Except you live under rocks or in a cave, you should have read, heard or come across people talking about using charcoal as a whitening agent to whiten their teeth. But do you know how to use charcoal toothpaste?
For starters, nobody uses charcoals to whiten their teeth. Instead, activated charcoals are used. There is a difference between activated charcoals and plain charcoals used for cooking or preparing barbecues over grills.
The recent growth in lifestyle and beauty industries proudly fuelled by social media influence and teeming influencers has seen a lot of people stepping up their games when it comes to outward beauty.
Nobody wants to become or remain the ‘designated ugly fat friend'(DUFF) again, so when teeth whitening became popular, everyone jumped on it because we all needed to have whiter teeth, and flash brighter smiles on and off social media.
Activated charcoal has become the latest whitening agent and because it is readily available, everyone uses it. If you haven’t used it yet, we are here to take you through the necessary information you would need to know how to safely use charcoal toothpaste in whitening your teeth.
What Is Activated Charcoal?
Activated charcoal is a medical and less toxic type of charcoal that is made from heating organic sources of carbon like wood, coconut shells, peat, or sawdust, over very high temperature.
The term ‘activation’ comes from a variety of chemical processes the plain charcoal obtained from burning carbon products, undergoes. These chemical processes include treatment with oxygen, steam, acids, and carbon (iv) oxide, etc.
Activated charcoal is quite different from the charcoals gotten from burnt woods or burn bricks. Activated charcoal is different in the sense that it undergoes ‘activation’ process which rids the charcoal of molecules previously absorbed and liberates binding grounds all over.
This activation reaction lowers the size of the openings in the charcoal, creating more holes in each molecule, thereby, expanding its general surface area. Its surface areas greatly increase to about 1000m2/gram. Activated charcoals are usually black, finely ground, and odourless.
Activated charcoals, as a result of its permeable nature, is used as a good binder in medical emergencies. It is used to rid the body of toxins and overdosed medicines or pills.
In addition to these, it has several cosmetic benefits as in teeth whitening, hair improvement, removal of body odour, and removal of toxins and specks of dirt from the skin surface.
How Does Charcoal Toothpaste Work?
Activated charcoal unlike other bleaching and whitening agents gets rid of extrinsic stains. There are two types of dental stains; extrinsic and intrinsic stains.
Extrinsic stains are those kinds of stains that are of external origin and are placed on teeth surfaces. Such dental stains are derived from intake of coloured foods like Coffee, Red Wine, etc.
They are easily removed through thorough teeth brushing using regular fluoride toothpaste or charcoal toothpaste, and through scaling and polishing in a dental clinic.
Intrinsic stains are internal stains that occur within the enamel. Such dental stains are not easily removable. They require bleaching and teeth whitening to be gotten rid of.
Activated charcoal, as a result of its porous nature and large surface area, whitens the teeth by binding specks of dirt, dental plaque and stains on the teeth surface.
When applied on the teeth surface, allow it on your teeth for some time to enable it to bind to the rough areas of your teeth surface. Scrub your teeth with your toothbrush in the usual manner you brush with normal toothpaste, wash off the charcoal from your teeth surface and mouth.
By the time you are through with this, the charcoal must have had an ample time to bind with the deposits on your teeth surface and taken them away from your teeth and leaving your teeth cleaner than they were.
For optimal result, you must brush your teeth a couple of times with activated charcoals and cut down on your intake of red wines, coffees, tea and other coloured foods.
It is important to note that charcoal toothpaste in an actual sense does not work by whitening your teeth as hydrogen peroxide and other whitening agents do.
Rather, it cleans the teeth of extrinsic stains on the enamel surfaces. No toothpaste is capable of whitening teeth into pearly whites, not even charcoal toothpaste, no matter how long you use it nor how hard you scrub your teeth with it.
Talking about scrubbing hard, activated charcoal is highly abrasive. Care should, therefore, be taken when using it to avoid abrading surfaces of your teeth enamel.
If you abrade your enamel, you will be exposed to a higher risk of developing discoloured teeth, as stains, dirt and even charcoal can easily penetrate your enamel.
Remember that intrinsic stains are not easily removed, so it’s best to protect your enamel while brushing with activated charcoal. It is often recommended to use your fingers in rubbing the charcoal on the teeth surface instead of toothbrush to reduce the harsh effect of its abrasiveness.
How to Use Charcoal Toothpaste
Before you use charcoal toothpaste, consider checking in with your dentist to ascertain whether it is the right product for you. This is because of some activated charcoal brands contain sorbitol; which is contraindicated in some people.
Also, activated charcoal powder isn’t always good to be used by children, pregnant women and lactating mothers.
Now that you have decided to use it, the first thing to do is buy a good brand of activated charcoal from drugstores or food stores. It is usually referred to as a mineral and is sold in tablets.
A tablet is worth one teaspoon, so you must grind one or two tablets of the mineral to get either one or two teaspoons as desired.
Ensure you grind the tablets into very fine dust, once it’s fine, add an adequate amount of water to turn it into a paste. Then you can rub it on your teeth using a toothbrush or your finger as recommended.
Allow the charcoal paste to sit on your teeth for two to four minutes to enable it to bind properly with the dental stains and other deposits on your teeth.
At the end of the fourth minute, rinse your mouth thoroughly several times and go ahead to brush your teeth to get rid of all blackness on your teeth and help whiten your teeth.
Is Activated Charcoal Toothpaste Safe?
Activated charcoal in its pure form isn’t toxic to the human body system when consumed moderately, because even medical doctors use it an anti-overdose, anti-poison and treating kidney problems.
When it comes to dental usage for whitening purposes, charcoal toothpaste poses some dental health risks, such as exposing your teeth to dental decay.
Charcoal toothpaste does not contain fluoride which helps strengthen your enamel. When you use them, your teeth lose protection from fluoride and can easily have cavities. If you must use charcoal paste, ensure to alternate it with other fluoride-containing toothpaste.
Secondly, activated charcoal toothpaste stabilizes the pH level of the mouth, cures halitosis (bad breath) and improves your general oral hygiene.
Thirdly, the abrasiveness of activated charcoal toothpaste does not make it so safe for daily usage, for your teeth enamel’s sake. However, its abrasiveness is useful in removing dental stains.
Enamels, when worn away, do not regrow again. Not only do they not regrow, but they also appear very dark and dull because the dentine underneath has started showing off.
The enamel also becomes very sensitive to varying temperatures. You’d feel sharp pains when you take cold or warm foods and water. Why risk it?
Video: Ups and Downs of Charcoal Toothpaste
It is normal to want to get your teeth as white as possible without any negative effect. And using a charcoal toothpaste seems to be one way of doing that. But is it truly safe? let this experienced periodontist explain…
How to Make Activated Charcoal Toothpaste at Home
If you are one of those persons that prefer to monitor what they consume systemically or topically, do-it-yourself charcoal toothpaste is for you.
To make your activated charcoal toothpaste by yourself at home, you would need the following ingredients in their respective proportions:
- two teaspoons of activated charcoal
- three teaspoons of calcium carbonate
- one teaspoon of food-grade bentonite clay
- two and a half teaspoons of xylitol
- four teaspoons of distilled water
- two teaspoons of cold-pressed coconut oil.
Making your charcoal toothpaste will take you only 20 to 30 minutes.
Other Alternatives to Activated Charcoal Toothpaste for Teeth Whitening
Turmeric is an organic colourful, bright-coloured spice which is responsible for the yellow colour of mustard.
Turmeric when used on clothing materials and white areas usually stain them but when used on the teeth, it does quite the opposite. It whitens the teeth.
You might find that abnormal, but it is facts.
Recipe for Making Your Turmeric Whitening Toothpaste
- One Tablespoon of the coconut oil
- Two capsules of turmeric powder (app. Half to one teaspoon)
- A tincture of peppermint oil
How to Use Turmeric Whitening Toothpaste
- Moisten your brush and immerse it into the turmeric toothpaste. Brush your teeth with it as you usually brush with your regular toothpaste.
- Leave it on your teeth for 2 to 4 minutes to bind properly
- Spit out the toothpaste and rinse thoroughly.
- Keep using the toothpaste in the same manner twice a day for a week or more until you notice some changes on your teeth.
Coconut Oil Toothpaste
Coconut oil is gotten from coconut flesh and it’s a rich source of saturated fat.
Recent research has shown that coconut oil can reduce the build-up of dental plaque on the teeth and helps fight gum disease.
Recipe for Making Your Coconut Oil Whitening Toothpaste
- 6 tablespoons of coconut oil
- 6 tablespoons of baking soda
- 25 droplets of essential oil
- 1 tablespoon of stevia
- Blend all ingredients in a dish until it becomes in light in texture and consistency.
- Pour the mixture into a jar or a squeezable bottle and close it until you want to use it.
- When you want to use it, you can use a spatula to remove the paste out from the jar or you squeeze out the toothpaste.
Sea Salt Toothpaste
Sea salt toothpaste is a natural toothpaste that contains fluoride. Sea salt pastes whiten teeth by cleansing the teeth of surface stains.
Sea salt toothpaste is made with purified sea salt with delicately proportioned taste. They do not contain any inorganic flavouring agent, colours or preserving agents.
Recipe for Making Your Sea Salt Whitening Toothpaste
- one tablespoon of baking soda
- one tablespoon of organic sea salt
- three droplets of any essential oil
- A few droplets of distilled water
Frequently Asked Questions About Activated Charcoal Toothpaste for Teeth Whitening
Does Charcoal Reduce the Quantity of Calcium on the Teeth?
From experience and research, we discovered that charcoal mixes only with natural compounds and not minerals as calcium, so there ought not to be a worry of it reducing the quantity of calcium from the teeth.
As usual, check with a dental specialist on the off chance that you have worries about your teeth and before applying activated charcoal to whiten your teeth.
Is Activated Charcoal Toothpaste Too Abrasive for Teeth?
This is one of the major concerns dental experts have, concerning charcoal teeth whitening and it is a legitimate concern. There is currently no empirical figure to express how much damage charcoal pastes do to the enamel as a result of its abrasiveness. However, dental experts recommend using your finger instead of a toothbrush to rub the charcoal on your teeth.
If you have sensitive teeth or worried about the charcoal abrading your enamel, use your finger or a cotton swab to apply the charcoal paste on your teeth. Let it sit for a few minutes and properly rinse off.
Does Activated Charcoal Stain Crowns/Veneers/Fillings?
Yes, it does stain crown, veneers and fillings. It can also destroy your porcelain restorations such as veneers or crowns.
A lot of people have also complained about ending up with darker restorations after using charcoal on their teeth surfaces.
When people who wear restorations or have filling use activated charcoal paste, the paste gets into the cavities created and becomes very difficult to cleanout.
Other times, when an individual fails to thoroughly clean and rinse off the charcoal from his/her mouth after application, the particles get stuck on the gum and surrounding tissues and cause irritation.
To avoid running into more teeth shade complications, we would advise you to inquire from a dental caregiver before using activated charcoal, if you wear restorations.
What Type of Stains Does Activated Charcoal Work Well On?
As earlier stated, charcoal teeth whitening works well to remove surface stains-extrinsic dental stains. Activated charcoal toothpaste only works well on such stains because they easily bind with them.
Activated charcoal toothpaste does not work on teeth that are discoloured from internal disorders or drugs like tetracycline and other antibiotics
A lot of people swear by the efficacy of activated charcoal toothpaste in whitening their teeth.
This shouldn’t make you demand so much from your teeth because activated charcoal pastes do not whiten teeth rather, they remove surface stains gotten from coloured foods and drinks, from teeth surfaces.
There is a difference between teeth whitening and stain removal. Charcoal toothpaste removes stains.
When using charcoal toothpaste, for best results and your enamel protection, use your fingers to apply the charcoal on your teeth. Rinse it off after a few minutes and then use a toothbrush to brush off the remaining charcoal particles from your teeth.
Always ensure to seek medical advice from a medical practitioner before using activated charcoal toothpaste either as a tooth whitener or as a detoxifier because its lasting effects and assurance are still unknown.