Your smile is one of the first things that people notice and remember about you. According to a recent study by Match.com, about 58 percent of single men are more attracted to women with pearly whites. Delta Dental backed this up with a survey that found that 48 percent of people feel that a person’s smile is their best feature.
For the past few months, I’ve been on a quest to get a brighter smile. I’ve tried a lot of different methods to make my teeth look whiter; from pricey whitening strips and homemade baking soda paste to completely eliminating coffee and red wines from my diet, I’ve done them all.
However, having really sensitive teeth has made this process much harder than I expected. It doesn’t help that most of the options currently available aren’t permanent (including those hi-tech bleaching treatments), which makes getting those pearly whites—and making sure they last a while—pretty expensive.
Although most of us don’t have a huge budget to work with, getting that dreamy smile is still possible. In fact, something as simple as changing your diet can actually improve your dental hygiene.
There are certain foods that have been scientifically proven to have a major impact on how healthy your teeth are. Eating any of these vegetables, fruits or dairy products will go a long way towards brightening your smile regardless of your budget.
Get your crunch on with these veggies:
There are so many benefits to snacking on celery! Think of it as a natural toothbrush. Not only are there natural fiber strands that strengthen and clean your teeth, but the vitamin C contained in celery helps to prevent your gums from swelling up. Chewing on celery also promotes dental health because of the amount of saliva it generates, which fights cavities in the long run.
Salad lovers, rejoice! A study by the European Journal of Dentistry found that broccoli, which is a great source of iron, slows down tooth erosion and prevents cavities.
The researchers mentioned that the iron forms “a thin acid-resistant coating of hydrous iron oxide on the enamel mineral surface,” which will make your teeth sparkle.
They don’t just taste good in your green smoothies. Not only are they packed with dietary fibers, which are a must for a healthy diet, but eating carrots is a surefire way to get rid of pesky plaque, prevent tooth decay and encourage gum growth. Here’s a bonus: They are also loaded with beta-carotene, which gives your skin that healthy glow.
Variety: the spice (and herb!) of life:
If you’ve ever woken up your partner with a less-than-pleasant smooch, having basil on hand is a lifesaver. It helps to fight tooth decay and will destroy the bacteria that makes your breath smell. Kiss your morning breath goodbye!
Parsley has the same effect as basil. It is excellent at getting rid of odors and is very cleansing. The best part is that it also works wonders as an herbal tea!
It may not be a full member of the herb or spice family (it belongs to the Lily family), but there’s no question that garlic is a superfood. According to Livestrong, if you ever have a tooth infection, garlic works as a pain reliever. The article mentions that “the active ingredient in garlic is a sulfur-containing amino acid called allicin, which gives garlic its strong smell and antimicrobial properties.”
Fruit for a sweet tooth:
Pineapples are a triple threat: They destroy plaque, strengthen your teeth enamel and function as a natural stain remover thanks to the bromelain enzyme.
Strawberries play a major part in both the health and beauty industry. Because they contain antioxidants and malic acid, strawberries can easily lift stains and correct discoloration. You can make this even more effective by adding baking soda. However, it’s crucial that you don’t use this method frequently so that the acid doesn’t harm your teeth.
An apple a day keeps the dentist away—when eaten in moderation. This juicy fruit is also a great source for malic acid, which increases the amount of saliva your mouth produces. Just make sure to wash down those natural sugars with a glass of water to reduce the chance of plaque buildup.
A cheesy smile:
A recent study by the Academy of General Dentistry revealed that dairy products, particularly cheese, increase your mouth’s pH level and reduce your risk of developing cavities. After splitting participants into three separate groups, researchers assigned each one a specific dairy product, such as cheddar cheese, milk and yogurt.
They noticed that the group that ate the cheddar cheese actually had a drastic/quicker increase in their pH levels. Researchers believe that this is a direct result of chewing, which naturally increases your saliva. It doesn’t hurt that cheese is packed with calcium and phosphorus, which “adhere to tooth enamel and help further protect teeth from acid.”
Adding just one of these smile-friendly foods to your next ‘Netflix and Snack’ session will have you grinning from ear to ear in no time!