By Juliane Morris

Healthy, happy smiles come in all shades but the food and drink we put in our mouths, along with aging, causes our teeth to take on a yellow tint.  To brighten your pearly-whites, consider these natural remedies while avoiding some of the worst teeth-staining drinks and foods. Read on to learn which stain-fighting foods you can even incorporate to help avoid discoloration.

Watch out for these!
Acidic staples like lemons, oranges and apple cider vinegar, and foods that contain high digestive enzymes like pineapple, papaya and mango, can wear away tooth enamel, revealing more of the yellowish and softer tissue of the underlying dentin.

Tomato-based foods have high acid and tend to cling to teeth, sometimes penetrating enamel and leaving stains.  Curry-based spices are highly pigmented and stain teeth.  Eat dark greens like spinach or broccoli, or apples, pears, carrots, celery, cauliflower and cucumbers before consuming tomato and curry-based foods to help create a barrier over your tooth enamel.  Also, rinsing out your mouth with water and having some milk can help neutralize acids.

Since coffee, tea, wine, soda and sports drinks contain acidity and pigments (chromogens) that stain teeth and corrode enamel, consider using a reusable straw to limit contact with the surface of your teeth.

Keep your teeth white with these foods.
Celery, carrots and apples are natural stain removers because their crunch helps to scrub teeth and increase self-cleaning saliva production.

Cheese, yogurt and milks contain lactic acid which has been shown to protect teeth from decay.  Dairy proteins bind to teeth, reinforcing them against harmful acids.  Hard cheeses like Parmesan help whiten because the chewing helps remove food on teeth.

Brush your teeth for two minutes in gentle circular motions with a soft-bristled brush at morning and night.  Waiting 30 minutes after you eat and drink before brushing helps reduce the risk of enamel damage if you’ve consumed acids or digestive enzymes.  You can use baking soda (and can add a splash of hydrogen peroxide once per week if you’d like) with your toothpaste to gently polish stains away.

Another natural whitening remedy is oil rinsing (pulling).  To try this, after you brush and floss, swish a small amount of coconut oil in your mouth and spit it out after a minute.

Retaining a white smile isn’t easy but you can take measures to avoid stain-causing foods and drinks while consuming foods that help strengthen and whiten your smile.  Think prevention AND care.

Natural whitening remedy is oil rinsing, after you brush and floss, swish a small amount of coconut oil in your mouth and spit it out after a minute.

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