Pearly Whites, Naturally
We all have a bedtime routine: take out contacts, wash face, brush, floss, and rinse. Right? But have you ever stopped to think about what’s in the toothpaste and rinse that makes it so blue or bright green? Along with freshening and cleaning, you are also consuming a good amount of fake colors and fragrances that don’t measure too high on the health charts. And if you have a sensitive system, these extras can also inflame gum lines and other delicate areas of your mouth.
Dentist Dean Vafiadis, D.D.S states that chemicals and synthetic compounds enter your system faster through your mouth. So we have to take note because as Vafiadis says, “Most of what you put in your mouth goes into your bloodstream, even if you don’t swallow it.”
Not to fret, we can still have pearly whites; we just have to make better choices.
Brushing Although most holistic doctors and experts shun the use of fluoride in toothpaste, it is the only ingredient we have that has been approved by the FDA and is proven to fight cavities.
Dr. Vafiadis says those of us under the age of 25 should get one source of fluoride for good oral health. It can be found in drinking water, toothpaste or mouthwash.
But if you choose to ditch the fluoride, do look for an alternative that helps fight bacteria which can lead to gum disease such as grapefruit, goldenseal, and other plant extracts.
To keep your smile shining, natural toothpastes use natural abrasives like baking soda, chalk, and bamboo instead of harsh chemical abrasives that can do more damage than good
Kiss My Face Women’s Certified Organic Aloe Vera Toothpaste (fluoride-free), $6, kissmyface.com
Jason PowerSmile Cinnamon Mint Toothpaste (fluoride-free), $5, shopnatural.com
Nature’s Gate Peppermint Whitening Toothpaste (with fluoride), $7, natures-gate.com
Tom’s of Maine Natural Whole Care Toothpaste (with fluoride), $4.50, tomsofmaine.com
Rinsing Most of us know that mouthwash gets in between teeth and dental work better than brushing. If you are going all natural, pick a brand that is alcohol free and flavored with natural ingredients.
“It’s not just that alcohol fails to protect your gums,” says Vafiadis. “It can actually be detrimental.” The alcohol not only dries out your mouth, but also can kill the good bacteria in your mouth that we need. This can lead to bad breath and inflammation or gingivitis. As for the taste, natural rinses use essential oils, which give the products great tastes like cinnamon and peppermint, compared to chemical preservatives that can cause problems from skin irritation to neurotoxicity. Extra bonus: many natural products cost just as much as the leading brands and they work better, so why not switch?
Nature’s Gate Organics Advanced Care Peppermint Mouthwash with Fluoride, $7, natures-gate.com
Natural Dentist Healthy Gums Daily Oral Rinse, $8, thenaturaldentist.com
Tom’s of Maine Natural Cleansing Mouthwash, $5.50, tomsofmaine.com
Whitening When your mother used to want a whiter smile she pulled out the baking soda and brushed away stains. Today’s new whitening systems have many chemicals in them that are harsh such as carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. Now while both of these ingredients are natural, they are very harsh on the body.
Plus a lot of people experience a sensitivity to whitening treatments because the peroxide can penetrate to the nerve centers of your teeth. Even if your teeth are only sensitive for a short while, the best bet for a whiter smile is to use gentle polishers like bamboo, chalk, and yes, baking soda.
Uncle Harry’s Natural Products Tooth Whitener Powder (non-peroxide, with chalk), $6, uncleharrys.com
Eco-Dent ExtraBrite Tooth Whitener (with peroxide), $8, eco-dent.com