Healthy Ways to a Whiter Smile

Do you indulge in your one glass of antioxidant-packed red wine a night—and have the tooth stains to prove it? Food and drinks such as wine, coffee, cranberry juice, and mustard can dull even the brightest smiles. But before you reach for the drugstore whitening kit—which often is loaded with toxic ingredients that can weaken tooth enamel over time and make them even more susceptible to stains—look for these natural whiteners:

Look For Why Find It
Xylitol This fermented sugar alcohol has been shown to prevent tooth decay by reducing bacteria in the mouth, which keeps plaque from forming. To reap its whitening benefits, chomp on xylitol chewing gum immediately after drinking red wine or coffee. ZappGum. Packed with more xylitol per piece than most sugar-free gums, and available in five tasty flavors, this gum hardly feels like a stain-preventing chore. $14.99 for 12 12-piece packs;
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) Just rubbing a bit of this pantry staple on your teeth twice a week (mix 1/4 teaspoon with a dash of water, and use it like you would toothpaste) will help remove stains. Wine Wipes. Packaged in a portable case, these wipes come saturated with baking soda, calcium, and glycerin to protect teeth from acid damage on the go. $18 for a three-pack;
Silica This mineral, found in nature as quartz, works as a gentle abrasive to scrub stains off teeth. The Natural Dentist Healthy Teeth and Gums Whitening Plus Toothpaste. This blend combines silica with antibacterial peppermint and sage oils. $7.99, 5 oz;