Does Activated Charcoal Whiten Your Teeth?

I was presented with a challenge recently on Facebook. One of the health sites I follow did an experiment with activated charcoal. If you are not familiar with activated charcoal it is something everyone with small children should have in their medical arsenal as it is used in accidental poisoning cases but it is also good for detoxification  and this person recommended it for cleaning up your teeth (Ramiel Nagel also recommends it in his book Cure Tooth Decay ) .

Let the Challenge Begin

That is just too much like a challenge for me, the 35 year veteran of dental hygiene. Challenge at hand one morning last week I got 1/2 teaspoon of activated charcoal, carefully placing it in a small dish. I have a laundry sink, so I took it in there knowing it would be more than a little messy (thanks to a warning from Kathy Niflis Johnson another health enthusiast). I brushed it on all tooth surfaces for about one minute and then swished it all around.

What Have I Done ?

I cautiously expectorated all the liquid in my mouth in the laundry sink and took a look at my mouth. Eek! I had some work to do, so next I loaded up my Water-Pik with salt water (as recommended by Ramiel Nagel in Cure Tooth Decay) and proceeded to irrigate my entire mouth for a few minutes aiming for the gumline areas specifically to clean them out. The next photo you see was taken after I had accomplished all I could do with a Water-Pik.

Oil Pulling and Scaling

As you can see the remaining gumline stain was not esthetically pleasing. Next I did some oil pulling with coconut oil for 10 minutes. That isn’t really long enough or the recommended amount of time but my mouth quickly filled with too much liquid and I felt slightly gaggy, so 10 minutes it was.

Before I took the next photo, one thing I had noticed was tartar between #24 and #25 plus a tiny bit of tartar on #26 (if you click on the photos they will enlarge and you can see details much more easily), so I removed the spicules of tartar and brushed my teeth again with my Braun Sonic brush. I have found through experience that for stain removal the sonic brushes are superior as they seem to bounce stain off your tooth surfaces. That said, in most cases I recommend the Braun Oral-B for the best dental results as the sonic brushes just don’t clean the teeth as well. Stain on your teeth, while aesthetically not pleasing, does no harm. Stain will never cause gum disease nor decay your teeth, so I always opt for the brush that will remove gumline (also referred to as gingival) plaque thus keeping your mouth healthy.

On Drawing Conclusions

This photo was taken after removing tartar and brushing with the Sonic brush by Braun. You can see there is still some staining along the gumline and along the mesial and distal portion of the front teeth but overall the result wasn’t bad. The trouble is it wasn’t appreciably better either. I think I had some tea stain on my teeth before I started the experiment and it was still there after going through an amazing amount of work.

If, by chance, you have just had your teeth professionally polished and all stain removed trying activated charcoal might actually whiten them. I think my teeth might be slightly lighter in color it is just that the stain is still there. What we can’t really conclude is the degree to which my gums might be healthier for all the dental hygiene. They look pink and firm when I started and pink and firm when I was done (with slight recession but not bad for an almost 58 year young woman who has been a life long clencher) but I suspect they were more free of bacteria after all the adjuncts of my dental day.

Dental Theme Continues Next Week

I am staying with the dental theme next week but it is pure coincidence. I have just finished Ramiel Nagel’s book and want to report on my opinion of his eye-opening book on taking care of your teeth. It goes against everything I have learned in my 35 years of dental hygiene and I am excited to tell you about it.




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