Eat This, Not That: Food Facts for Keeping Your Smile Bright

“It seems as if anything I like is either illegal, immoral, or fattening.” So runs the quote attributed to the American wit Alexander Woollcott. He might have added “or bad for my teeth,” since there are so many delicious things that can gradually turn your smile a gentle shade of sepia. But all is not lost—with a little attention to what you eat, you can help your teeth to stay white and bright for years.

Start from Where You Are

The chances are that, if you are a fairly average adult, your teeth are not as white as once they were.

The unfortunate truth is that, once your teeth are stained, the only way to get them truly white again is by going to your dentist or checking an online provider like for one of the teeth whitening products that are available.

If you carry on eating what you like, you will soon need to have your teeth whitened again. But a change of diet can help you to preserve your newly-restored gleam.

What to Avoid

Some foods and drinks are guaranteed to stain your teeth. The main effect is temporary, but over time a gradual residual build-up will take place.

  • Dark-coloured sauces, especially soy and tomato. Try to avoid dipping into neat soy sauce, and favor pesto with your pasta, rather than tomato sauce.
  • Dark berries, especially blueberries. They may be filled with healthy nutrients, but overindulgence will have an effect on your teeth in the long run.
  • Red wine. The colouration of red wine sticks to your teeth as you drink it. Try white wine instead.
  • Tea and coffee. Most people drink quite a few cups a day, so the teeth are being exposed on a very regular basis. The more milk you put in, the better.

The best thing you can do to mitigate the effect is to drink a glass of water after consuming any of these. It washes away the residue before any more of it can sink in.

What to Consume

Just as there are foods to avoid, there are things to look out for:

  • Raw or lightly cooked vegetables. Celery, carrots, and broccoli are all star turns for helping your teeth stay clean and bright. The slightly abrasive texture does the same job as a toothbrush. Raw onions are particularly effective, but not to everyone’s taste!
  • Apples and pears are both good for your teeth, and the extra crunch strengthens your jaws. The high water content stimulates saliva, your body’s natural mouthwash.
  • Nuts and seeds. These also have an abrasive texture to help keep your teeth shining.
  • Dairy products. Milk, yogurt, and cheese are rich in lactic acid and calcium, both of which contribute to a healthy smile.

Keep That Smile

Everybody responds to an attractive smile, and white teeth help to make the best smiles. If you have been to the trouble of having your teeth whitened, it makes sense to accept small adjustments to your diet to keep them that way.