Teeth can become discolored due to age, smoking, coffee drinking and other outside influences. However, a key feature of a youthful appearance is a bright white smile. Over-the-counter whiteners can be ineffective and in-office treatments are often expensive and needed to be repeated to maintain the desired effect. Now, research is indicating that there are certain foods that contribute to a brighter, whiter smile. Review the list below and eat your way to a whiter smile!

Baking Soda – OK, this is not a new flash. Baking soda has been used as a home remedy for whitening teeth for generations. So, if you haven’t tried it yet now is the time to start! Use a toothpaste that already contains the mild abrasive or try it straight once a week to polish away surface stains. Grandma was right about this one!

Strawberries – Although this seems counter-intuitive, the tablecloth staining berry is effective at whitening teeth. Just crush a few strawberries, rub them on your teeth and wait five minutes while an enzyme called malic acid whitens your smile. After the five minutes have passed, rinse, brush and floss to reveal the stunning results.

Crunchy Fruits and Vegetables – Apples, celery and carrots increase saliva production which is the mouth’s natural cleaning agent. The texture of these delicious whiteners acts as a natural scrubber. The acidic nature of this produce also kills the bacteria that causes bad breath.

Citrus and Pineapples – These tart fruits increase salvia production, washing the mouth of bacteria, debris and other discoloring agents. Avoid placing lemons directly on the surface of teeth as too much acid can damage enamel.

Dairy – Milk, cheese and yogurt contain lactic acid which may protect against tooth decay. Research has shown that children who eat yogurt four times a week develop less cavities than those who eat none. The most benefit is seen from hard cheese which, in addition to containing lactic acid also works to remove food particles.

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