I remember talking with a friend who had just had his teeth whitened at the dentist.
We were chatting while I was on shift as a pool lifeguard and he mentioned how he was in a lot of pain after having the whitening chemicals used on his teeth.
His teeth had become very sensitive, and he wasn’t able to eat anything too hard or crunchy for about 24 hours after whitening because his teeth hurt too much.
This put me off ever having my own teeth whitened at the dentist.
Naturally Whiten Teeth with Activated Charcoal
Rather than using chemicals to whiten my teeth, I’ve found great success using activated charcoal!
While it may stain tile grout, it actually has the opposite effect on teeth, lifting stains that cause teeth to go yellow overtime (so you can rest assured knowing your teeth won’t be stained black).
There have been concerns raised about the abrasiveness of charcoal on teeth enamel, and this is quite valid.
So, if this is a concern for you, rather than brushing with charcoal, instead dab some of the powder on the surface of your teeth with a finger and let it sit on there for 2-5 minutes before swishing with water and rinsing.
This allows charcoal to still come into contact with surface stains long enough to remove them, but without the need for brushing or scrubbing, which can be abrasive.
How Does Activated Charcoal Work in Whitening Teeth?
The charcoal works by on teeth by binding to stains, bacteria (like those present in tooth decay and gingivitis), toxins, chemicals and other impurities and removing them from the mouth. The body doesn’t absorb charcoal, so it passes straight out the GI tract, collecting up chemicals and toxins as it goes. It has a highly porous surface, which is what makes it extremely absorbent.
Activated charcoal has actually been used by emergency services as a first treatment for certain types of poisoning because of it’s effectiveness at removing toxins from the body (even after they’ve entered the bloodstream!), particularly when taken within 30 minutes of ingestion.
Note: It should not be taken within several hours of medications, supplements, or meals that do need to be absorbed (as it can bind to vitamins and minerals in the digestive tract and draw them out too, preventing absorption).
It’s also not recommended to consume activated charcoal on a regular basis as it may cause constipation and block mineral absorption. It can also cause dehydration if taken in large doses, so ensure you drink plenty of water after taking activated charcoal.
Always consult with your own doctor and dentist first before using this or any other substance orally or internally.
How to Whiten Teeth with Charcoal
The process only takes about 5 minutes:
- Dip a clean, damp toothbrush into some activated charcoal powder, then quickly place the charcoal-covered toothbrush into your mouth (being careful not to spill powder everywhere) and brush very gently in small circles all over your teeth. Let it sit for around 2-5 minutes.
- Alternatively, as a less abrasive technique, dab some of the charcoal onto the surface of teeth with a finger, and let it sit on there for 2-5 minutes before swishing with water and rinsing.
- Spit out the charcoal and rinse your mouth well until all the charcoal has gone (be careful not to get it everywhere).
- Wipe out the sink with a microfibre cloth when finished using warm water. Make sure to do this before it dries, as it becomes more challenging to clean then.
Where to Find Activated Charcoal
I get my activated charcoal from the local health food store, or from Biome (they pack it in plastic-free packaging there). But it’s also available online. Choose activated charcoal made from coconut or wood sources and not the petroleum-based ones.
Note: There is a difference between food/supplement grade activated charcoal and other forms of charcoal. Please do not use any other form of charcoal (e.g. leftover charcoal from a BBQ grill) besides activated charcoal internally or externally.
As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor before trying or using any new products. I am not a doctor. All opinions expressed are my own personal thoughts and feelings of the products mentioned. Check with your doctor or health practitioner if you are uncertain about trying out any of the products, recipes or tips mentioned in this post.
Have you used activated charcoal before? What for? Share below.
Lots of love,
Wells, Katie. (December 8, 2018). How to Whiten Teeth With Activated Charcoal. Wellness Mama. Retrieved from https://wellnessmama.com/3662/whiten-teeth-naturally/
Whelan, Corey. (December 4, 2018). Does Activated Charcoal Teeth Whitening Work?. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/activated-charcoal-teeth-whitening
What to Know About Activated Charcoal Whitening. WebMD. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/what-to-know-about-activated-charcoal-whitening
Whitening your teeth with activated charcoal. (September 23, 2016). 123 Dentist. Retrieved from https://www.123dentist.com/whitening-teeth-activated-charcoal/
Charcoal Toothpaste: Is It a Safe Way to Whiten Your Teeth?. Milner Dentistry. Retrieved from https://www.milnerdentistry.com/patient-information/blog/more-blogs/charcoal-toothpaste/