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The word is out.
Activated charcoal, also called activated carbon, is the best way to whiten teeth naturally without using conventional tooth whitening trays, gels, and strips that contain toxic chemicals that can damage tooth enamel over time and harm delicate gum tissue. Even professional tooth whitening at the dentist is not a good idea for those concerned with avoiding toxin exposure and preserving their long term oral health.
It may seem odd to use black powder to whiten teeth, but it really does work.
Activated charcoal is so effective because it aggressively absorbs tannins, the compounds found in coffee, tea, tobacco, herbal teas, blueberries, wine, spices, and other foods that stain teeth. It does not, however, lock onto minerals like calcium in our teeth which is why it won’t harm tooth enamel even if used every single day.
Even better, activated charcoal balances the pH of the mouth which discourages the growth of pathogens and the formation of cavities and helps preserve the health of the gum tissue. In Korea, activated charcoal is even added to toothpaste and tooth powder!
How is Activated Charcoal Made?
Processing charcoal with oxygen and either calcium chloride or zinc chloride produces activated charcoal.
It was used medicinally by both Hippocrates and the ancient Egyptians, and it is still the poison remedy of choice in hospital emergency rooms.
I first became acquainted with the power of activated charcoal to remove toxins from the digestive tract many years ago when my German Shepherd ate some poisonous mushrooms in our front yard, and the vet gave her activated charcoal as the remedy to stop her hallucinations.
Some folks like to take capsules of activated charcoal when traveling or after eating out at establishments which serve food with questionable ingredients, but I don’t recommend it for this purpose unless there is actual food poisoning involved because activated charcoal removes nutrients from the digestive tract as well as toxins.
Activated Charcoal Makes a Mess
The one drawback with using activated charcoal to whiten teeth is that the black powder can really make a mess!
Just a little bit of activated charcoal spilled in the bathroom sink or on the floor requires a thorough cleanup lest the very fine black powder be tracked onto carpets or stain socks and slippers. Even if none is spilled, spitting it and rinsing after a few minutes of holding it in your mouth to whiten teeth makes a mess in the sink which requires cleaning afterwards.
And, you must make sure you aren’t wearing any good clothes that will be stained when using activated charcoal as even the most careful application will still get some on your shirt or blouse. In other words, don’t try to whiten your teeth quickly before heading out the door for dinner in your evening attire!
Not exactly the convenience of slap on and go tooth whitening strips!
So how to use activated charcoal regularly without the inconvenience of a mess afterward which can sometimes serve to discourage its use?
The trick is to use activated charcoal while you shower instead of at the bathroom sink
Here’s what to do:
- Before getting into the shower, carefully open one capsule of activated charcoal and empty it into your mouth. Carefully wrap the empty capsule in a bit of tissue and put in the trash. Even better, reclose the empty capsule before wrapping in the tissue. Don’t just toss the empty capsule in the garbage as even a teeny weeny bit of the powder will stain the trash bin.
- Keep a special toothbrush that you use only with activated charcoal in the shower. Grab it as you step into the shower and lightly brush the powder around your teeth so that they are thoroughly covered.
- Run the shower water through the bathtub faucet for a minute and thoroughly rinse the blackened toothbrush. Set it aside.
- Turn on the shower and bath normally. The average shower lasts for 8 minutes, and this is an ideal amount of time to keep the activated charcoal in your mouth as you wash and condition your hair, etc. You can swish around the activated charcoal in your mouth if you want to during this time, but this is not necessary to produce good results.
- When you are finished with your shower, spit out the activated charcoal directly into the tub drain before turning off the water. Then, open your mouth and rinse directly with water pouring out from the shower head. Rinse and spit out the water as many times as necessary to clear the powder completely from your mouth. Use the shower head to quickly clear away any black powder residue that may still be present around the shower stall.
- Next, use your regular toothbrush to brush your teeth as usual … either while still in the shower or at the bathroom sink after you get out of the shower and towel dry.
The result of doing this every day for about a week? Naturally white, but not blindingly white (which looks soooo unnatural), teeth that you can feel confident knowing that you haven’t damaged your oral health in pursuit of an unsustainable and toxic beauty routine.
Now, the only trick is to find a way to remember to put the activated charcoal into your mouth before stepping in the shower!
*Wondering what toothbrush I’m holding in the picture? Our family uses Bass toothbrushes and here’s why they are so much more effective than store toothbrushes for cleaning teeth, removing plaque, and preventing tartar.
TIP: Since this post was originally written, activated charcoal toothpaste has now become available in the United States. I’ve tried it, and it is an awesome option! This is the brand I feel most confident recommending.
Question. Ive read the charcoal can erode enamel over time, bc it does in fact absorb the good minerals in our teeth and is too abrasive. I want to try it but i already have sensitive teeth and cant afford to lose any more enamel making them more sensitive : /
It’s not a problem if you don’t use it everyday. The same is said about baking soda, but I’ve used baking soda/sea salt/h202 for almost 15 years (at the recommendation of my holistic dentist) without any enamel issues. I only use AC once or twice a week to brighten things up.
This is what I’m contemplating…………dissolve the activated charcoal in my mouth while swishing the coconut oil and there’s less mess involved and you get a two-in-one affect, don’t you think? (I’d use a bit less coconut oil than normal but they are both good for removing toxins so why not combine them? Just remember to spit it out in the garbage and not the drain as the coconut oil will clog up your drains mighty fast.
To whiten your teeth, first wet your toothbrush. Then, pour a little bit of activated charcoal onto your brush, and start scrubbing. You’ll want the charcoal paste to remain on your teeth for about 5 minutes; don’t be alarmed, but you’re going to look REALLY scary when you first start brushing. We’re talking black abyss of nothingness in your mouth. But you’ll get used to it, so power through and keep brushing. Once your timer goes off, you’re free to spit, rinse, and give your teeth one more scrub with toothpaste to get any excess charcoal out.
Here’s my trick: I put food-grade-charcoal in one of those plastic refillable “ketchup bottles”. Filling it makes a mess, but it’s “one mess and done for a month” deal. Then – i use it at the kitchen sink. The stainless steel basin is bigger, so it’s safer. Good luck!
I have read before that rinsing your mouth with shower water might not be good because the head can harbor some nasties. I have even seen a recommendation to tie a plastic bag around the head and fill it with vinegar to sanitize it. How much of a concern do you think this is?
I have a filter on my showerhead so haven’t ever been too concerned about that. Even without a filter on the shower, I don’t think it’s a big deal unless a person is immunocompromised in a serious way.
I’ve heard of activated charcoal, and I’ve been a bit hesitant to use it because of the mess. I’ll try it in the shower next time. I didn’t know to keep it in my mouth for about 8 minutes though, so I’ll try doing that too. Thanks for the advice! I know it’s not official dental care, but it sounds like an affordable way to whiten teeth.
I bought the AC capsules at CVS by the gas relief products…just started it….hoping it will work
I’ve heard many people say that activated charcoal helps naturally whiten your teeth. One of the major things that have discouraged me from trying this is their messiness. I’m glad that you’ve listed some helpful tips on how to avoid this. I might try to whiten my teeth later this week.
Alex Jennings |