5 Foods That Help Whiten TeethTeeth staining happens when the outer layer of your teeth, the enamel, becomes discoloured. There are many teeth whitening options available, from whitening toothpaste, strips, or gel. It is always recommended to seek the advice of your dentist before any teeth whitening treatments.
Teeth whitening is predicted to be one of the most popular beauty treatments in 2021, second only to weight loss and keeping fit. However, these treatments can be expensive, and also contain chemicals that can be harsh to your teeth and gums.
There is some evidence, albeit scarce and largely anecdotal, that certain foods can naturally aid in teeth whitening, providing a more natural and chemical-free remedy.
Strawberries contain malic acid, which is said to have bleaching properties and may help lighten stained teeth. Malic acid can also increase saliva production in people with dry mouth. Saliva protects against tooth decay, a common cause of discolouration, by washing away food and debris.
Watermelon also contains malic acid, and in greater quantities than strawberries.
There is a layer of salivary proteins, or pellicle, on your teeth. This layer protects the teeth, but it can also absorb the pigment from food, leading to staining. The pellicle also attracts bacteria, which can cause plaque and discolouration.
However, pineapple can naturally dissolve pellicle as it contains a proteolytic enzyme called bromelain. These enzymes break down the proteins, including those in the pellicle layer.
Papaya, like pineapple, also contains a proteolytic enzyme. The enzyme in papaya is called papain. It also breaks down protein, which degrades your pellicle layer, helping to reduce stains and protect against plaque formation.
How long does it take for foods to whiten teeth?
It’s unknown how long it takes for these foods to lighten teeth. There’s little-to-no research on the expected time frame. However, compared to commercial products, natural remedies typically take longer.
It also depends on the original colour of your teeth. If your teeth are significantly stained, it will likely take longer to see results. The same is true if you eat a lot of foods that stain your teeth.