Natural Teeth Whiteners

Young woman holding a strawberry between her teeth by its stem. Source:

Question: Can you suggest any home remedies to brighten my smile?
–Betsy Wilson, Omaha, Nebraska

Look no further than your kitchen. Several compounds found in foods have been shown to clean and whiten teeth. For a youthful appearance, International Academy for Dental-Facial Esthetics expert Marc Liechtung offers several natural whiteners:

Strawberries: Malic acid in strawberries is good for weekly whitening. Mash 2 or 3 berries with a pinch of baking soda. Brush for several minutes, then rinse well.

More fruits and veggies: Apples, pears, cauliflower, and cucumbers boost saliva production, helping to wash away stains.

Seeds: Poppy and sesame seeds act like natural toothbrushes.

Hard cheese: Academy of General Dentistry says enzymes and calcium in hard cheese fortify teeth and gums.

Steak: According to the American Dental Association, phosphorus in steak strengthens tooth enamel.

Tea: Delivers antioxidant polyphenols and fluoride, which protect against tooth erosion.

Sugarless gum: Artificial sweetener xylitol has been shown to stop tooth decay.