5 Weird Foods That Will Whiten Your Teeth (PHOTOS)

teethWe all know the foods and drinks that will stain our teeth (coffee, anyone?), but did you know that there are actually foods that can help naturally whiten your teeth? As in you can be making yourself more beautiful by ... eating. Sounds good to me! And don't worry, they're not all healthy foods. According to Marc Liechtung, DMD, principal at Manhattan Dental Arts, "Turns out not everything you actually want to eat is bad for you, particularly when it comes to building brighter, whiter teeth."

Dr. Liechtung says that there are five foods typically reserved for "cheat" days that are doctor-approved for a strong, sparkling smile. (Yay for eating bad food without the guilt!)

Here are 5 weird (yummy!) foods that actually whiten your teeth.

Image via Rupert Taylor-Price/Flickr

  • Steak


    I know! Amazing, right? According to the American Dental Association, the phosphorus in steak protects both bone and tooth enamel. And a 2013 German study suggests that the more you chew, the stronger and cleaner your teeth may be. Sounds good to me.

  • Chocolate


    Dark chocolate, more specifically. Kind of surprising, right? Apparently, the antioxidants found in cacao prevent bacteria from sticking to teeth while neutralizing the microorganisms that cause bad breath. Also, dark chocolate contains theobromine, which can harden tooth enamel. Go for treats with at least 70 percent cacao to boost your antioxidants while not going into sugar coma.

  • Cheese


    According to a 2013 study of 68 people who didn't brush their teeth for 48 hours (umm ...), eating cheese raised the pH in their mouths to nearly perfect, freshly-brushed levels. Cheese is rich in protein, calcium, and phosphorus, all of which can help safeguard the acids in your mouth. The cheese of choice? Cheddar.

  • Sugar-Free Gum



    Turns out, xylitol, a sweetener in sugar-free gum, is good for your teeth. All types of gum stimulate saliva production, which washes away bacteria and helps coat teeth in bone-strengthening calcium and phosphate, but brands with xylitol help fight the bacteria that causes tooth decay. Gums with xylitol? Trident, PÜR Gum, and Supersmile Professional Whitening Gum.

  • Tea



    Crazy, right? All this time we thought tea was bad for our teeth. One study found that tea battles bacteria, acid, and even glucosyltransferase -- an enzyme that enables dental plaque to stick to teeth -- thanks to high levels of polyphenols. Tea also absorbs fluoride, an acid-fighting mineral that protects against tooth erosion, during the steeping process.

beauty teeth slideshow