Full disclosure: I hate my teeth. Always have, probably always will. They're just not white enough and never have been -- even when I was a kid and my "grown-up" teeth were brand new (apparently this has something to do with too many antibiotics for multiple bouts of tonsillitis).
I've tried just about whitening treatment on the market but none of them have done the trick (unless by "trick" you're referring to the magic enamel-destroying powers of those dentist-approved bleaching trays. Root canals are awesome!).
Anyway, as you can probably tell, I'm pretty skeptical about anything that claims to have smile-brightening properties at this point. So when I heard that some foods are actually capable of making teeth whiter, I was like, "Says who? The tooth fairy?" TGTBT.
BUT there's a surprising amount of research out there suggesting that certain foods really are dental dazzlers.
So I'll definitely be adding these to my grocery list (unlike the bleach, at least none of these will destroy my teeth).
More from The Stir: Your Favorite Fruit Is Ruining Your Teeth
1. Strawberries. Who knew? I would've thought strawberries would give teeth a pink glow if anything, but it turns out they contain malic acid, which is a stain lifter.
2. Broccoli. Another one I didn't see coming. Eating broccoli actually protects enamel by creating an acid-resistant film on teeth. Reason #489 to chow on the stuff!
3. Shiitake mushrooms. Huh? No, for real! Shiitakes contain a sugar called lentinan which prevents bacteria from taking over your mouth and making everything yucky.
4. Apples. Okay, this one's not a huge surprise -- but crisp apples really are nature's tooth brush.
5. Carrots and celery. Like apples, crunchy crudites help to scrub all the stain-causing gunk off your chompers -- plus, they stimulate saliva production (nature's mouthwash).
6. Oranges and pineapples. These citrus-y guys also stimulate saliva production, and rubbing the white side of an orange peel against your teeth has the unexpected ability to remove tartar.
7. Sesame seeds. Think of sesame seeds as tiny little exfoliating beads, for your teeth. Because that's what they are!
8. Apple cider vinegar. Mmm, tangy! Mix this with baking soda to make a paste for super-whitening wonderfulness.
9. Hard cheese. Not only does the lactic acid in dairy foods help to prevent decay, hard cheese has a similar scrubbing action to apples and sesame seeds.
10. Green beans. Fresh, raw green beans do an excellent job of lifting less-than-white stuff from the nooks and crannies in between teeth. (Not cooked beans! Raw!)
How do you whiten your teeth? Will you try any of these foods to brighten your smile?