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In a society with a penchant for sugary foods and poor oral hygiene habits, it is important to understand all of the ways you can protect your smile. While nothing can replace the benefits of brushing and flossing properly, these seven foods have a reputation for enhancing the beauty and health of your smile. Continue reading to learn more about these foods and what they can do for your oral health.

Water

It is probably no surprise that water, the liquid most vital to health and survival, benefits teeth. Water stimulates mouth-cleaning saliva and keeps your gums hydrated. It also helps wash away food particles that decompose and cause bacteria to grow. Rinsing your mouth with water is the best defense if you can’t brush after every meal.

Milk & Dairy

Milk and other dairy products, such as cheese and yogurt, have low pH levels. The higher the pH, or acidity, the more damage occurs to the enamel of your teeth. The calcium found in dairy products can also strengthen and even rebuild your teeth, as it is a large component of your tooth’s structure. These foods are also less likely to cause stains.

Onions

Onions act as great antibacterial agents. Cavities are formed when food particles and sugars dissolve into decay-causing bacteria. Onions help prevent and combat these bacteria inside your mouth. However, onions are most powerful when eaten raw and this can be unpleasant for some. Try eating onions on salads or in sandwiches to prevent bad breath while still getting the benefits.

Celery

Raw celery, along with other crisp vegetables, is another food that helps produce saliva. This occurs because of the extra chewing it takes to grind down celery and swallow it. In fact, celery acts as a natural toothbrush, helping massage gums and remove stains.

Strawberries

While the bright red of strawberries may throw you off, some research actually suggests strawberries contain an enzyme that can whiten your tooth enamel. They also contain high levels of Vitamin C, which can help keep the cells in your gums healthy and strong. Other fruits that are good for teeth are apples and kiwis.

Virgin Coconut Oil

Virgin coconut oil has become an extremely popular commodity in the health food industry. One of the many uses of coconut oil is oil pulling. By swishing coconut oil in your mouth, toxins and bacteria are pulled out while nutrients seep in. Coconut oil also has antibacterial properties.

Whole Grains

Whole grains found in cereals, brown rice, pastas, and bread contain healthy levels of fiber that can help prevent gum disease. With gum disease, the gums become inflamed, tender, and red. Whole grains reduce inflammation and contain vitamin C, B, and iron. Most foods, such as bread and pasta, have whole grain options available. These options generally contain less sugar as well.

Nothing can help you feel more confident than a healthy, beautiful smile. The next time you go grocery shopping, consider putting these seven foods in your cart for long-lasting oral benefits.