Looking for more ways to brighten your smile before you snap your next selfie?

Brushing your teeth regularly is an obvious first step. There are also retail remedies like whitening strips and special toothpastes. And most dentists offer a bleaching treatment, but those costs can add up.

We have some teeth-whitening tips in addition to brushing that won’t drain your bank account.

Stained teeth? Change your diet

Reduce your intake of dark drinks and foods that can stain your teeth. Coffee and cola are the biggest bad guys. Others in the stain gang include tea, red wine, grape juice, berries and spaghetti sauces.

The acid in them eat up enamel, which is the outer protective layer of teeth that keeps them white. So drink or eat them in moderation.

Also, if you’re still smoking, stop. It’s turning your teeth a dingy yellow.

Stain-fighting strategies

For those who can’t start the day without their morning job, it can be difficult to reduce your coffee intake. Good news: There are other measures you can take to defend against the foods and drinks darkening your dazzling smile.

For example, drink water in between each sip of that dark drink you can’t give up. It will help wash away the staining substance. Add milk or cream to your coffee to dilute its staining power. And drink through a straw to reduce your teeth’s exposure to the offending liquid.

Or, change up your routine and brush your teeth after your morning coffee.

Foods that whiten teeth

There are also foods that can help prevent staining.

  • Fiber-rich items, like apples, carrots, celery, broccoli and cauliflower increase saliva production, which helps break down stains.
  • Those same foods, when eaten raw, are firm and crisp, which means they help clean your teeth when you eat them. Make them one of the last things you eat so they can do their work.
  • Seeds and nuts can also help. These crunchy guys’ abrasive texture turns them into exfoliants that can buff away discoloration.
  • Cheese whitens teeth because it contains lactic acid, which helps dissolve superficial stains. (So make sure to nibble on some when you’re enjoying your red wine.)
  • Strawberries, despite their bright red color, have plenty of malic acid, which is a tooth-whitening agent.

Up your brushing game

The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth for two minutes, twice a day. But if you want to guard against staining from the food and drink you consume all day long, you should do it more often.

Start by brushing immediately after you eat, especially if you are eating the foods and beverages that are the usual suspects when it comes to staining.

Using a toothpaste that whitens, helps to remove surface stains and yellowing. And flossing is key, too. It helps remove plaque, which can attract stains.

A weekly wash with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide can also help to reduces stains and whiten your teeth. To make it, mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda and two tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide.

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