Fashion blogger Marianna Hewitt has over 424,000 followers on Instagram, and if you watch her elaborate selfie editing process, you’ll understand how important it is to her that her photos are on point. Her app of choice has one key feature to make your selfies Insta-worthy: teeth whitening.
To get whiter teeth in real life, many people rely on toothpastes or whitening creams that instantly brighten pearly whites. But those over-the-counter whitening trays—chock full of damaging carbamide peroxide gel, coal tar, fluoride, and aluminum—can have a toxic effect when ingested. In fact, 85 percent of those who used whitening products had heightened tooth sensitivity and pain after the procedure. Pain and a body full of toxins in order to get a whiter smile? Seems like a bad deal.
But of course, there’s a natural hack for that! It’s paradoxical, but brushing your teeth with black activated charcoal might be the brightening solution you’ve been waiting for. Activated charcoal works by binding to dirt, grime, and stains on your teeth—in other words, your morning cup of coffee has nothing on activated charcoal. Then, as you rinse away the charcoal in your mouth, the stains will vanish too, leaving you with healthy pearly whites sans sensitivity.
The key here is to use activated charcoal, which is way different than the charcoal that you’re throwing in your BBQ (seriously, don’t use that stuff on your teeth!) Activated charcoal is famous for its medicinal properties and ability to cure anything from an upset stomach to a hangover.
To whiten your teeth, first wet your toothbrush. Then, pour a little bit of activated charcoal onto your brush, and start scrubbing. You’ll want the charcoal paste to remain on your teeth for about 5 minutes; don’t be alarmed, but you’re going to look REALLY scary when you first start brushing. We’re talking black abyss of nothingness in your mouth. But you’ll get used to it, so power through and keep brushing. Once your timer goes off, you’re free to spit, rinse, and give your teeth one more scrub with toothpaste to get any excess charcoal out.
And voila, you’ve got a beautiful white smile! If you want to see some serious results, try it for a week straight and compare your teeth before and after. Once your week of deep whitening has passed, you can use activated charcoal once a week for maintenance.
Would you try activated charcoal in your dental hygiene routine? Let us know in the comments below!
Illustration by Katherine Prendergast