10 Foods You Didn’t Realize Were Helping To Whiten Your Teeth

Dr. Christopher Li Etobicoke - Li Family Dental

By Dr. Christopher Li

March 4, 2021

brushing, dental care, flossing, foods that whiten your teeth, teeth whitening

Keeping your teeth white and bright takes work. Regular dental checkups along with proper brushing and flossing is the best way to whiten your teeth. However, teeth will stain over time, thanks to food and drink (and smoking!). You can help keep teeth whiter with these 10 foods that promote a white smile naturally.



While we tend to tell patients to steer free of sticky treats like dried fruit, raisins, especially when eaten with bran cereals, help stimulate saliva. Because saliva neutralizes the acidic environment most foods cause, it is an important factor in helping prevent bacteria, plaque, and tooth decay. Enjoy raisins after meals to get that saliva flowing, which will ultimately help to whiten your teeth.



Apples are nature’s perfect snack. They are easy to carry around, and when you chew them, they act as a natural toothbrush to scrub your teeth. They also contain malic acid which is a common ingredient added to toothpaste. It helps increase saliva, so you get the same benefits as raisins.



Cheese contains calcium and phosphorous needed for strong teeth. However, it also contains protein that protects tooth enamel. The lactic acid in cheese helps prevent tooth decay and it also stimulates saliva, completing its teeth whitening and cleaning benefits.



As with cheese, milk is rich in enamel-whitening lactic acid to produce saliva. It is the perfect meal accompaniment as it helps wash away bacteria. The protein in milk, casein, prevents tooth staining thanks to calcium phosphates which reduce plaque build-up. It is also excellent when poured in tea as it binds to the polyphenols so the tannins that cause stains can’t stick to your teeth. If you aren’t a fan of milk, you can eat yogurt instead which will also help to whiten your teeth.



When eaten raw, broccoli’s fibre provides cleaning and polishing power. It also contains iron which protects teeth from the bacteria that cause enamel erosion.



Like apples, strawberries contain malic acid. However, they have added bleaching properties, quite effective in removing stains to whiten your teeth. The increased saliva production makes strawberries an excellent choice for people taking medication that causes dry mouth. Avoid following online tips which suggest to apply strawberries directly to your teeth to remove stains. While this works, it causes more harm than good as it will erode your enamel.



Watermelon has even more malic acid than strawberries, making it a super producer of saliva. The fibre in watermelon can help scrub stains from your teeth as well.



This tropical treat contains a proteolytic enzyme called papain which dissolves pellicle. Pellicle is yet another layer found on your teeth. It consists of salivary proteins that are supposed to add protection but tend to absorb food pigments. Pellicle also attracts bacteria that stick to the layer, enhancing stains and adding to plaque buildup.



Like papaya, pineapple contains a proteolytic enzyme. Known as bromelain, it is also effective at dissolving pellicle by breaking down proteins.



Water is hands-down the healthiest drink. It promotes dental health and reduces staining by increasing saliva production. Sip it throughout the day to help flush food debris from your mouth.

These tips will help whiten your teeth naturally, to boost your dazzling smile.

Avoid Teeth-Staining Foods That Don’t Whiten Your Teeth


It’s all well and good to eat healthy foods that help whiten your teeth naturally. However, if you continue to enjoy foods and drinks that can stain your teeth, you might just undo all the good your teeth whitening foods offer. To ensure you don’t take away from your whitening efforts, avoid these foods and drinks:


  • Dark berries like blackberries and blueberries
  • Tomato sauces
  • Curries and other foods containing the deep golden spice turmeric


  • Black coffee
  • Red Wine
  • Black tea
  • Cola and other dark sodas like Dr. Pepper
  • Energy drinks
  • Fruit juices

If you want to enjoy your sodas or wine, try sipping your drinks with a straw. You can also add creamers, milk or milk replacements like soy or almond milk to your tea or coffee to reduce the staining.

Discolouration Even After Whitening

This is a very discouraging occurrence. You take every precaution to avoid staining foods, brush your teeth and have regular dental check-ups, and include all the teeth-whitening foods on the list and yet your teeth still aren’t white. In some cases, this is purely a perception issue, where you just aren’t seeing the whiteness you expect to see. In other cases, it might be because your teeth are as white as they can get. Because pure white teeth aren’t really natural, your teeth whitening efforts will remove stains, but still leave behind your natural teeth hue. This can be a variation on yellows, browns, or greys.

As well, what might appear to be stains could be a deeper issue caused by medicines you might take, trauma to your teeth, or in some cases, it could even be due to health conditions. Last but not least there are different categories of tooth discolouration, including Extrinsic Teeth Stains which are the most common. They are caused by pigments in food and drinks. In most cases, this type of staining is removed by dental hygiene upkeep at home and then your regular dental cleanings at our office.


You can also have stains beneath the tooth surface called Intrinsic Teeth Stains. In these cases you usually need a professional-strength bleaching agent applied at our office to remove the stains within your tooth enamel. If you are older, you probably have Age-Related Teeth Stains that combine intrinsic and extrinsic discolouration. Stains are enhanced, as with the thinning of your enamel your dentin becomes more noticeable, so teeth appear more yellow. This is another case where you should discuss what professional whitening treatments are available at our office.

Having a white smile can help improve your confidence and even make you look younger. If you are interested in the different options available to whiten your teeth, give us a call at 416-232-2033 or request an appointment by clicking here.

Dr. Christopher Li

About the author

Doctor Christopher Li, DDS
Dr. Chris, as he is affectionately known, is a licensed dentist with over 20 years experience. His caring personality makes even the most tentative person at ease. Patients are constantly commenting about how Dr. Chris is incredible at delivering pain-free freezing, and how he has an amazing chair-side manner.  Dr. Chris loves sharing information with his patients and everyone who has teeth about how to care for their teeth, avoid tooth decay, and the treatments available to help them overcome their tooth pain or other dental issues so they can enjoy life and food to its fullest!

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