Strong desire to have teeth whitened pushes many people to limits that you dare not endear. However, with the social media promising more hope, some of these methods have gone viral such as the use of activated charcoal for teeth whitening. Read on to find out how this method works, results and possible side effects
Why Activated for Teeth Whitening?
Everyone desires teeth that are sparkling white. You probably know by now that tooth color is primarily determined by dentin when it reflects light. This is further modified by the enamel when it absorbs and scatters light.
Note that if you desire any change in color of your teeth, then they better be bare and not crowned or cusped. It is believed that everything in this universe has a yin and yang. Just as there is day and night and man has left and right, front and back, the use of black to make white is unquestionably contradictory.
However, for the existence of one, there has to exist its opposite and this is what the ancient Chinese philosophy postulates. It further says that they are complementary and interconnected. Here’s the yin and yang that you might want to ponder on, whether brushing your teeth with black toothpaste can actually increase their white.
Before we shade the light on this matter, you need to understand what activated charcoal is. Firstly, it is not the normal charcoal but rather one that is reheated and oxidized and that exhibits properties that allow it to adsorb materials(highly porous).
Surprisingly enough, a gram of activated charcoal is able to help adsorb surface worth 32,000 sq ft. This powerful property of activated charcoal has made it a wonder in the medical field with its use as an adsorbent material in cases of an oral ingestion of poisons such as paraffin.
Care should be taken however to note that there are three main types of teeth discoloration inclusive of intrinsic, extrinsic and senile discolorations. Extrinsic discoloration is mainly caused by intake of coffee, soda or wine among other foods and drinks.
Habits such as smoking and taking alcohol are also causative agents. On the other hand intrinsic refers to an onset in the inner layers, particularly the dentine. When it is affected, it darkens and exhibits a yellow color and this falls culprit of too much fluoride especially during your childhood.
There have been other causes such as tetracycline regimen at the age of 7 years and younger when the teeth need to develop
Intrinsic – mostly causes by coffee, soda and wine among other food and drinks that may cause staining. This is alongside habits like smoking
Extrinsic – discolors the tooth from the inner layers, from the dentine. This layer may darken and exhibit a yellow colour. Among the causative agents include too much fluoride during childhood when teeth are growing and developing.
When mothers in their second trimester take tetracycline antibiotics or administer them when you are 7 years younger, teeth discoloration may occur. Other forms of discoloration occur due to internal bleeding of a permanent tooth and genetic predisposition.
Senile – with age the dentine yellows with time as the enamel gets thinner. This may be caused by reduced care of the teeth hygiene by the old. Also, due to slow replacement of the white part, the dentine.
Teeth generally become more darkly pigmented with age and exposure to such materials as tea and coffee, and it has long been a goal of dentistry to provide a means to safely and effectively reverse this darkening process. Historically there are two approaches to the problem.
The first involves removing pigmentation that has adhered onto the surface of the teeth. This is commonly achieved through the use of abrasives, sometimes augmented with solvents.
While rapidly effective, these techniques have the disadvantage of only being able to remove extrinsic stains, leaving all internal pigmentation unchanged. Thus, the whitening effect is extremely limited.
A more recent innovation involves a method of using oxidizing agents to penetrate into the tooth structure and bleach out the undesired pigmentation. The active agents are usually either weak solutions of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, which is more stable than hydrogen peroxide.
While effective on both extrinsic and intrinsic discolorations, one major problem encountered with this second approach is the enormous amount of treatment time needed to gain adequate penetration of the tooth structure by the whitening agent.
At present, the method of application of the whitening agent utilizes either custom or stock trays that are shaped to hold the bleaching agent against the teeth to be whitened. These trays are then filled with the peroxide, and worn for long periods of time, sometimes even overnight.
After a series of lengthy treatments, the teeth will usually begin to show the desired whitening effect. The length of these treatments can be discouraging and increases the cost. It is therefore desirable to find a method to more rapidly whiten the teeth.
Studies by Evidence Based Medicine, The American Dentists Association and The Food and Drugs Administration have not approved the use of activated charcoal as a tooth whitener. The FDA has approved its use in other indications and therefore this makes it an off-label use.
Whether this may form part of the reason why people are turning their options to black toothpaste lies on the following considerations:
1. There are activated charcoal toothpastes in the market
You might think that this is a totally strange idea that whitens teeth until you meet it on the shelves of the supermarkets.
One, ‘Black is White toothpaste’ manufactured by Curaprox Inc. has in it activated charcoal aimed at whitening the teeth. In addition to whitening, it is also able to remove stubborn stains on the teeth.
It has other properties owing to its ingredients such as nano-hydroxyapatite. This ingredient particularly is responsible for the deposition of the calcium complex that forms your bone and teeth.
2. Activated charcoal has adsorptive properties
is a known powerhouse that will help you suck impure matter on your teeth through adsorption. It basically does this by providing a porous surface on which the impurities can be adsorbed.
So, what it does, is leave the teeth cleaner than before. This known mechanism was approved by the World Health Organization in the 1900s but not on discolored teeth however as an indication.
How to use Activated charcoal to Whiten Teeth
The best efficiency of any medication or any poison perceived to have medical use in certain doses is taking it in the required amount. This is what you will certainly apply when using activated charcoal. This procedure should be able to direct you through brushing your teeth with activated charcoal with the intention of whitening them.
- Make sure you have charcoal in its powder form and make sure it is activated charcoal. If not in this form, and you have a capsule, then dump it on the toothbrush. If the activated charcoal is in form of briquettes of pellets, then crush them to powder it in soft and equally fine particles. This should be able to get easily picked by the toothbrush and prevent injury. Charcoal easily stains plastic and you should use something metallic to hold the powder.
- Now dip your toothbrush in the powdered charcoal and pick out the amount on the brush as the amount to use.
- While preparing yourself to insert in your mouth, do lean over the container from which you took the charcoal and then frantically insert the brush in your mouth. This should also be able to protect your sink.
- Brushing should be done as normal as with the other toothpastes. Brush gently and in a circular motion for about 2 – 3 minutes.
- Then spit onto the center of the sink and rinse your mouth well. Make sure that you completely rinse the blackness off the white of your teeth. To avert the burden of washing your sink every time you use activated charcoal to brush your teeth, make sure that you spit through the drainage and not the sides as charcoal could be hard to wash off. Care should also be taken not to spill over tiles on your bathroom floor as this is associated with difficulty in removal.
While on activated charcoal for teeth whitening, please take heed to frequent use and give it some time. Exercise some patience. Truly, if you want something that will reverse the discoloration on your teeth in a jiffy or upon single use, then you are not an activated charcoal guy.
According to Colgate Researchers, the three reasons you get teeth discolored will be able to make you identify yourself as a probable candidate for activated charcoal or not. Refer to the previous sections of this material.
Charcoal Teeth Whitening DIY Toothpaste Recipes
You can prepare your own activated charcoal at home through a relatively simple method. You need to however understand that this is not a rigorous process in a controlled environment and since you may not be able to provide one, buy it if you need it. This method will help you get your activated charcoal.
- Are you aware that you need to provide a temperature of between 900 – 1400 degrees Fahrenheit to convert wood into charcoal? Well, if you did this on your backyard, you will burn it. Make sure that you get already made charcoal unless you insist on doing it from scratch.
- Now take it through diminution by powdering it and make them as small as reasonably possible. This is given the fact that you will not provide the optimum condition for this on your yard and you will need very tiny particles to make it through.
- In order to make a 25 % solution of activated charcoal, weigh water and calcium chloride and then mix them in the ratio of 3:1. This means take 3 parts of the water and add it to 1 part of calcium chloride. This addition leads to an exothermic reaction and the solution becomes hot and it may burn you so be careful.
- Mix until you achieve a thick pasty consistency then spread it to dry. There are a variety of way of drying the paste including placing it under the sun or air-drying it. Both should be able to give you something close to an industrial activated charcoal.
- Rinse with cold water and then bake it at 225 degrees Do this for about 30 – 45 minutes.
Benefits of Brushing Teeth with Charcoal
There may not be much to celebrate from using activated charcoal as your number one teeth whitener but it does work wonders for those whose discoloration has been due to impurities in the water they take or simply infections that don’t allow them to adequately take care of their teeth.
Activated charcoal is identified with the following effects on your teeth and gums:
- It cleanses your teeth and gums giving you better oral hygiene. Remember the adsorption process sucks up impurities.
- Elemental components that lead to discolored teeth are adsorbed.
Before and After Results Pictures & Reviews
Here are pictures showcasing before and after results of using activated charcoal.
Reviews from most users say this method works but it really wont give you instant white teeth. You will need to use it for some time. Remember, the stains and that you are try to clean did not come in one day.
Side Effects & Safety
Activated charcoal is generally safe when used for a short term purpose. There are however side effects that are associated with it including:
- Black stools that may make you think it might be an intestinal bleed as seen in melena.
- Constipation as it adsorbs water in the lumen
- The above are mild side effects but serious side effects may include regurgitation in to the lungs and dehydration.
- According to users, after use, it leaves your tongue black meaning that there is an extra task of cleaning it.
There should be safety considerations when using it in pregnancy and while breast feeding though this is not something to worry about as you are not ingesting it.