I remember talking with a friend who had had his teeth whitened at the dentist, and he shared with me how he was in a lot of pain from having the whitening chemicals used on his teeth. He said his teeth felt VERY sensitive, and he couldn’t eat anything too hard or crunchy for a good 24 hours afterwards because his teeth hurt too much.
When I heard this I thought that couldn’t be good for anyone to have these chemicals placed on their teeth, where they can be easily absorbed by the body. I then pondered on the idea that there must be a better way to whiten teeth that didn’t involve using harsh chemicals and toxins.
And that’s when activated charcoal came to mind. I remembered how it could be used as a natural teeth whitener and may actually improve the overall health of your mouth rather than damage it.
Now you may be sitting there thinking, “Charcoal to whiten teeth? That’s absurd! It’s black for starters, the complete opposite of white.”
I can totally understand those of you who are skeptical about using activated charcoal to whiten teeth. It does look a little scary when your brushing your teeth with it. Some of you who have used it firsthand may have experienced a gigantic spill with it and know it can be very difficult to clean up (it permanently stains tile grout) which doesn’t bode well when you’re contemplating using it for your teeth, as no-one wants to have their teeth stained black!
Rest assured though that activated charcoal will not stain your teeth black, but will in fact give them a beautiful whitening treatment.
How Charcoal Works
Activated charcoal is a highly absorbent substance that is able to remove toxins when they bind to the surface of the charcoal. The body doesn’t absorb it, so it passes straight through the GI tract, collecting up chemicals and toxins along the way, where it is then expelled out at the other end.
Activated charcoal is very effective at binding to toxins from ingested medicines, household chemicals, and other chemicals from the body, particularly when taken within 30 minutes of ingestion. This is one of the reasons why it is such a good first treatment for any type of poisoning, just keep in mind that it should NOT be taken within several hours of medications (or vitamins) that do need to be absorbed.
Charcoal is not something I would take on a regular basis as it can cause constipation and block mineral absorption if taken often and when it is not needed. It can also cause dehydration in large doses so ensure you drink plenty of water when consuming activated charcoal.
How Does Activated Charcoal Whiten Teeth?
Even though activated charcoal does make the mouth look VERY black temporarily while your brushing, it still has the same effect as it does when ingested; which is it removes toxins stains from the mouth.
All of the black washes away and it leaves your teeth feeling wonderfully clean and smooth! After a few uses of it, my teeth were noticeably whiter!
Other benefits to using activated charcoal for cleaning your mouth is that it can help change the pH and health of the mouth, which may help to prevent cavities and kill bad bacteria which are found in gingivitis and tooth decay.
Just remember, it is important that you consult with your own doctor and dentist first before using this or any other substance orally or internally.
How to Whiten Teeth with Charcoal
It’s quite an easy process which only takes about 5 minutes. Once you have it down pat, it will become a regular part of your routine!
- A good tip for cleaning up afterwards is to use a microfibre cloth as the charcoal tends to go all over the sink when you rinse out your mouth. So it’s a handy tool to have for cleaning afterwards.
- Dip a clean, damp toothbrush into the charcoal powder.
- Quickly place the charcoal-covered toothbrush into your mouth, being careful not to spill it all over the sink.
- Brush very gently (as charcoal can be mildly abrasive) in small circles all over your teeth, then let it sit for around 2 minutes.
- Spit it out and rinse your mouth well until all the charcoal has gone (again, be very careful of not getting it everywhere on your bathroom sink. A lesson I learned the hard way).
- Wipe out the sink with the microfibre cloth using warm water before it dries as this is the easiest way to clean it up.
Use this as often as you need. Alternatively, you can mix charcoal with water and swish it around in your mouth for 2 minutes or so.
Where to Find Activated Charcoal
I usually get mine from the local health food store near where I live, as most natural health stores tend to carry activated charcoal in capsule or powder form. But it is also available online. I keep the powder in my pantry cupboard in case I need it for poisoning and then store some of the powder in a small glass jar in my bathroom to use for brushing my teeth. Choose activated charcoal made from coconut or wood sources and not the petroleum-based ones.
Also, be aware that there is a difference between food/supplement grade activated charcoal and other forms of charcoal. Please do not use any other form of charcoal besides activated charcoal internally or in your mouth. Do not use any other type of charcoal.
Is Charcoal Too Abrasive To Use On Teeth?
This is one concern many dental professionals have expressed about whitening teeth with charcoal and it is indeed a valid concern. I was unable to find any research that assessed how abrasive charcoal was to the surface of teeth. A suggestion by Wellness Mama is to use the charcoal without brushing or scrubbing, simply dab it onto your teeth.
She suggested that anyone worrying about charcoal’s abrasiveness or anyone with sensitive teeth could switch to dabbing charcoal onto the surface of their teeth with a finger or cotton swab and let it sit on the surface of their teeth for 2 minutes or so before swishing with water and rinsing. It would accomplish the same thing.
This allows the charcoal time to come into contact with the surface of the tooth and remove surface stains without the brushing or scrubbing action that could potentially be too abrasive.
Using activated charcoal to help keep my teeth healthy and white has been such a huge success for me, and I will continue to use it as a great natural method for teeth whitening.
If you’ve found other natural ways to help keep your pearly whites white, let me know! I love learning about other natural methods that work for others.
As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.
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Would you try activated charcoal for whitening your teeth? Have you used it in the past? What was your experience?
Wells, Katie. (December 8, 2018). How to Whiten Teeth With Activated Charcoal. Wellness Mama. Retrieved from https://wellnessmama.com/3662/whiten-teeth-naturally/