You are probably aware of certain beverages that stain your teeth, such as tea, coffee, and red wine. But you may not know that just as some foods and drinks cause dental stains, others help clean and whiten them naturally.
And there’s more good news – most of these teeth-whitening foods are Foundation Foods on the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, so they’re excellent for building bones, too.
Today you’ll learn about the bone-smart foods that naturally whiten your teeth, starting with one of my favorite snack foods…
1. Nuts And Seeds
All kinds of nuts can whiten teeth, because their abrasive texture helps scour away stains. They also stimulate teeth-cleaning saliva when you chew them. Some examples of bone-healthy nuts include:
- Walnuts* are an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids and the trace minerals boron, copper, and manganese. Omega-3s actually increase calcium absorption and enhance osteoblast activity, and the three trace minerals are essential for the production of connective tissue and calcium absorption.
- Sunflower seeds* are a delicious source of manganese, copper, Vitamins B1, B6, and folate. They also contain a generous amount of Vitamin E, which has been shown to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
- Sesame seeds* are good sources of calcium, copper, magnesium, zinc, and Vitamin B1. Amazingly enough, one tablespoon of unhulled sesame seeds contains 88mg of calcium.
- Almonds* are powerfully alkalizing, and contain the Foundation Supplements zinc, copper, boron, and silicon, and calcium. One-fourth a cup of raw almonds has 94mg of this important, bone-building mineral.
- Cashews* contain zinc, boron, and copper.
2. Broccoli* And Celery*
Fibrous raw vegetables like broccoli and celery “scrub” the teeth not unlike a scouring pad on a stained pot or pan. Interestingly enough, dark green, leafy vegetables like broccoli contain iron, which forms a sort of protective coating over teeth, shielding them from acid-containing foods that damage the enamel.
Broccoli is rich in calcium and Vitamin K, an often-overlooked vitamin that is essential for building strong bones and reversing bone loss. Celery is one of the most alkalizing foods in existence, and it also contains Vitamin K and is a good source of boron, several B vitamins, manganese, and Vitamin C.
Strawberries are not only delicious; they contain many bone-smart nutrients, such as Vitamin C, manganese, and antioxidants, and they help whiten teeth. These delicious summer berries contain malic acid, which is an astringent substance that helps break down the stains on your teeth.
In fact, you can make a berry-flavored toothpaste with mashed strawberries and baking soda. (This toothpaste should be used only now and then; it’s not meant as a replacement for your regular toothpaste.)
Research shows that strawberries may also be an effective weapon against esophageal cancer, which is great news for those who suffer reflux, GERD, and other upper GI problems that can develop from taking osteoporosis drugs.
Apples have long been called “nature’s toothbrush,” and for good reason. They have a crisp texture and firm skin that scrape away plaque and the bacteria that cause it. Apples’ tangy flavor combines with the texture to stimulate saliva production, and saliva is your mouth’s own natural defense against decay and staining.
Apples are also bone-builders. In addition to their Vitamin C and silicon content, apples contain a polyphenol called phloridzin that has been shown to decrease inflammation and increase bone density.
A delicious source of copper, zinc, Vitamin B5, selenium, riboflavin, and potassium, mushrooms are excellent for bone health. All varieties of edible mushrooms are bone-healthy, but shitake mushrooms have a special affinity for promoting white teeth. That’s because shitakes contain lentinan, a cancer-fighting polysaccharide that also inhibits cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth.
Researchers investigated this topic in depth, using a model that “mimicked a cariogenic situation in vivo.”1 When exposed to shitake mushroom extract and subfractions:
“…shitake showed strong inhibiting effect on dentin demineralization and induced microbial shifts that could be associated with oral health.”1
The researchers went on to note that:
“…shiitake mushroom has strong anticariogenic potential.”1
With their exceptional Vitamin C content (as well as manganese, copper, and vitamins B6, B1, and folate), pineapples offer excellent support for building bones. With their sweet flavor and juicy texture, they taste almost like a naughty treat!
There’s another important nutrient in pineapples that is good for bones and teeth: bromelain. It’s actually a collection of enzymes rather than one nutrient, and they all help to digest and break down proteins. Bromelain can also help remove stains on teeth, as the following study shows.
Scientists analyzed the enamel on 24 human molars with 12 of the teeth acting as controls. They applied a dentifrice containing bromelain, and the researchers observed significantly better stain removal with the bromelain-containing toothpaste in comparison to the bromelain-free toothpaste.2 So go ahead and sink your teeth into a juicy slice of pineapple!
7. Citrus Fruits*
It might surprise you to learn that citrus fruits are alkalizing. Despite their high acid content, citrus fruits alkalize the body, and they contain large amounts of Vitamin C. In fact, the sweet-tart, acidic flavor of citrus induces saliva production, and the acids themselves help whiten teeth.
Citrus fruits help bones in other ways, too. They contain a specific bioflavonoid called hesperidin, which acts as an antioxidant and works synergistically with Vitamin C. This kind of synergy among nutrients occurs in many foods – another reason why whole foods are an effective way to obtain bone-building nutrients.
Raisins make a delicious and convenient snack, and can be added to all sorts of dishes to enhance flavor and give your bones a nutrient boost…and help whiten teeth.
These sweet dried fruits not only offer boron and silicon, but they also contain oleanolic acid, which, according to a University of Illinois study, inhibits the growth of decay-causing bacteria in the mouth.
Specifically, the study found that the oleanolic acid in raisins inhibits Streptococcus mutans and Porphyromonas gingivalis, which cause cavities and gum disease, respectively. This interesting acid also helps whiten teeth by preventing the bacterial adherence that’s crucial for plaque build-up.3 Who would think that sweet, sticky raisins could offer so much for your oral health?
“Onion breath” is the most well-known effect these vegetables have on your mouth; but they are actually very good for your oral health and they build bones.
Onions contain sulfur, which is required for the formation of connective tissue. Sulfur is also antibacterial, preventing plaque formation. In addition, onions have a peptide called GPCS, which has been shown to reduce the breakdown of bone.
Foundation Foods Are Rich In Teeth-Whitening, Bone-Building Nutrients
There is such a rich variety in bone-smart foods! And as this list shows, there is no shortage of options in the foods you can eat for reversing bone loss and promoting oral health.
That’s one of the reasons why creating the Save Our Bones cookbook, Bone Appétit, was such a joy. There are just so many benefits to eating a colorful variety of whole foods – benefits that include bone health and so much more – that I viewed Bone Appétit as a way to share the incredible discoveries I’d made about specific foods that heal your bones and your body.
Eat Your Way to Stronger Bones!
Discover over 200 mouth-watering bone healthy recipes for breakfast, smoothies, appetizers, soups, salads, vegetarian dishes, fish, and plenty of main courses and even desserts!
Bone Appétit makes it easy to prepare bone-smart dishes, since the recipes are not complicated and contain ingredients that you can get at any grocery store. I hope you’ll embrace the delicious, creative side of eating your way to healthy bones…and a youthful smile!
Till next time,
1 Zaura, Egija, et al. “The Effects of Fractions from Shitake Mushroom on Composition and Cariogenicity of Dental Plaque Microcosms in an In Vitro Caries Model.” J Biomed Biotechnol. 2011. (2011). Web. July 13, 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3173737/
2 Kalyana P., et al. “Stain removal efficacy of a novel dentifrice containing papain and Bromelain extracts –in vitro study.” Int J Dent Hygiene. (2011): 229–233. Web. July 13, 2016. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1601-5037.2010.00473.x/abstract
3 Wu, Christine D., et al. “Raisins As A Functional Food For Oral Health.” American Society for Microbiology. Web. July 13, 2016. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050613062724.htm