Whiten Teeth Instantly With Activated Charcoal

September 29, 2015
by Michelle Pellizzon for Thrive Market
Whiten Teeth Instantly With Activated Charcoal

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

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This article is related to: Teeth, Toothbrush, Toothpaste

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39 thoughts on “Whiten Teeth Instantly With Activated Charcoal”

  • Kat Rogers

    I will totally try this... Already got the Activated Charcoal in my cart! It's So helpful that Thrive has what's needed in these articles to make the actual task as easy as pie. And, yes, they have everything needed to make a pie too (I think? But mostly it just sounded good).

    • Sam (Thrive Member Services)
      Sam (Thrive Member Services) October 1, 2015 at 8:43 am

      Hi Kat! I'm with Member Services here at Thrive Market! If you search "pie" you get these results: https://thrivemarket.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=pie
      There is at least a shell and you can choose what you want to fill it with. I hope this helps!

  • Veronica Hand

    Thank you SO MUCH for posting this!!

  • Kristy

    So I break open the capsule? Btw how bad sites this taste? I would love whiter teeth!

    • Sam (Thrive Member Services)
      Sam (Thrive Member Services) October 1, 2015 at 8:42 am

      Hi Kristy! I'm with Member Services here at Thrive Market! I've used activated charcoal on my teeth before and you cannot taste it. I usually mix mine with melted coconut oil so it goes on easier! I hope this helps!

  • Lynell

    I have already ordered the activated charcoal to try it!!!

  • merridays

    LIke Kristy asked - do we break open the capsule? Do we use one whole capsule (its contents) each time we brush?

    • Michelle

      Hi there!
      When I brush with charcoal, I break open a capsule over a slightly damp toothbrush and tap the loose, activated charcoal into the bristles. Then I start to scrub! It doesn't taste like anything, but it can get a little messy so be careful. After about five minutes, your teeth will feel clean and bright. Have fun!

  • Revitalize Holistic Health
    Revitalize Holistic Health October 2, 2015 at 3:24 am

    Thanks for the tip! Btw, activated charcoal also binds to heavy metals and helps detox them from the body. It's similar to what hospitals use to treat overdoses.

  • Jennifer Heying Wallace
    Jennifer Heying Wallace October 2, 2015 at 4:14 am

    Does anyone know if there are any risks to crowns or porcelian veneers when trying this technique?

  • Kesha

    I cant wait to try this! I'm assuming for the recommended shop this article the Activated Charcoal capsules I would open the capsule and pour activated charcoal on my wet toothbrush? This is a home remedy so I know it will require a bit of work on my part!

  • Elizabeth Resnick
    Elizabeth Resnick October 2, 2015 at 4:26 am

    I have been doing this for a few years and LOVE it!

  • Tam

    I have, and find that it doesn't work too well. Well, it does, but it makes the natural ridges in my teeth WAY more defined--anywhere sunken in doesn't benefit from the whitening effect.

    • Mateo_B_FREE

      I have sensitive teeth/gums and have been brushing with a dime size dab of Flouride free toothpaste mixed with a capsule of Activated Charcoal off and on for a few years. A nice lady I met thru the online bay told me her native american anscestors cleaned there pearly's with charcoal from fire. Never, I repeat, NEVER HAVE TEETH FELT CLEANER. I place the capsule in my mouth-let it dissolve in saliva gather the glycerine coated gelcap and spit it out add toothpaste and brush . Finish this with a 20 min 1 tsp organic virgin coconut oil pull (swish all around push through teeth) and hello. BAM, Bam, Wow! Where did that tooth ache I had go to???

  • WASK

    I love Tooth Brights by Tooth Soap! It's an all natural "toothpaste" type product with activated charcoal! I use the kind flavored with peppermint essential oil so it's yummy! Works really well!!! :-)

  • Teresa Soltas

    What product are you selling with the activated charcoal for teeth whitening? Im a little dense so I figured I would ask!

  • Diane Peterson Lankford
    Diane Peterson Lankford October 2, 2015 at 5:40 am

    I will be trying this. It sounds great! I know activated charcoal is safe because I've used it in my tropical fish tanks to remove toxins and medications.

  • Eric Van Bryce

    60% of the population lives with a parasite in them, & most don't know it - charcoal is the only thing (that I know of) that can get rid of it. Have been looking for activated charcoal for the longest time & now I've found it...Thank You!!!

  • Nicola

    Have tried this in various brands such as Smart Ash and did see some whitening, however my teeth were already pretty white. Thanks to a high acid vegan diet full of acidic things like apple cider vinegar probiotic drinks, fruits, fruit juice (in limited quantities) and fermented foods with vinegar, I have noticed a high degree of sensitivity lately. VERY high. This first thing I learned is to NEVER brush immediately after consuming drinks/foods with high acid content. This includes coffee, sodas, teas, wines, and fruit smoothies.These items will soften your enamel and if you brush when the enamel is soft, you are wearing it away big time!! So rinse with water, or water and baking soda after consuming acidic items but only rinse! Wait 1/2 hour minimum before brushing, an hour is better. Also, there is some slight degree of protection by using a straw when drinking juices or smoothies, teas or coffee. I use a glass straw, better for the environment. I am also trying oil pulling, not sure if it is helping.

    And while my teeth (hopefully) will become less painful, I don't know for sure if any of the allegedly "re-mineralizing" toothpastes on the market can actually do what they claim. For all you heavy fruit eaters/juicers this is something to consider. I know many vegans have this issue but it is a dirty little secret because they don't want to admit any potential downfall to the diet. I am sticking with the vegan diet, but for now forgoing as many acidic items as I can. I am in my late 40s and up until this year had been a mostly vegetarian. The tooth sensitivity is new and I even had a few small cavities. Yikes! Good teeth before this and good teeth run in my family. I am just really upset and hope my teeth are not ruined.
    Anyway, for those with enamel wear, I am wondering how the charcoal can possibly scrub away stains, especially when you must brush for 5 minutes, without causing some enamel wear? Right now I water pick and oil pull or chew sugarless gum to reduce the need for excessive brushing time.

    • lemurleap

      It might not just be the acidic foods. Denise Minger of Raw Food SOS went vegan and within a year or two had a mouthful of cavities after never having them. If I remember her story correctly, she also attributes it to a possible Vitamin K2 deficiency. Vitamin K is what makes the calcium you eat get to your teeth and bones. Anyway, you might want to read her blog and see if there is anything helpful there. Cheers.

      • Nicola

        yes, I did read it and immediately bought a bottle of K supplement. I am really worried about my teeth and trying whatever might help. Also taking oral probiotics, that is probiotic species that are supposed to be found in a healthy mouth. Again, not sure if it's helping but trying hard because the sensitivity is severe at times and that is my teeth telling me something is very very wrong!

    • Virginia

      Swish with water after eating acidic foods. If you have it available, put a pinch of baking soda in water and swish and spit. You'll cancel the acid ions and speed up the saliva's usual 20 minutes needed to provide adequate buffering of the acid in your mouth. True, don't brush your teeth directly after eating acid foods. Swish and rest.

  • Sumwine

    Where can the activated charcoal be purchased?

  • Karen Rea

    Just wondered if this is safe for composite material? i have some added for reshaping on my front teeth after wearing clear braces.

  • Biota

    The activated charcoal mentioned in this article links to the capsules. Are we supposed to break apart the contents of the capsules to brush with the charcoal?

    • PJ

      That's what I do. I open one capsule into a small covered container. Or use a small zip lock bag. It does a good job on your teeth, but they may look gray for a short time, but it wears off quickly. Be sure to clean around the gums or it leaves black outlines for awhile... not to mention a black tongue. Just don't scrub too hard or you'll hurt your gums. And be careful because the charcoal will stain your sink, counter, and clothes, etc., so lean way down and keep the water running when you spit it out because it splashes easily, and wash it up right away. Nobody mentions how messy it is. Other than that, it works great, and I use it periodically, lol.

  • mariss

    Once you break open the capsule, do you make a paste by adding water to the charcoal powder? or do you apply dry?

    • Dan Thompson

      Works best if you add water to your toothbrush and then dip it in activated charcoal. The capsules are kind of a pain to use as teeth whitener.
      Here's a more in depth discussion https://rockymountainessentials.net/pages/activated-charcoal#whitener

  • Vive108

    Why not just use baking soda a few times a week mixed with OraMD or some other essential oils drop, which only necessitates leaving in your mouth to bubble for one minute. Plus, it may be much cheaper... I use it, and it's amazing how it gets stuff off one's teeth.

  • Elaine Gardner
    Elaine Gardner May 16, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    Is the activated charcoal from bone char? I am Vegan and will not use it if it is.

    • Suzy

      You can get activated charcoal made from coconut shells from Dave Asprey at http://www.bulletproof.com/coconut-charcoal-capsules-90-ct
      I love the stuff and it's on sale right now.

  • Diane

    I use My Magic Mud and it's amazing!!! I'm a red wine enthusiast and always have a cup of coffee every morning and this "mud" is da' bomb!!! My teeth are WHITE!!! <3 it!

  • Sonia

    Would the activated charcoal the same one as what is used in the fish tanks?

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