By Heather Dessinger of Mommypotamus
Do You Ever Wonder . . .
About the people who write product warnings? Consider the things they tell us not to swallow:
Okay, on that last one I have a real question: How am I supposed to not swallow for 20 minutes while stuff fizzes out of a plastic tray into my mouth?
The answer, of course, is that I’m not. Package inserts are often more about reducing liability than educating the consumer. Case in point? Printing “may irritate eyes” on a can of pepper spray, and the “warnings” about gum irritation that come with tooth whiteners. If they really wanted to educate consumers, the label would say:
WARNING: This product is likely to contain coal tar, fluoride, aspartame, aluminum and benzene and has demonstrated acute toxicological effects in rats, including but not limited to labored breathing, bloody urine, infertility and incontinence. (source1, source 2)
Fortunately, there’s an easier, cheaper, and completely natural way to whiten your teeth in less than 3 minutes a day. It’s one of the six tooth care recipes I share in my brand new ebook, DIY Organic Beauty Recipes. And like many truly healthy options, the solution seems almost counter-intuitive. Eat fat to lose fat? Check! Brush your teeth with something that looks like squid ink for a dazzling, pearly white smile? Surprisingly, that works, too.
Activated Charcoal: The Secret To Naturally White Teeth
Activated charcoal – also called activated carbon – is made by processing charcoal with oxygen and either calcium chloride or zinc chloride. It was used medicinally by both Hippocrates and the ancient Egyptians, and it is still the poison remedy of choice in modern day emergency rooms. Why? Because it’s highly adsorptive, which in plain English means it attracts substances to its surface like a magnet. Like absorptive substances which work like a sponge, adsorptive materials bind with certain compounds and prevent our bodies from using them.
Fortunately for us, activated charcoal is a bit particular about what it locks onto. It’s not interested in calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, inorganic phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc and other compounds you probably want to hang onto (including your tooth enamel). It does, however, happen to like tannins – the compounds found in coffee, tea (even herbal tea), blueberries, wine and spices like cinnamon that stain our teeth. As a bonus, activated charcoal also balances the mouth’s pH and is even considered beneficial enough to be used in some tooth re-mineralization formulas.
So, are you ready to give it a try? Good!
No wait, there is something I forgot to tell you. This is really important so I hope you’re scrunched up to your screen nice and close. Ready? Okay! Folks, this stuff WORKS. When you start noticing children in grocery carts and little old ladies hovering in your vicinity, you don’t need to go check your makeup in the mirror. They just want to see you smile again. Okay? As someone who used to pop in whitening trays every day I was skeptical, but give this stuff a week or two and you’ll be amazed. Okay, moving on!
How To Whiten Your Teeth With Activated Charcoal
There is no “right” way to whiten teeth with activated charcoal. Koreans put it in their toothpaste, Crunchy Betty swishes with it, and some people simply brush it on straight. Personally, I prefer the following method:
- Open a capsule of activated charcoal (about 1/8 teaspoon) and pour about half into a cup.
- Wet your toothbrush and dip it in the charcoal, then brush gently. Keep in mind that you are not trying to scrub your enamel, you are simply massaging the surface of your teeth with the activated charcoal so that it can attract tannins like a magnet.
- After brushing, hold it in your mouth for 2-3 minutes to allow it to continue to work.
- Spit and rinse thoroughly, then follow with a second brushing using your regular tooth powder/paste.
- Now look in the mirror and smile. You may see a difference with the first application. If not, give it a few days to a week and I promise you will!
Want More Recipes?
In my new 180 page guide, DIY Organic Beauty Recipes, I’ll show you how to boost the whitening power of activated charcoal with a minty-fresh mouthwash. You’ll also discover how ridiculously easy it is to make your own beauty products: Quick yet luxurious gifts for the holiday season, fabulous shampoos, conditioners, body sprays, lotions, deodorants, baby products and more!
* Activated charcoal does bind with iodine and may bind with other vitamins and minerals the body needs, so it is not usually recommended for internal use except when dealing with acute situations such as chemical or food poisoning. Activated charcoal does not work in situations where the material ingested is caustic, such as lye.
Heather Dessinger, aka The Mommypotamus, is a wife, blogger and mom to two amazing kiddos, both waterborn at home. She loves all things fermenty, talks to sock puppets, and dreams of owning her very own flock of backyard chickens. She is the author of two ebooks. Nourished Baby is a simple guide to introducing real food to little ones, and DIY Organic Beauty Recipes is a collection of 50+ beauty and personal care product recipes that really work.