Dentists describe foods that help clean and whiten your teeth them by the very unappetising name of ‘detergent foods’, but they’re lifesavers when you don’t have access to a toothbrush immediately after a meal.
These are the top 10 foods that naturally clean and whiten your teeth when you eat them.
Apples are the closest thing nature has to a combination of toothbrush and toothpaste.
Their crunchy, fibrous content naturally scrubs teeth and cleans food debris while their acidity kills bacteria that can cause bad breath.
But they also contain malic acid, a compound that gives them tartness and is a natural enamel whitener used in some commercial toothpastes to prevent staining of teeth.
Carrots are full of crunchy fibre that cleans your teeth and stimulates the production of saliva to wash your mouth, but they also contain multiple B vitamins, which fight gum disease by preventing irritation and inflammation.
Studies have found an inverse link between blood levels of Vitamin B12 and gum disease.
3. Raw Broccoli
There are two good reasons to be eating raw broccoli: first, the fibre in raw broccoli will definitely clean your teeth while the high amount of iron will give them a protective coating against acid produced by bacteria.
And second, when you eat broccoli raw you also get more sulforaphane, the active ingredient that makes broccoli such a wonder vegetable for overall health.
Plain popcorn is a surprising way to clean your teeth but it works. The puffed part of popcorn acts like an absorbent scrub on your teeth, removing debris and stains. Next time you’re at the movies make sure you eat the popcorn last — after the choc-tops and pizza slices — to ensure clean teeth.Note:(dentists stress that you should watch out for un-popped kernels, to avoid biting into one).
We realise this brings back visions of Tony Abbott chomping on an onion, but hear us out. The sulphur compounds that make onions smell the way they do actually help to clean your teeth and reduce bacteria and plaque.
If you’re game enough, you can bite into a raw onion then rinse your mouth with water for nature’s version of a visit to the dentist. awful but good for you.
Not only is pineapple fibre good for scrubbing your teeth, but the fruit contains an enzyme, bromelain, which helps to remove plaque and works as a natural stain remover. Like malic acid, bromelain is used in some commercial toothpastes.
7. Green, unripe papaya
In India, papaya is considered one of the best home remedies for toothache and gum inflammation. The active ingredient is papain, an enzyme that works like bromelain in pineapple, which cleans teeth and dampens inflammation. It’s best to eat the papaya when it’s not ripe because the papain is more concentrated.
Like apples, strawberries contain malic acid, which stimulates saliva production and helps clean teeth, but they also uniquely come with ellagitannins, antioxidants that can help reduce plaque and inflammation in your mouth.
The vitamin C in strawberries is yet another defence against gum disease.
If you find some of the natural teeth-cleaning options not to your taste, then how about celery? Watery and full of fibrous strands, celery is an inoffensive natural toothbrush that removes food particles and bacteria from your teeth and is a good source of vitamins A and C, two antioxidants that are good for your gums.
10. Raw Ginger
And lastly, if you’re mostly concerned about your breath after a meal, ginger is considered one of the most natural ways to freshen your mouth. That’s because its fibrous content will clean your teeth while antiseptic properties kill germs for fresher breath.