Activated Charcoal Teeth Whitening – Does It Really Work?

Wait, what? Something so dark and gross looking as activated charcoal can actually help whiten teeth? It doesn’t make much sense at first, but it’s true. Activated charcoal is a highly absorbent material, used to trap toxins and other chemicals from being absorbed into the system. It’s made from a number of materials, including: wood, petroleum, coconut shell, coal, or peat. It is not the same thing as charcoal, but is similar to it. Hospitals use it to treat poisonings, but it can also be used to prevent hangover, lower cholesterol, reduce flatulence, and whiten teeth. The body doesn’t absorb the activated charcoal and passes it through the digestive system.

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Using Activated Charcoal to Whiten Your Teeth

Activated charcoal can be applied directly to your teeth with a toothbrush. The powder is notorious for staining everything, but it will not stain your teeth. It’s a good idea to keep a separate toothbrush available for using the charcoal, because it will definitely stain the brush. Your mouth will look terrifying at first, because it will be completely black, but don’t fret. The activated charcoal will produce the same effect in your mouth as it does in your digestive system. It will remove toxins and stains.

Since it helps to remove toxins from the mouth, it can help support oral health by killing bad bacteria, balancing the pH, and preventing cavities. While it may completely treat or reverse gingivitis, it can certainly help keep the mouth healthy.

Wet your toothbrush and dip it into the powdered charcoal. Do this over the sink to keep it from getting all over the counter or your clothes. You can add a bit of toothpaste to the brush if you want, but this is not required to get whiter teeth. If you’d rather, you can make your own “paste” of sorts, by mixing equal parts of water and charcoal together in a cup, and then dipping your toothbrush into that. For most people, about ½ tablespoon of each will work well. If the resulting paste is thin, you’ll want to hold it in your mouth for a few minutes. A thicker paste can be applied just like toothpaste.

Brush gently, and move in small circles for two minutes. If you have deep stains in your teeth, you can leave the charcoal on them for up to five minutes. Spit carefully, and rinse well. Your sink will look pretty rough, but your mouth and teeth will feel amazing. Alternatively, you can spit into a disposable cup, rather than your sink to make your cleanup easier. You can use this treatment as often as you want to, but since you don’t want to do it too often, try not to do it more than once a day.

Don’t scrub the solution onto your teeth. Even though the powder should be fine enough not to have too much of an abrasive effect on the teeth, you don’t want to use too much force simply because it contribute to the breakdown of the enamel on your teeth.

The more often you use this solution, the better your results will be. If you add this to your regular tooth care regimen, you should notice significant results within a few months. For even better results, consider using a diluted solution of 3% hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash. Swishing with this solution after brushing can also help whiten your teeth. Don’t expect to have instant pearly whites, as it will take regular use with time to really work on some of the deeper stains.

It’s important to remember that no amount of holistic dental treatments, like activated charcoal or oil pulling will be able to completely replace professional regular dental care. Don’t stop taking care of your teeth with regular brushing and flossing, and make sure you’re still seeing your dentist twice a year for preventative cleanings.

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Using Activated Charcoal for Food Poisoning or Other Toxins

If you ever need to use activated charcoal to remove poisons from the system, either for yourself or your children, it is important to use it as soon as possible after the potential poison has been ingested. It is most effective when taken within 30 minutes. Adults can mix a couple of tablespoons of activated charcoal with a glass of water. Drink it quickly. If you are using it to treat food poisoning, you can do this up to three times a day until you are no longer experiencing symptoms of food poisoning.

Contact poison control or visit the emergency room as soon as possible, because you have to be sure the entire poison has been removed from the system. The poison control center can also provide advice about the right dosage amounts for children and teenagers, as well.

If you take any other medications, do not take them within two hours of using activated charcoal. Taking other medicines with activated charcoal may reduce the effectiveness of the medicine because the activated charcoal will disrupt the absorption amount and rate of the medicine.

As a general rule, children aged 1 to 12 can take a dose of 25 to 100 grams mixed with water, based on body weight. Typically, it’s .5 to 1 gram of activated charcoal for 1 kg (2.2) pounds of weight. Children under one year of age should be given 10 to 25 grams of charcoal mixed with water, based on body weight.

Do not use activated charcoal too much, because it can lead to constipation and prohibit the body from being able to properly absorb nutrients and minerals. Do not mix it with food or dairy as it can lower the effectiveness. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. If you don’t want to use powdered charcoal for this, you can find it in capsule form as well.

Finally, do not ever use regular charcoal in place of activated charcoal. There is a distinct difference between the two. Activated charcoal has been purified and is what is approved for medical use. Charcoal on the other hand is not purified and could be harmful.


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