If oil pulling, AKA swashing coconut oil around in your mouth in pursuit of a whiter smile, just isn't your cup of tea, fear not—you may be on your way to a megawatt Hollywood grin without even realizing it.
While there are aspects of your lifestyle that are not so good for your tooth enamel ( 😒 coffee and cheap merlot), there are others that secretly serve as guardians of your toothy grin. Here, Dr. Jeffrey Rappaport, founder of LAVAAN Dental Spa, breaks down seven of the most common things that are like toothbrushes incognito.
Fiber-rich Granny Smiths aren't just nutritional, but aid in cleansing and brightening your teeth by helping to remove plaque, says Dr. Rappaport.
They're not called nature's toothbrush for nothing. "Crunchy food and vegetables such as apples and carrots rub away stubborn stains," he explains.
While many fruits are very acidic and thus can wear on tooth enamel, pears are high in water content and help stimulate saliva production. "The flesh of the pear helps neutralize the acid in your mouth that causes decay," Dr. Rappaport says.
Strawberries, particularly when ripe, have a high concentration of malic acid, which can be used as a natural exfoliant to clean the surface of the teeth. Plus, they contain Vitamin C, which is necessary for keeping your gums healthy.
"Gums keep your teeth firmly in place, so it's important to take care of them," Dr. Rappaport explains. Cucumbers are a good source of fiber for gums and teeth, and their crunchy consistency helps remove sugar and chemical debris from the teeth.
While previously thought a no-no for healthy teeth, it can actually serve as a moisturizer...for your mouth. "It stimulates salivary flow by increasing moisture in your mouth, which can help rinse away offensive stains," he explains. As for picking the right kind, make sure it's sugarless and has Xylitol, which is known to reduce tooth decay.
It's no secret that sodas, even diet ones, can make your smile dingy. On the other end of the spectrum, carbonated water like Seltzer (even though it's slightly acidic) and other clear liquids help preserve your pearly whites. Sorry, red winos.
Perhaps the greatest news ever. You should totally be reaching for the last cube of cheese after dinner as it contains casein, a protein in milk that has been shown to reduce the loss of tooth enamel. You're welcome.
As Dr. Rappaport notes, bananas contain minerals and vitamins, such as potassium, manganese, and magnesium, that help whiten teeth. You can take the inside of a banana peel and gently massage your teeth in a circular motion for a surface-level cleanse. You might *look* crazy, but hey, free teeth-whitening.