Who doesn’t want white teeth?
I have always been a bit paranoid about staining my teeth, so I drink coffee through a straw, swish my mouth thoroughly after eating and drinking, and brush, brush, brush my teeth! I have tried whitening strips but they make my teeth hurt and give me this weird sensation that my teeth could break at any moment, so nah, I’ll pass. I use whitening toothpaste, which I suspect is more marketing than science, but I can never discern any difference. So I decided to explore my options, which are limited. I even asked my dental tech and she recommended whitening strips. Where to look? The internet!
There are all kinds of “natural” options for literally everything you can think of out there in cyberspace. I am absolutely a stick-with-proven-science person when it comes to medical concerns, but for something cosmetic? Unless it’s pretty clear the suggestion is dangerous, I’m game. And some things are effective, like baking soda for your scalp to treat itching or Epsom salts for muscle soreness. The only thing I found for whitening my teeth that didn’t sound like some kind of joke designed to make me look stupid when I tell my friends was using activated charcoal toothpaste, which is supposed to actually polish stains away rather than bleach them. I exfoliate my skin, why not exfoliate my teeth?
There are premade options, of course, but I’m cheap and I have Google, so there’s nothing I can’t make myself. Peruse the recipes and read the labels of commercial brands and it becomes apparent that what you essentially do is make toothpaste and add charcoal. Baking soda, mint essential oil, coconut oil, water… Feel free to find a recipe if you’re not the rebellious type like me. Me, though, not only do I rarely follow recipes for anything, I’m all about shortcuts, hence my super-simple recipe for charcoal toothpaste.
That’s right: add charcoal to toothpaste. I ordered food grade activated charcoal from Amazon, where you can find many options. I bought a one pound bag of Multavita brand hardwood charcoal, but it has gotten expensive since then, so pick up some cheaper stuff. Search ‘charcoal’ on Amazon and grab the top result. This process can be messy, so learn from me. Wear gloves just in case, set up your mixing station on a surface that won’t stain or on paper towels, mix slowly, use a disposable spoon, and store in glass.
I start by adding the charcoal to the jar, then add mouthwash to dissolve it before adding the toothpaste because the toothpaste will make the powder splash, for lack of a better word, when it’s mixed. Then just mix it until it looks like sparkly black magic goo.
Many people will say to do your brushing in the shower, but if you have grout in your shower, that’s going to cause staining. Porcelain will stain, but it’s a lot easier to clean than grout. My recommendation is to spit and rinse your mouth at the kitchen sink where you have a larger drain and more powerful spray. And if you have an aluminum sink it will rinse clean without a problem. Otherwise just keep the water going and make sure everything is well rinsed. Your toothbrush will turn gray and you should check around your mouth to make sure there’s no charcoal residue, but it’s the same as normal brushing. It’s not a miracle whitener, but I think it works and now I’m used to it.
I don’t ascribe to the concept of cleansing your body of ‘toxins’, so I take with a grain of salt the suggestion to swish the charcoal around in your mouth to draw so-called toxins out of your gums. You can take this or leave it, but make sure you do rinse your mouth well and have a look to make sure it’s clear of black specks. Then watch your teeth magically turn white before your eye! Not really, but over time it will give them a good polish and I actually think my teeth feel cleaner for longer using this concoction. Have a go and let me know what you think! There are other cosmetic applications for charcoal, so I’ll post more about other uses I try. Have a good week!