Don’t just run out and get regular charcoal to start brushing with, activated charcoal is special and you need to get this variety to potentially reap the whitening benefits. According to WebMD, activated charcoal is formed after regular charcoal’s surface area is expanded through a combination of increased heat and gas or some other activating agent. These complex chemical changes give you what is popularly known as activated charcoal.
Charcoal has been significant for centuries, and has been used for everything from treating water to combating toxic poisonings. In fact, early versions of toothpaste including the one that the Romans used, often called for ground charcoal as one of the ingredients. While these uses were not specific to teeth whitening, they do prove that charcoal has been important to many societies for a very long time. It isn’t surprising that people are still discovering new uses for it.
Whitening with activated charcoal looks a little strange, which is probably why it has gotten so much attention on the web recently. You’ve probably scrolled through one of your social feeds and noticed a video of someone brushing their teeth with something black. That’s how it looks when you brush with activated charcoal, like you are using a black toothpaste. First, obtain activated charcoal (not regular) that will be safe for you to brush your teeth with to get them white. Then, get a special toothbrush that is just for your charcoal brushing. Just a regular brush that you specifically will use for this. Mix the powder with some water to make a paste, and put the paste on the brush. Then, brush the paste on your teeth for a few minutes (typically just two or three). Now comes a very important part, spit out the charcoal carefully. You don’t want to get it all over your outfit or bathroom. Then, rinse out your mouth with water and spit it out. Repeat the rinse and spit steps several times until you do not see any more charcoal powder on your teeth, gums, or anywhere else in your mouth. Otherwise it might migrate back to your teeth making your smile look unappealing and black.
Activated charcoal isn’t just used for teeth whitening, though. It’s stocked in many emergency rooms, ready for people who’ve overdosed on things like drugs and alcohol. In fact, you should never, ever take activated charcoal with your prescription medication, because it WILL render your medication inert and totally useless.
But how does it work on your teeth?
The answer is: Activated charcoal LOVES tannins.
And tannins (found in MANY foods, coffee, tea, wine, etc., and ad nauseum) are typically what cause staining and dinginess of the enamel of your teeth. It loves the tannins, and the tannins love it more than they love your teeth, so off they’ll go. Hopefully.
However, and here’s the good part, activated charcoal doesn’t adsorb the calcium salts tooth enamel is made of. It’s almost like it was made to whiten. And brighten. And do no harm.