These healthy eats will make your smile look even better. Plus, the worst teeth-staining offenders and how to undo damage.
Looks like the French are on to something with that postmeal fromage course. Cheese contains calcium, which strengthens teeth as well as the jaw. And its waxy texture helps brush away food particles, Dr. Chase says.
This beverage is packed with polyphenol antioxidants that fight plaque-forming free radicals and help prevent gum disease. Brew your tea with plain old tap water, which is fortified with fluoride, and drink it after meals because antioxidants curb bad breath, too.
The most common natural source of vitamin D in the produce section, these fungi help you absorb tooth-strengthening calcium. Also, research suggests that a component in shiitake mushrooms may help prevent cavities by lowering plaque buildup, says Jackie Newgent, R.D., author of Big Green Cookbook.
Like most nuts, pistachios have huge amounts of magnesium, which increases the absorption of calcium; they also have beta-carotene, which may lessen gum inflammation, the main cause of periodontal disease.
Probiotics, aka good bacteria, don’t do only your digestive tract good. According to research, probiotic-rich foods like yogurt offer protection against gum disease by lowering levels of bad bacteria in the mouth. Plus, yogurt is a solid source of calcium, whey protein and phosphorus, the ultimate strong-tooth trio, Newgent says. (Mix in, don’t spill, the liquid lingering on top; it’s the stuff that hits the protein sweet spot.)
You know the obvious offenders—coffee, tomato sauce, wine (even white; it’s very acidic, which weakens enamel and leads to stains). Post-happy hour, rinse and brush or use no-water-necessary Colgate Wisp mini-brush pouch pack, $5 (for 16). And enjoy your Starbucks with milk. The combo creates a chemical reaction that may protect teeth, says Irwin Smigel, D.D.S., a cosmetic dentist in NYC.