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Hard cheeses can both protect teeth and clean food particles.

Hard cheeses can both protect teeth and clean food particles. — Oriani Origone/Gallery Stock

5. Yogurt, milk and cheese

Dairy products contain lactic acid, which may help protect teeth against decay. A study in the journal Dentistry found kids who ate yogurt four times per week had less tooth decay than kids who didn't eat yogurt. Researchers think proteins in yogurt may bind to teeth and prevent them from attack by harmful acids that cause cavities. Hard cheeses are best for whitening, since they help remove food particles as well.

Jennifer Nelson is a Florida-based writer who also writes for Glamour, MSNBC and WebMD.

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AARP's David Certner discusses Medicare and fiscal cliff on NBC. Increasing the eligibility age could cost you — and others.

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