Lately I've been noticing that my teeth are, well, a little less than the pearly white I would prefer. However, I refuse to use the commercial tooth whiteners on the market because they're filled with potentially toxic chemicals that could actually harm your teeth and your health. According to this article at the Center for Natural Dentistry,
"Over the counter teeth whitening kits and toothpaste are filled with potentially toxic chemicals that could harm health and teeth, causing; extreme tooth sensitivity and mouth sores. The most common ingredient is hydrogen peroxide which is rapidly broken down in the mouth by saliva but studies show that in regards to teeth whitening procedures, at least 25 percent is swallowed, potentially releasing free radicals into the body and potentially stimulating the growth of cancer cells.
Additional ingredients found in some whitening products along with their most potentially adverse characteristics may include:
Coal tars: Severe allergic reactions, asthma attacks, headaches, nausea, fatigue, lack of concentration, nervousness, increased risk of Hodgkin’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma. Found in bubble bath, hair dye, dandruff shampoo, toothpaste and foods. Fluorides: May contain lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic. Accumulates in body and contributes to bone disease. Potentially carcinogenic. Aspartame: Genetically Modified, synthetic sugar substitute. People report dizziness, headaches and even seizures. Scientists believe it can alter behavior due to altered brain function. Long term effects of this genetically modified organism on human health has not been studied or tested. Aluminum: Heavy concentrations may be linked to Alzheimer’s dementia. Aluminum is in many antiperspirants and prevalent in water supplies. Some processed foods contain dietary aluminum. Benzene: Inhalation of high levels can cause headaches, rapid heart rate, tremors, confusion, unconsciousness and death. Hodgkin’s and Lymphomas result from inhalation. Used in detergents, drugs, pesticides and adhesives."
So what's a girl to do? Is there a safe, natural way to whiten teeth that is actually effective? The answer is yes! Activated charcoal to the rescue! And although it may seem a little counterintuitive that brushing your teeth with a messy black powder is actually going to brighten them up, it really does work! But how?
You've probably heard of using activated charcoal to help detoxify the body. That's because it works like a magnet in the way it attracts substances/toxins to it and binds with them, preventing our bodies from absorbing them and then removing them through the digestive system. Well, it works the same way with the tannins on your teeth (those things in coffee, tea, spices, etc. that stain your teeth), and with the toxins in your mouth. So, not only will it whiten your teeth, it can also be effective in killing the bad bacteria in your mouth and preventing cavtities. Win-win!
Fair warning, however, the charcoal can be messy, and there are a couple of ways that you may choose to use it. You can sprinkle some directly on your toothbrush or dip your toothbrush into it, and then brush with it. Or, you can put it right in your mouth or in a cup with some water, and then swish it around in your mouth for a few minutes. There's really no wrong way. I have found that the easiest way for me to use it is to put the charcoal in a little jar, and then dip my toothbrush into the jar. Just rinse thoroughly when you're done, and follow up with your regular brushing.
Try to use it everyday for at least 1-2 weeks, and you will notice a markedly whiter smile!
If you've never bought activated charcoal, you can either purchase it in capsule form like this (in which case, you simply open the capsule and empty the contents when you use it). Or, you can purchase it in bulk form, like this.
Have you ever tried activated charcoal to whiten your teeth? What did you think?