Jennifer Freitas
COLUMNIST

I hate to burst your bubble, but the crazy amount of money we spend on teeth whitening (stats I came across are pegged at a staggering $1.4 billion!) can really be better spent – like on improving recycling initiatives!

Most over the counter whitening strips are made of polyethylene, a flexible plastic that molds to the tops surfaces, edges and crevices
of the teeth. Plastic, plastic everywhere! Living more naturally often means we benefit the environment – we can reduce our dependence on plastic and even save money by simply adopting natural methods of achieving pearly whites.

Apples: An apple a day will also help keep the dentist at bay! Chewing on apples scrubs your teeth and scrubbing is a great way to remove stains. Apples also have a high concentration of malic acid, which is found in some toothpaste and increases saliva, which naturally cleans your teeth.

Pineapple: Did you know that pineapple is the only food that naturally contains bromelain – a compound with anti-inflammatory and cleansing properties? Eat some of this fruit and you will be stain fighting.

Strawberries: Like apples, strawberries also contain malic acid, and they have the added benefit of ellagitannins, antioxidants that can help reduce stain-attracting bacteria and inflammation in your mouth. Also, some research has shown that the high concentration of Vitamin C can help prevent gum inflammation and periodontal disease.

Water: Drinking water throughout the day promotes saliva production, which in turn helps keep your pearly whites, well – white! It also helps by rinsing your mouth after a meal and loosening any debris and plaque.

Coconut oil: This method is known as oil pulling and finds its origins in Ayurveda – an ancient healing system that has been around for thousands of years. Coconut oil contains lauric acid and it has been proven to be antimicrobial so it can help kill the bacteria, viruses and fungi in your mouth that lead to plaque, gingivitis and bad breath. So grab a tablespoon of this miracle butter and swish it in your mouth for 10 to 20 minutes daily.

Baking Soda: Similar to coconut oil, this gem seems to have a thousand uses! Baking soda is a mild abrasive, and that’s why it’s so effective for removing surface stains from your teeth! Just a little will do and like any whitening product, it is something you should incorporate only once in a while, not daily. Try using it twice a week.

Having a healthy smile is important – it contributes to how good we feel about ourselves, so put your best face forward. Holiday season is just around the corner, so go on and get prepared for the camera. Teeth whitening does not need to be expensive or toxic, it can be done using the very natural things found in your home.

Jennifer Freitas is the founder and president of The Truth Beauty Company.