We’re not sure who discovered it, but teeth whitening with activated charcoal is high on the list of options for DIY teeth whitening. Some folks are interested in activated charcoal as a natural option to other commercial teeth whitening toothpastes that may contain chemicals and/or fluoride. Other folks may be using activated charcoal as an at-home, more affordable alternative to professional teeth whitening treatment.
Jessica, our video blogger, tried using turmeric and coconut oil to whiten her teeth as another, natural, DIY option. Click here to check out that video and see the results, or read on below for a written recap.
What is Activated Charcoal?
Activated charcoal is also known as activated carbon. It’s commonly found in household medicine cabinets as an intestinal decontaminant to help reduce the effects of suspected issues like food poisoning, and is sometimes used in hospitals and emergency rooms. It is actually on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines. Activated charcoal powder is noticeably black, but is odorless and tasteless. It is nontoxic, but you should not breathe it in. You can also commonly find activated charcoal in air and water filters. It’s inexpensive and can easily be purchased online.
How does Activated Charcoal Work?
Activated charcoal is NOT the same thing you see in your fireplace or campfire when you’re done roasting marshmallows. Charcoal is “activated” by steam or chemical methods at an extremely high temperature, in order to remove volatile compounds and to separate the atoms. When the atoms are separated, they leave space to pull in other substances, and bind them to the carbon. This binding helps to prevent toxins and other soluble substances from being absorbed into the GI tract. Then, the charcoal plus whatever it has picked up is, um, eliminated from your system the next time you go.
Teeth Whitening with Activated Charcoal – the Recipe and Process
The recipe for creating activated charcoal toothpaste is very simple – just empty a capsule of activated charcoal onto your toothbrush, add a little water, and brush. When you’re done brushing, rinse your mouth very well. Avoiding the mess from activated charcoal, however, is not quite so simple. The powder is very fine, and you should not breathe it in. Charcoal is easy to wipe off non-porous surfaces, but easily stains plastics and grout.
The Results of Using Activated Charcoal for Teeth Whitening
Jessica, our brave blogger, brushed her teeth with activated charcoal for a week. She reported that the results after a week showed a modest improvement, and whitened her teeth by about 1 shade. Brushing with activated charcoal had the unintended effect of causing her a fair amount of gum irritation, and resulting tooth sensitivity. It’s always important to make sure your teeth and gums are healthy overall. White teeth does not always equate to a healthy mouth. If you have dental restorations like composite fillings, crowns or bridges, it’s a very good idea to check with your dentist to make sure that they will not be affected by DIY whitening methods, like teeth whitening with activated charcoal.
The Unintended, Yet Amazing Benefit of Activated Charcoal for Oral Health
Jessica reported that while she wasn’t exactly sold on the results of using charcoal to whiten her own teeth, that of course does not mean that others will not notice results they are happy with. Regardless of the outcome, it was an excellent way to confirm the importance of flossing. Charcoal works by binding substances, but if you don’t rinse it off, it sticks to surfaces and is a great, visual way to show that brushing alone can’t remove plaque and biofilm from all of the surfaces of your teeth.
In our DIY experimentation, we realized some important factors to take into consideration when considering using an at-home option to whiten your teeth.
How soon do you expect to see results? Most DIY methods take a few days at a minimum to show results, and may also require continuing to use the method to maintain the results. If you’re looking for something to work overnight, you may want to consider a commercial tooth whitening treatment as an option.
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What is your current oral health – when was the last time you had a professional dental check-up and cleaning? It’s amazing how much cleaner, brighter and whiter your smile looks after a polish – that’s because the polishing paste used by dentists is abrasive, and does an excellent job of scrubbing off surface stains, without the unintended contact with sensitive gum tissue. A quick trip to the dentist for a regular checkup can often yield the results you’re looking for.
What is the natural color of your teeth? Not everyone has naturally “white” teeth. Some folks have ivory colored teeth that are naturally a little bit yellow looking. Jessica’s teeth are ivory colored. This means that it may not be realistic to expect that bright white smile you see in photos, no matter what method of teeth whitening method.
Join Us in the Comments!
Have you brushed your teeth or tried teeth whitening with activated charcoal? We’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment with your thoughts and experiences. Leave a comment
not good not effect for teeth.
Nice article. It is important to take care of your teeth after the teeth whitening process. I was also thinking about going for this treatment, but then I came across marvelous miracle ingredient which is not just good for teeth but even hair and skin. I took the products that had charcoal in it. charcoal for teeth, hair and skin is wonderful and I used creams and hair products that had charcoal in it. I have good skin, hair and teeth. I used activated charcoal powder for teeth and within two months all my teeth problems vanished. My teeth are not yellow anymore, my breath is more fresh and enamel is strong too. I will definitely adapt the other habits too for keeping the teeth white. Thanks for sharing such great information.
I have been using an activated charcoal powder for a few years. Have not had any side effects or problems with my teeth. I normally use it once a week or when my teeth feel overly gritty. Sometimes toothpaste does not do a good job at making my teeth feel clean no matter how long or hard I brush. The activated charcoal leaves my teeth feeling smooth and makes them nice and white. My dentist had not heard of it but when I said I had been using it for a few years he felt that if I was to have problems with this product it would have shown on my teeth by now. So I will continue to use this product as it has helped whiten and clean my teeth immensely. The powder is extremely fine, so it does not feel abrasive at all. Not sure if all powders are as fine as the particular brand I purchased. ACP works for me!!!
My dentist recommended peroxide and baking soda. I’ve tried it a few times and it’s a bit of a weird taste. I would do it once a week, and at that time my teeth weren’t the whitest. It does have a noticeable effect, and I would think using baking soda ‘regularly’ and a peroxide shot every so often.
As for what I do now? I’m not revealing my secrets.
Amazing stuff. Use it several times a week. First time I tried it the result startled me. My teeth improved at least 5 shades whiter. And everyone noticed. Now I see the dental assn. (that continues recommending fluoride) is saying using this can damage the enamel in the teeth. It worked big time for me. What about the dentists?
My grand daughter used it, after a week, she had white teeth, do I tried it, 2 days later , no results , but became concerned if it would dull my frond porcelain crowns. I believe it may have removed some of the glaze , I hope I can see the shine back in it after I go in to my dentist for a polish. Is there anyone that had problems of this kind, let us know.
Looking ahead to Try this. My Teeth are Naturally Light Yellow, will it still Work ? Thanks For sharing this Awesome Article for Teeth
Can someone tell me how often to do this a few times s week for five minutes adding it in to you regular brushing regimen or twice a day?
That’s what I want to know. I just did it and took a pic before and after on my phone and I seen a big difference REALLY
Ok, I have a question I havent been able to find the answer to online.
-I wear a partial in the front. I had a huge gap that I was ashamed of. Anyways, you mentioned above A.C. (activated charcoal) will stain some things.
Would A.c. stain dentures? I use the overnight whiting efferdent every night but still have no results. My teeth match my partial, but I’d like to restore the partial to the color it was when I got them 5 or so years ago. I’m a smoker and a daily coffwe drinker. Will A.C. help or hinder my quest for restoring my partial?
Thanks for the question, Heidi. It really depends on the material of your partial so we’d actually recommend discussing it directly with your dentist.
Hey Heidi one of my front top teeth is a crown and after one use of the charcoal my crown was noticibly stained a dark grey. After rinsing for about 5 minutes, and brushing twice with normal toothpaste it has pretty much gone but I would really recommend thinking twice if you have teeth that aren’t ‘real’. I’ve always had naturally white teeth anyway and the crown was white too so this was really upsetting for me to have a grey/black tooth :/ I can imagine it might be pretty upsetting for you too.
Hi, I would go to a Denturist clinic and have them professionally clean your partial. I would also suggest looking to getting a new partial as it’s reconmended to replace your partial every 5-6 years. But as for trying to whiten your partial on your own, I wouldn’t.
is it suitable to mix the charcoal with some other substance and leave it sit on your teeth for say 20 minutes before rinsing?
Natasha, it really depends on what that “other substance” is, but we recommend following the instructions in the video for best results.
would it be ok to mix it in with my toothpaste and brush my teeth with that? I use colgate total advanced whitening
Review and google away on Ayurvedic medicine and oil pulling. I use coconut oil personally for pulling, which does amazing things to your teeth.I use coconut oil for taste, and for the benefits of having nice shiny clean teeth. My plaque is cut in half if I remember to do it. Also do not go over your 20 minutes, as you can cause the toxins that the oil trapped, to go back into your bloodstream. 20 minutes is the average amount of time for your bloodstream to flow through your body. Make sure the 20 minutes you actually swish, as you want to activate your glands in your mouth. In particular the salivary glands. After I oil pull, I followup it up with a charcoal cleanse. I do not advise to leave the charcoal in your mouth sitting there for any length of time. Remember the Charcoal absorbs the bacteria, it is not Lysol where it kills the stuff. So it would be like taking a dirty dish rag, and swishing it in your mouth for a bit. Don’t do it. 🙂
I combined the activated charcoal with coconut oil, a drop or 3 of clove oil for fresh flavor, a few drops of stevia to sweeten the mix, some baking soda to help thicken the mix, and a little peppermint oil (though I could have left this out). I’ve noticed my teeth getting whiter, almost no fuzzies on my teeth hours after brushing, very little need to brush my tongue, and the plaque that was on my teeth is almost gone. Three days of brushing twice daily.
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I have been happy with the de-activated charcoal. I use it once a week and my teeth are noticeably whiter. I am careful not to use to much pressure as I’m nervous about my enamel wearing away from it.
I’ve used activated charcoal for a while now and it’s great but I must say that the results are better whiten used injunction with zoom whitening. For example, after you get your teeth whitened, if you;re a daily coffee drinker, this will help slow down your teeth staining so I think this is something that everyone should incorporate in their brushing routine!
This is some really good information about teeth whitening. I like what you said about how activated charcoal can help get your teeth whiter. It does seem like it would be a good idea to have a professional cosmetic dentist help you with this.