Despite their popularity, commercial tooth whitening products can cause heightened tooth and gum sensitivity when used for prolonged periods of time. Fortunately, there are plenty of naturally occurring tooth whitening compounds found in various fruits, vegetables and dairy products. So if you would like to maintain pearly white teeth without depending upon home whitening kits, then here are five of the best super foods that you can incorporate within your diet.
Don’t let their red hue fool you, strawberries can work wonders for your teeth! A cupful of strawberries provides you with a rich source of malic acid; an enzyme which encourages saliva protection and acts as a natural astringent to remove surface tooth discolouration. Strawberries also contain ellagitannins, a type of polyphenol that actively reduces stain-attracting bacteria from accumulating in your mouth. Simply add a handful of strawberries to your morning cereal or blend them into a smoothie to benefit from their exceptional tooth whitening capabilities.
Delicious in fruit salads and smoothies, pineapple is also a brilliant super-food for pearly white teeth. As one skincare guide highlights, this tropical fruit is one of nature’s best sources of bromelain; anenzyme found within the stem and juice that is a natural stain remover. Bromelain is particularly effectively at breaking up the bacteria on your teeth that forms plaque so it is a fundamental enzyme in the prevention of enamel erosion. What’s more, the bromelain found in pineapples also has potent anti-inflammatory properties so it is highly effective at reducing and preventing the onset of gum inflammation; thus making pineapple an all round super-food for your teeth!
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient which boosts immune system function, increases calcium absorption and can prevent bone deterioration. This is particularly important for long term tooth health as research has shown that bone deterioration in our jaws is a primary factor in tooth loss. Fortunately, mushrooms are one of nature’s richest sources of vitamin D, so mixing a 100g serving of these fungi into your spaghetti bolognese or stir fries can help protect your pearly whites for many years to come. Moreover, if you place your mushrooms in direct sunlight before eating them, studies have show you can significantly increase their vitamin D levels. In fact, one study reported that the vitamin D levels in shitake mushrooms that had been exposed to sunlight for two days, six hours a day, soared from 100 IU/100 grams to nearly 46,000 IU/100 grams.
As mentioned above, bone deterioration in our jaws can lead to tooth loss, and unfortunately our jawbones lose their mass faster than the other bone structures in our bodies. For these reasons, it is important that we all increase our daily intake of calcium and vitamin D because these nutrients support the development of denser bones and stronger joints. Furthermore, calcium also aids the repair and re-mineralisation of teeth and tooth enamel, so it is recommended that you consume dairy products such as cheese and milk which are great natural sources of calcium. Cheese also contain phosphorus and lactic acid which break down plaque and can protect your teeth against decay; the perfect excuse for having an extra slice of cheddar!
Often referred to as ‘nature’s toothbrush’, the crunchy, crisp nature of apples means that they can actually help to clean your teeth whilst they are being eaten. Apples also have a high water content so they will increase your production of saliva. This saliva production process will disperse bacteria from attaching to your teeth thereby effectively reducing the accumulation of plaque and preventing bad breath. Similarly to strawberries, apples also contain malic acid, so in addition to their detergent properties they can also aid in the natural whitening of your teeth.