Foods That Can Actually Whiten Your Teeth

Jan 09, 2024

Foods That Can Actually Whiten Your Teeth

Stained, discolored teeth are one of the main reasons patients see us for cosmetic dentistry services. Over the years, the outermost layer of your teeth, the enamel, becomes discolored by several things, including the foods you eat, the medications you take, and the cigarettes you smoke (to name a few common causes of discoloration). 

Whether you’ve managed to beat the odds and hang on to your white smile or just received a professional teeth whitening treatment in our office, we want to help you keep your smile looking as beautiful as possible for as long as possible.

In this blog, our team of dentists at Lifetime Dental Care in Woodbridge, Virginia, gives you insider information on what you can eat and drink if you want a whiter smile. 


This first snack suggestion may sound counterintuitive when you know that red and heavily pigmented foods can stain your teeth. But strawberries are the exception. 

Strawberries contain malic acid, a compound known for its bleaching properties. Malic acid can also stimulate saliva production, warding off tooth decay, another cause of discoloration. 


Watermelon has even more malic acid than strawberries, and many dentists agree that the fibrous texture of watermelon “brushes” your teeth and cleans up stains and buildup. 


Your teeth are equipped with a pellicle, a layer of salivary proteins that protect them — but it also absorbs the pigment in your food and can lead to staining. The pellicle layer is also sticky and can attract bacteria buildup. 

When you eat pineapple, a proteolytic enzyme called bromelain breaks down the proteins in your pellicle layer and prevents stains and bacteria from accumulating. 


Like pineapple, papaya contains an enzyme called papain, which also helps break down the pellicle layer. 


You’ve probably heard this one before. The lactic acid in milk may lighten your teeth and encourage saliva production to wash away bacteria. 

Another protein in milk, casein, can also prevent stains as it calls calcium phosphates to your teeth to repair cavities and stop plaque in its tracks. 


Drinking water may not actively whiten your teeth, but it rinses your mouth of bacteria and other harmful substances that can gradually allow stains to settle in. 

Other ways to naturally whiten your teeth at home

In addition to eating tooth-friendly foods, you can try these natural teeth-whitening remedies:

  • Brush and floss regularly
  • Rinse with a small amount of hydrogen peroxide
  • Limit foods that stain your teeth
  • Drink pigment-rich drinks through a straw
  • Rinse your mouth after eating foods that cause stains

Consider adding ingredients to your regular brushing routine. For instance, baking soda is a natural teeth whitener, and it’s abrasive enough to remove stains. Mustard oil also effectively pulls plaque and bacteria from your teeth and limits stain buildup. 

Of course, there’s no substitute for our professional teeth whitening treatments. Depending on your needs and preferences, we can whiten your teeth in our office or provide customized trays for you to use to whiten your teeth at home. 

Have more questions about keeping your teeth white? We’d love to talk with you. Call our office at 703-499-9779 or use our online booking tool to schedule an appointment today.