Of all the natural ways of whitening your teeth, using activated charcoal or activated carbon has to be the most intriguing one.
But, make no mistake – you MUST use only activated charcoal. Not the regular one.
But, why you can’t use regular charcoal for teeth whitening?
There is science behind it. Activated charcoal works a certain way which is why you notice ‘the whitening effect’. Regular charcoal is simply not capable of having that effect.
You need to understand the science behind it in order to understand the answer to this question.
To that end, let’s start off by getting to know the basic difference between regular charcoal and activated charcoal.
Regular Charcoal. What Is It And How It Is Formed?
Charcoal is nothing but carbon. Plants, living organisms, animals – they all contain carbonic compounds. When they die, carbonic compounds get converted to other carbonic compounds.
One of those compounds is – charcoal. Remove all the volatile substances and water from carbonic compounds, and you get charcoal in the end. It looks dark grey and feels solid.
Since it’s mostly ash, charcoal is still not in the purest form. Pyrolysis is the method through which you obtain charcoal. This method entails decomposing the organic materials at a high temperature without any oxygen.
This is the reason physical structure and chemical composition of charcoal changes rapidly. For example – one good way to obtain charcoal is to heat up wood.
Activated Charcoal. What Is It And How It Is Formed?
Also known as activated carbon, it is formed when you treat carbon with oxygen. Hence, it is called ‘activated’. What the activation process basically does – it increases the porosity of carbon by opening-up millions of tiny invisible pores on the surface. This increases the surface area which means carbon can now ADSORB all kinds of organic materials as well as toxins that come in its contact.
Carbon surface tends to lock the impurities.
How Activated Carbon/Charcoal Whitens Teeth
Okay, so – activated carbon is not exactly a teeth whitener. We already mentioned that it tends to lock the impurities in its millions of tiny pores (those impurities can be plaque, debris, toxin build-up, etc.)
Here’s what happens when you scrub activated charcoal all over your teeth – the adsorptive properties of carbon start working their way into locking away any and all impurities.
That’s why you tend to notice ‘whiter’ teeth. If your teeth are naturally white, you won’t notice that – because there are no impurities to remove.
Why Regular Charcoal Won’t Have That Effect
Regular charcoal doesn’t have any adsorptive qualities as there is no porous surface to lock the toxins.
Therefore, you MUST ONLY USE ACTIVATED CHARCOAL. You can use it in the form of a powder or a charcoal toothpaste.
But, it has to be activated only.
Now that the difference between activated and regular charcoal is clear – you know why you can’t use regular charcoal for teeth whitening. So be sure to go shopping for only for activated charcoal to get brighter teeth.