In the 1990’s, the World Health Organization officially listed charcoal as an effective emergency medication against poisoning. This was thanks to charcoal’s capacity to absorb toxins, carrying a thousand units of poison for each unit of charcoal. Today, charcoal is a mainstay in hospital emergency rooms.
Since then, researchers and natural health advocates have tried exploring the other potential benefits of charcoal, including those that might reduce the toxic load on our bodies. Today, the most prominent use for charcoal involves dental health.
In recent years, charcoal has been propelled into viral status by people who advocate this all-natural substance’s capabilities in the realm of teeth whitening and oral health. But there’s far more to it than just those trendy marketing ploys.
The Anatomy of Charcoal
Activated charcoal can be purchased online, but is actually pretty simple to make at home. Most products are made from steam activated coconut husk. But there are some that use willow peat, wood, bamboo, and petroleum pitch. The end result is always the same – charred activated carbon in the form of charcoal.
If you take a closer look at activated charcoal powder, you’ll find that the granules are often coarse. When mixed with any sort of solvent, they don’t dissolve and instead become suspended in the mixture.
Given its molecular structure, charcoal can’t be absorbed into your body unless you ingest it. So there’s really no need to worry about long-term toxicity to charcoal even if you use it frequently in your oral cavity and all over your gums.
When eaten, charcoal isn’t absorbed into the stomach or intestines, simply passing through your system. This is why it works well as a solution against poison. It binds to toxins and contaminants, carrying them along until it leaves your body in the form of waste material.
The texture of charcoal also plays a role in its efficacy against discolored, yellowish, stained teeth. The gentle abrasion nudges lodged debris and plaque off of the enamel, revealing the white teeth underneath.
How to Use Charcoal for Whitening Teeth
There are different ways you can use charcoal to work away those dental stains. The first is by using it as a mixture. The activated charcoal powder can be combined with coconut oil or water and then applied to the teeth as you would toothpaste.
Some recipes involve the use of essential oils, xanthan gum powder, and baking soda to give you a great substitute for toothpaste. These mixtures can temper the abrasiveness of charcoal, letting you use it more often for whitening without causing damage to your enamel.
The second is by making an activated charcoal mouthwash. Mix one teaspoon of activated charcoal with a half glass of clean water and add a few drops of peppermint essential oil. Swish the mixture in your mouth after flossing, brushing, or after meals to help get rid of debris.
The third is by investing in charcoal-infused dental care products. Toothbrushes with charcoal bristles, charcoal-infused toothpaste, charcoal teeth whitening strips, and even charcoal floss are just some of the products at your disposal.
Are There Risks to Using Charcoal?
There is no such thing as a perfect whitening solution. So as you would expect, charcoal may pose some risks if used in excess. Unlike fluoride, however – which is found in regular toothpaste formulations – charcoal has a zero percent risk for long-term toxicity. Essentially, this means that it will not lead to health complications due to long term ingestion because it doesn’t get absorbed into your body.
The only real threat you should look out for is enamel abrasion. If your charcoal toothpaste is too abrasive, it can act like sandpaper against your teeth. This works away the enamel and reduces your capacity to fight off cavities and tooth decay.
If you’re making your own homemade charcoal toothpaste, always test it for abrasiveness. If it feels to grainy against your teeth, feel free to add more coconut oil to tone down the texture.
Similarly, you may also want to avoid brushing your teeth too aggressively. Use a soft bristle brush and gently rub against each tooth, making sure not to scrub their surfaces too vigorously. You can try to do away with the brush all together and simply rub the solution against your teeth using the pads of your fingers.
For those who don’t want to overdo brushing all together, gargling with charcoal mouthwash after every brushing schedule can be beneficial. Brush your teeth with regular fluoride toothpaste and gargle with watered down charcoal to reduce their abrasive properties.
Charcoal is a tried, tested, and trusted solution for teeth whitening, and may even be beneficial for oral health. This powerfully absorbent substance doesn’t only get rid of stains and discoloration, but also helps restore pH balance. But there are limits to its use.
Make sure to use charcoal for teeth whitening within reasonable restrictions and don’t forget to brush regularly with fluoride toothpaste. Just follow these simple tips and you might find yourself smiling back at a stellar set of teeth in a few weeks’ time.