Save Your Smile, Boost Your Health

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Have an Apple a Day

Yep, it helps keep the dentist away too.

Crunchy foods, including apples, celery, and carrots, act like little toothbrushes when you chew them, and they actually help scrub away stubborn stains over time. The cleansing effect on your teeth may be noticeable -- if ever so slightly -- especially if you're a coffee drinker who wasn't eating apples every day to begin with.

"The mildly acidic nature and astringent quality of apples, combined with their rough, fiber-rich flesh, makes them the ideal food for cleansing and brightening teeth," explains Jeff Golub-Evans, DDS, founding president of the New York Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

If you start eating an apple a day as a between-meal snack and don't get the chance to brush your teeth afterward, be sure to chase it with a glass of water to rinse away the sugar, acid, and any plaque it may have removed from your enamel.

Smooch Your Partner

From the who-knew school of thought: Kissing your mate can also help safeguard your grin. Although you enjoy a kiss for other reasons, it also increases saliva in your mouth, which cleans your teeth of the bacteria that can cause cavities, according to Anne Murray, DDS, a spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry,

Consider this a healthy excuse to pucker up! But don't sweat it if you have no one to kiss. Sugar-free gum with xylitol will also do the trick.

Go for Whole Grains

Whole grains are like dental insurance, suggests research from McMaster University, Canada. Add this to the laundry list of their benefits, which include keeping your heart healthy, preventing diabetes, and more: Whole grains keep teeth healthier longer.

Among 34,000 men studied for 14 years, those who ate at least three daily whole grain servings were 23 percent less likely to suffer tooth-loosening gum inflammation (periodontitis) than those averaging fewer than one. Eating more whole grains helps stabilize blood sugar levels, which has been shown to reduce periodontitis in diabetics.

Swap white rice and regular pasta for brown and whole wheat versions. Check labels to make sure brown rice or whole grains are listed as the first ingredient.

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