Why do we find charcoal in so many natural tooth products?
First, it’s believed that charcoal can white your teeth. Without bleach or other potentially toxic chemicals.
Also, activated charcoal (the kind sold in health food stores) is thought to be an excellent way to remove toxins.
The theory is that harmful substances bind themselves to all the little nooks and crannies (too small to see with the naked eye) found in charcoal. (So it can also freshen your breath.)
I first bought activated charcoal when my children were little. I wanted to keep it on hand in case of accidental poisonings, or other emergencies.
Activated charcoal is considered so good at binding with certain poisons that it’s found in all emergency rooms. (However, in case of poisoning, please call your local Poison Control Center or, if need be, head straight to the Emergency Room. Don’t just use activated charcoal and assume all will be well.)
Activated Charcoal for Your Teeth
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Because activated charcoal has so many uses, I think it’s something that should be in everyone’s natural medicine cabinet. (It’s super cheap and lasts virtually forever.)
Some people take a little activated charcoal when they have food poisoning. I’ve never charcoal for food poisoning because I use a homeopathic remedy for nausea and vomiting that works like a charm.
In the past, I’ve used activated charcoal to make all natural DIY mascara. It works pretty well, although you have to play around a bit with the ingredients to get it how you like it.
But, anyway, this is a post about how to use activated charcoal to freshen your breath and whiten your teeth. (Check with your dentist to get his or her thoughts on how often to brush with activated charcoal. Since it’s abrasive you may not want to use it every day.)
Using charcoal to whiten your teeth is a way to avoid chemical teeth whiteners made with bleach. These products are on the market and widely used. But it doesn’t necessary mean they’re safe.
One animal study I found is alarming. It was published in the Journal of Dental Research. It found that female rats given oral doses of a “commercial tooth whitener” that contained the bleaching agent carbamide peroxide suffered a horrible fate.
Body temperatures plunged, along with respiration. Three of the 22 study subjects died, and many of the rest had gastric distress.
Pound for pound, the amount ingested by the rats is far more than typical human use. But the findings are still cause for concern.
The authors of the study concluded, “The data indicate that ingestion of large doses of commercial preparations of tooth whiteners may be acutely toxic, sometimes fatal, to female laboratory rats.”
Benefits of Brushing Teeth With Charcoal
So one big benefit of brushing with charcoal instead of commercial tooth whitening solutions is avoiding carbamide peroxide, especially given its known toxicity in animals.
Instead, you can brush occasionally with activated charcoal.
You can put this straight on your toothbrush and use it as you would toothpaste or tooth powder. (How often you should do this I can’t say. So check with your dentist.)
You can also add charcoal to homemade non-toxic toothpaste made with coconut oil. Coconut oil contains natural antimicrobial compounds. So it’s often added to natural toothpastes.
If you can’t find activated charcoal locally at your health food store it’s available online. I buy the capsules, which you can see below, and open them as needed.
Coconut Oil and Activated Charcoal Teeth Whitening
For DIY activated charcoal toothpaste, you just need to adapt an easy DIY coconut toothpaste recipe. Here’s what to do.
- 1/2 cup of pure organic coconut oil (You can get it here)
- 2 teaspoons of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of Bentonite clay. You can also use European green clay, which also contains minerals that will be in direct contact with your teeth. I have both kinds of clay in my house.
- 2 drops of peppermint essential oil (You can get it here)
- Liquid stevia for sweetening (You can find it here). I didn’t use stevia since I don’t mind using unsweetened toothpaste. But if you want a sweeter paste, use it to sweeten to taste. Start slowly, since a little goes a very long way.
Melt the organic coconut oil in a saucepan, under low heat. When it’s liquid, stir in the clay and baking soda. Last, add the peppermint essential oil and stir until the paste is mixed thoroughly.
Refrigerate for 45 minutes. Then mix again, making sure to break up any remaining chunks of clay. Store it in a glass jar with a lid. In warm weather you may need to refrigerate to keep it solid.
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