It seems like every day we get more bad news that yet another one of our favorite foods has been deemed harmful for our teeth. First, it was coffee and tea, and now even some fruits have made the no-go list. But there is still hope! The good news is there are some foods that can actually provide natural teeth whitening. These foods are good for your teeth and can counteract some of the ugly stains that those other foods can cause.


We already loved strawberries, but these fruits just got a whole lot sweeter! Strawberries contain malic acids, which can dissolve surface stains on the teeth. Having a healthy balance of malic acids in your diet is an important part of maintaining dental health. Strawberries also contain antioxidants called ellagitannins that can get rid of some of the bacteria that attract stains. Just be sure to use a fluoride-based mouth rinse and floss after eating these little gems to get the seeds out from between your teeth and to remove any excess acids.


Pineapples are the only food that naturally contains bromelain, which is an enzyme with anti-inflammatory properties that can also break down stains on the teeth. This is because the enzyme breaks up some of the proteins on your teeth that cause stains and discoloration, then your saliva washes the stains away. Bromelain is such an effective natural teeth whitener that it is even found in some stain-removing toothpaste.


Onions contain sulfur compounds that can prevent the formation of plaque on your teeth. However, only raw onions offer this plaque-fighting benefit, so consider swapping out your sautéed onions for raw every now and then to reap the benefits of this natural teeth whitener. We’ve all heard that an apple a day can keep the doctor away, but an onion a day can keep the stains away!


Speaking of apples, they are yet another fruit that can be used for natural teeth whitening. The crunch of biting into an apple followed by the extra chewing that you have to do both help scrub the plaque from your teeth. Apples contain the same malic acids as strawberries, which help remove teeth stains to give you a whiter smile. In addition to teeth whitening, apples also provide the dental benefit of strengthening your gums due to their crunchiness. Biting into an apple is basically aerobics for your teeth.

Broccoli and Cauliflower

The coarse texture of crisp, raw broccoli and cauliflower allows these vegetables to act as natural toothbrushes to help whiten your teeth. They scrub your teeth as you chew, and this action removes surface stains from your teeth and polishes them—just like a toothbrush! It also takes a while to chew these vegetables, which means your mouth is producing extra saliva. Saliva helps break down stains, so the more saliva you produce to chew foods, the better. Broccoli also contains a lot of iron, which helps protect teeth from acid-producing bacteria. This guards the teeth from cavities and ugly stains.


Raw celery is known for its crunchy and fibrous textures. These make it another great vegetable for naturally whitening teeth because it actually scrubs surface stains from your teeth as you chew. The fibers even scrub in between the teeth, making celery nature’s dental floss! Celery is also extremely high in water content, which helps keep your teeth clean by loosening and washing away food debris and plaque. Finally, chewing celery massages and strengthens your gums, leading to an overall healthier smile. If you want to give your mouth a workout and polish, grab a stalk of celery and start munching!

Cheese and Yogurt

These dairy products contain lactic acid, which is a natural teeth whitener similar to the malic acids found in strawberries and apples. Lactic acid dissolves teeth stains and protects against tooth decay. Cheese, yogurt, and milk all provide the teeth with calcium and phosphorus, which are essential for a healthy, white smile. These dairy products also contain casein, which prevents tooth decay by reducing the loss of minerals from your teeth. Hard cheeses provide even more natural teeth whitening because eating them stimulates saliva production, which helps to break down stains and neutralize bacteria. Since you can thank cheese for a whiter smile, it makes sense that we say “cheese” when smiling for the camera!


No matter what you are trying to accomplish, it seems that water is the panacea. When you are consuming foods or beverages that can stain your teeth, namely those with dark colorations, you should sip water both during and after to prevent teeth stains. Water also rinses food debris and plaque from your teeth, keeping your smile white. Make sure you drink still water instead of sparkling water, however, because the bubbles can be harmful to your teeth and erode enamel.

General Dentistry and Teeth Whitening in East Tennessee

All these foods are good for your teeth and can help brighten your smile. They are so easy to incorporate into your daily diet, too. Swap out your after-dinner dessert for a cup of yogurt with strawberries. Top your Tuesday tacos with some raw onions. And, if you’re brave, consider crossing party lines and add some pineapple to your pizza. Regularly consuming these foods can remove unsightly teeth stains to achieve a whiter smile. Have your teeth already been stained beyond what these natural teeth whitening foods can fix? Don’t despair! The experienced dentists at University General Dentists can help you achieve the beautiful, white smile of your dreams. We offer professional teeth whitening services to safely whiten your teeth, either in-office or with customized bleaching trays for use at home. Schedule your appointment today at one of our two convenient locations to get started! Call our UT Medical Center Office at 865-305-9440 or our West Knoxville Office at 865-500-5700.