You’ve probably heard about activated charcoal. It seems like it’s everywhere these days. From toothpaste and tooth powders to face masks, the popularity of activated charcoal has been on the rise over the past few years. It is even consumed in tablet and capsule form. In this article, I’ll explain what activated charcoal is and its benefits as far as teeth whitening goes.
What is activated charcoal?
Activated charcoal is a fine powder made from natural, carbon-containing substances, like wood, willow peat, bamboo, coconut husk and the like. The carbon is basically processed to have small, low-volume pores that increase the surface area available for adsorption. There are two ways to activate carbon:
1. Chemical activation – the carbon is treated with a chemical activation agent, like phosphoric acid, and then heated to a temperature of 450-700°C. The char is then washed with water to remove the acid from the carbon. The carbon is then dried and eventually made into powdered carbon.
2. Physical (Thermal) activation – the carbon is pyrolized in an inert environment, then activated in an oxidizing environment under extreme heat. Natural brands utilising activated charcoal in their products generally prefer this method as no harsh chemicals come into contact with the carbon.
Why is activated charcoal used to whiten teeth?
Activated charcoal is very porous and highly adsorbent (meaning materials adhere to its surface). When used as a tooth powder or in toothpaste, it binds with surface stains caused by things like tea, coffee, wine and tobacco. In this way, activated charcoal can help remove day to day plaque and stains from the surface of your tooth enamel, revealing the natural colour of your enamel which, hopefully, is whiter.
How long does it take for activated charcoal to whiten teeth?
Results vary from person to person and can be affected by factors like your eating and drinking habits and the type of stains on your teeth. Whilte some people see results in as little as one week, most people will notice improved whitening of their teeth within 2-3 weeks. Results can also vary between using activated charcoal powder and using toothpaste containing activated charcoal. But some people just have naturally yellow teeth.
Image source: Canva
How often should you brush with activated charcoal powder/toothpaste?
Powder – it is generally recommended to use the powder once per day, either morning or night. If you’re using a non-flavoured activated charcoal powder, you might like to follow with a regular toothpaste for that fresh breath flavour. You can also get flavoured activated charcoal teeth whitening powder like the My Magic Mud Whitening Tooth Powder – Peppermint.
Toothpaste – it is generally recommended to use the toothpaste at least twice a day.
Which is better – powder or toothpaste?
Both powder and toothpaste can be effective in whitening your teeth. My Magic Mud products (both powder and toothpaste) have been clinically demonstrated to whiten teeth for most users.
Is activated charcoal tooth powder or toothpaste safe?
The general consensus is that using activated charcoal powder or toothpaste to brush your teeth is perfectly safe. The thing to bear in mind is particle size. Larger particles can be too abrasive and cause damage.
Although tooth enamel is one of the hardest substances in the human body, it can be worn down and the dentin beneath can become exposed and damaged. Enamel does not regenerate – once it’s gone, it’s gone.
The other thing to consider is brushing your teeth with a soft brush using gentle, yet effective, brush strokes.
Is activated charcoal messy?
Activated charcoal is black and, when it comes to toothpaste and tooth powder, it can be messy, especially the powder. Exercise caution by keeping your mouth over the bathroom basin while you brush and have the tap water running when it comes time to (carefully) spit. Some people prefer to use the powder in the shower.
Why do we love My Magic Mud whitening oral care products?
My Magic Mud products, including tooth whitening powder, toothpaste and oral rinse, were created by American mum, Jessica Arman, looking for a solution for her daughter who had a condition that made her susceptible to tooth sensitivity and cavities. Jessica worked in a field that allowed her access to resources, including multiple databases with information on organic ingredients, and she used this information to create formulations in her kitchen. The rest, as they say, is history.
My Magic Mud products are:
- Clinically proven to be safe & effective
- Able to provide whiter teeth in 2 weeks or less (individual results may vary)
- Made from ethically sourced ingredients
- Ultra-fine, grit-free & gentle
- Fluoride free
- Gluten free
- Suitable for everyone, including those with sensitive teeth – in fact, My Magic Mud claim that their Cinnamon Clove toothpaste can help reverse current sensitivity
So, if you're looking for teeth whitening option that's natural, chemical free, toxic free and you can do yourself at home, why not give activated charcoal a try?
Sources: sciencedirect.com; Wikipedia; bbcgoodfood.com; mymagicmud.com
Note: The author and Naturally Safe Cosmetics are not health professionals. Any information, advice, claims or statistics in this article is of a general nature only. Please see your dentist or other healthcare professional if you are concerned about your teeth.