Someone somewhere along the way decided that white teeth are a nice thing to have – well, as opposed to very yellow, un-white teeth. I used to subscribe to this paradigm much more fervently than I do today, though I still appreciate when my teeth look a bit whiter and brighter.
Many of us drink coffee, tea, even use tobacco and other things that can slowly discolor our teeth – some more seriously than others. And although having white teeth doesn’t = a healthier person, practicing good oral hygiene does, in fact, = a healthier person. Oral health is linked to your overall bodily health, including heart health. Dr. Donald Ratcliffe, chairman of the Department of Dental Medicine at Staten Island University Hospital says, “The mouth is a portal into the rest of the body,” and growing research shows “there’s a relationship between the bacteria — and the inflammation that bacteria cause in the mouth — [and] a lot of other diseases.” (source). Fascinating…
Anyway, all of this to say that there are ways to whiten your teeth AND promote oral health. But many of the common ways we whiten our teeth are, conversely, detrimental to our health.
Teeth Whitening Can be Toxic
Finding natural alternatives to common products that are just as commonly toxic is something that I find great joy in. I believe in minimizing exposure to chemicals as much as possible – from the food we eat to the products we put on our bodies: everything we consume is an opportunity to either harm or – hopefully – nourish our bodies.
Common teeth whitening solutions are not only toxic, but they can also cause damage to teeth including extreme sensitivity. Some whitening products use chlorine dioxide, which is the same acid used to disinfect swimming pools..ew! Chlorine dioxide can destroy the enamel to teeth as well.
I used to use the infamous brands of white strips back in the day. I loved them back then because they made my teeth whiter and apparently I was really excited about white teeth! But they also made my teeth hurt. My teeth always felt extremely sensitive in the periods – sometimes months – after using white strips. They also caused burning sensations on my gums, which was also less-than-pleasant.
Finding a Natural Way
So, what I’m about to tell you may sound a bit odd. But trust me, it’s no stranger than filling your mouth with toxins.
You ready, though? You still with me? Okay, so, a wonderful way to whiten your teeth naturally is by using activated charcoal.
What is Activated Charcoal?
Simply put, it is charcoal that has been heated or treated with oxygen to open up its million tiny pores between the carbon atoms. This makes it highly absorbent, and thus able to pull out all kinds of things from our bodies.
Activated charcoal is actually used as a poison remedy (source) as it helps prevent the poison from being absorbed by the body.
How Does Activated Charcoal Whiten Teeth?
Because it is highly absorbent, activated charcoal is pull stains, toxins, bacteria, and more from our mouths and teeth. In fact, many And don’t worry, this is a trusted, traditional, natural way to whiten your teeth that has been used for thousands of years (ahem, Hippocrates). Also, just because it’s black and messy doesn’t mean it will make your teeth the same. After you wash it off (and after using it for a while), you will notice whiteness!
How to Use Activated Charcoal for Teeth Whitening
First, here’s what you need:
- 1 old toothbrush you don’t mind reserving just for this purpose
- 1/2 teaspoon (more or less0 of activated charcoal, or 1 capsule of this
- Toothpaste (ideally something natural – remember, we don’t want toxins!)
How to Whiten:
1.) Gently empty capsule or loose activated charcoal onto a surface you don’t mind getting dirty*
2.) Apply toothpaste to toothbrush
3.) Dip toothbrush into activated charcoal, using the toothpaste to help it adhere
4.) Gently brush teeth in a circular motion for a few minutes – about 2-5. If you need to spit or add a bit more water, feel free to do so!
5.) Rinse mouth with water, swish, and brush any remaining charcoal out of your mouth. That’s it!
*Notes: This can get messy!! Try to avoid spilling as much as possible, as cleanup won’t be super-fun. Also, it can stain your clothing, so be aware of that. I recommend wearing something you don’t care too incredibly much about when you are whitening your teeth. Actually, doing this in the shower is probably the best way to go!
How Often to Use Activated Charcoal
This is tricky because there’s no clear answer and different people will suggest different things. I recommend starting by using it a few days in a row, just once daily, and seeing how things go. If you don’t notice much difference (everyone will respond differently), try adding a few more days on, up to 1 week. From there, I would taper off to 1-2 times/week max. You can mix a little in with your toothpaste occasionally to give a little pop of white to your teeth.
That’s it! Give it a try! And I’d love to hear your experience.
If you tried this or have done it before, what did you think?
Do you have any other tips for naturally whitening teeth?