So, you’ve heard before that activated charcoal whitens teeth naturally, but at the time your “to do” list was full of more pressing things, like finding coffee and everyone else’s shoes . . . 367 days in a row.
I get it, and I also know that those coffee stains catch up with us after awhile. That’s why today I’m going to share with you the easiest way to whiten your teeth with activated charcoal, even when your schedule is super busy.
How does activated charcoal whiten teeth naturally?
Activated charcoal is like a Swiss Army knife for natural living – it’s used in hospital emergency rooms to treat poisoning, helps with itchy bug bites, and is even used in water filters to remove bacteria, heavy metals, and other stuff.
It can do all these things because it’s highly adsorptive – that’s not a typo, although very similar it’s not the same as absorption. Basically, instead of soaking things up (absorption), it binds certain compounds to it’s surface like a magnet (adsorption.)
Activated charcoal’s tooth whitening superpower comes from it’s ability to naturally lock onto organic compounds like tannins, which are the dark polyphenols in coffee, tea and wine that stain our teeth. I’ll admit, as someone who used to pop in whitening trays several times a week I was skeptical, but give it a chance and you’ll be amazed. When applied orally, activated charcoal draws those surface stains out and binds with them, then carries them away when we rinse.
Fortunately, it’s not particularly interested in calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, inorganic phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc and other mineral you probably want to hang onto (including your enamel), so no worries there.
How long do you leave activated charcoal on teeth?
In other words, how long is this going to take? The answer is about 3-5 minutes – I’ll explain more in the how-to section below. Now here’s the secret to making this work in real life: Whiten your teeth while doing something else, such as…
- Taking a shower (This is super convenient because you can actually do the entire process while you wash your hair, etc.)
- Watching t.v. (Not a whole show, though. You won’t need that long!)
- Washing dishes (While listening to the Wellness Mama Podcast if you’re a multitasker)
That way you never have to find the time to do one more thing, you can just work in a little self care as you go about your life.
**Bonus Tip: If your nose or chin areas are prone to clogged pores, moisten your face, take a bit of the powder from your activated charcoal capsule, and rub it on those areas. Rinse your face when you rinse your mouth and voila! Two birds with one stone. 🙂
**Bonus Bonus Tip: You can also whiten your teeth with turmeric. Yes, you will look like you stuffed your face with Cheetos, but it really works and I’ve found rotating activated charcoal and turmeric seems to create the best results.
Does activated charcoal have any other benefits for oral health?
No studies have been done that I know of, but this study found that ingested activated charcoal bound more strongly to e. coli than the normal (beneficial) bacteria found in the digestive tract. I personally wonder if it might do something similar for the mouth – drawing away unwanted bacteria while basically ignoring the good bacteria.
(Didn’t know there was a kind of bacteria you WANTED in your mouth? Here’s why I started using a probiotic specifically for oral health.)
What kind of activated charcoal should I use?
I like this kind because it’s made from coconut shells, which is more porous (meaning it adsorbs better) than hardwood derived activated charcoal, and it’s considered environmentally friendly.
How To Whiten Teeth Naturally With Activated Charcoal
Step 1: Brush your teeth. Activated charcoal will bind with any plaque that is on the surface of your teeth instead of the stains you want it to draw out. I usually brush with plain baking soda right before a whitening session.
Step 2: Open a capsule of activated charcoal (about 1/8 teaspoon) and pour it into your mouth. Using your toothbrush, gently spread it all over your teeth. 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 stains like a magnet. Let it sit for 3-5 minutes. Longer is fine, but it becomes challenging not to swallow. It’s totally okay if you do, though. Just keep in mind that activated charcoal can absorb vitamins and medications, so don’t ingest it within a couple of hours of taking those.
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!
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