provide calcium or vitamin C—they'll also keep your teeth looking white and shiny.

  • Strawberries. Both delicious and good for you, strawberries contain malic acid, which helps to remove stains off your teeth. In order to get the best benefits of these delicious teeth whiteners, try to eat them raw.
  • Cheese. Pick a cheese, any cheese—because they'll all help your teeth out. Cheese can help to rebuild the enamel on your teeth, and repair the damaged enamel that's already there. It can also balance the pH of your mouth; if your saliva is too acidic, it can help promote cavity growth.
  • Kiwi. Fruits take the cake when it comes to whitening power, and kiwi is one of the best fruits you can eat. One kiwi has enough vitamin C to last you a whole day, and vitamin C is vital in keeping your gums strong. Strong gums are important to keeping periodontal disease at bay, and staving off that disease will keep your teeth looking shiny and new.

Foods to Avoid

While there are lots of teeth-whitening foods, there are also a few you should avoid, unless you want to end up with darker teeth than before. If you find you absolutely can't live without these foods, try to brush anywhere from a half-hour to an hour after eating them to negate their staining power.

  • Coffee. You've heard of coffee breath, but coffee stains are much, much worse. To add to that, coffee stains aren't immediately apparent—they slowly grow darker and more prominent as you age. If you have to have your morning cuppa, try to drink it along with some water.
  • Balsamic Vinegar. It's a common enough addition to foods, particularly to Italian noodle dishes, but balsamic vinegar's dark hue and acidic properties can be particularly damaging to the color of your teeth.
  • Curry. This delicious Indian staple food is strongly flavored—and even more strongly pigmented. It's the latter that causes the damage, and the last color you'll want your teeth to take on is the orange-yellow hue of curry. However, if you want to eat it anyway, try pairing it with a vegetable—such as spinach or celery—that can help reverse the staining power.