(Source: Thinkstock)For most of us, the quest for whiter teeth is a never-ending story. We brush with whitening paste, try at-home strips or get treatments at the dentist. But much like coffee, tea and wine can stain our pearly whites, many common foods also have whitening and tooth-protecting effects. According to Damon Brown, co-founder and CEO of Luster Premium White, a company that makes whitening products such as toothpaste and rinses, "eating fresh, crunchy veggies and fruits can actually help naturally whiten your teeth."
But before getting into specifics, let's present the bad-news side of this equation first. "What you may not have considered is these stains diminish our smile and reverse the efforts we have done to get our teeth their whitest," notes Damon. "Daily brushing to maintain your smile may not be enough if you frequently consume the things that cause your teeth to stain."
Wondering what the culprits are? Check out Damon's list.
Foods that stain: Blueberries, cherries, blackberries, soy sauce, curry, red sauces, ketchup and mustard.
Drinks that stain: Coffee, tea, red wine, dark sodas.
Substances that stain: Tobacco, bacteria from rich sugary foods and some medications such as tetracycline.
To reverse those effects, Damon recommends munching on some of our favorites: carrots, broccoli, celery, apples, strawberries and cucumbers.
"To clean your teeth with strawberries before you eat them, cut a strawberry in half and rub each half over your teeth and gums," he suggests. "Strawberries naturally help whiten teeth and remove plaque as well. Foods such as spinach, lettuce and broccoli help prevent staining by creating a film on the teeth that acts as a barrier to stains."
So go ahead, eat your way to pearly whites!