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You just met someone new. Quick: What’s the first thing you noticed about them? Uh huh…their smile. Same goes for someone meeting you.

Since whiter teeth make you look healthier and younger, we set out to find ten affordable yet effective ways to stay bright.

white teeth strawberries

Eat strawberries

Not only are these babies in season, they also work wonders on your chompers. They contain malic acid, which dissolves tough stains.

white teeth carrots

Snack on celery

Foods high in cellulose (like celery, apples and carrots) act as natural abrasives, sloughing off stains while you chew.

white teeth red wine

Rinse after red wine

Dark liquids like red wine and coffee can stain your pearly whites--this you know. We’re not suggesting giving 'em up. Just consider rinsing your mouth with water immediately after imbibing.

white teeth straw

Drink through a straw

When sipping sodas and citrus juices, use a straw to keep the acid from eroding your enamel.

white teeth charcoal

Consider charcoal

As counterintuitive as it seems, activated charcoal is kind of a miracle ingredient when it comes to whitening. Sprinkle a bit of activated charcoal powder on your already toothpasted toothbrush and brush like normal.

white teeth goop

Try oil pulling

Now this one’s a little controversial. According to some folks in the wellness community (mostly just Gwyneth Paltrow), oil pulling could be the secret to your whitest smile. Oil supposedly attracts and removes bacteria from your mouth. To give it a try, swish a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth for 15 minutes (you heard us), a few times a week.

white teeth gum

Chew on gum

No, not Bazooka Joe. Gum that contains xylitol (a better-for-you sugar alternative found in, say, Orbit) can prevent plaque buildup and whiten teeth. The natural sweetener balances your mouth’s pH and increases saliva production (flushing any gunk out of your mouth).

white teeth dental floss

Floss (seriously)

You know you’re supposed to floss, but it turns out, flossing doesn’t just help with gum health. It also prevents stains from forming in between teeth, therefore causing an overall darker look.

white teeth electric toothbrush

Go electric

It costs more up front, but the benefits of an electric toothbrush (versus your old low-tech model) are worth it. The electric vibrations remove more stains than the power behind your normal human hands ever could.

white teeth red lipstick

Choose your lipstick wisely

Your shade of lipstick totally matters. If you’re looking for an immediate whitening boost, steer clear of orangey reds. (They pull out your yellow tones.) Instead pick blue-based reds and pinks to highlight your natural whites.

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