Don’t reach for the bleach – turn to charcoal for whiter teeth

The properties of charcoal for skin are both well known and wide ranging. From acting as a magnet to pull out impurities to absorbing excess oil; looking like a miner really is great for your face.

However the earthy material works wonders on your teeth too and more and more mouth-related products containing charcoal are now popping up. From off the shelf toothpaste to homemade mouthwash, we have your charcoal teeth needs covered.

Toothpaste

At home whitening kits are more popular than ever and many of us reach for whitening toothpaste during our weekly shop in our quest to get a dazzling smile. However some whitening toothpastes have been known to make teeth darker after use – so maybe going back to black is best.

While squeezing a blob of black toothpaste on to your brush in the morning and evening may look extremely daunting, it actually has major benefits for teeth. Activated charcoal binds to everything in its path, meaning stains, tartar and bacteria are removed. It’s a cheaper and painless way to get your pearlys looking white without having to reach for the bleach.

Curaprox’s White is Black has fast become a cult favorite, and because it uses no bleach it’s a gentle choice for those with sensitive teeth. It also protects from tooth decay and remineralize tooth enamel thanks to its enzymes.

Beverly Hills Perfect White Black and Ecodenta Organic Black Charcoal Whitening Toothpaste are other options to try.

Toothbrush

As charcoal is known for its natural whitening and absorbing powers, adding it to the bristles of a toothbrush means your daily clean just got a lot more effective. Charcoal infused bristles are already common place in South-East Asian countries, and now the Western world is getting on board too. Again the charcoal will draw out impurities, giving you a whiter, brighter and healthier smile.

Mouthwash

Much like the craze for oil pulling, when you swish coconut oil in your mouth, charcoal mouthwash can have similar effects, only this time it targets your teeth rather than your overall health. The ancient technique of oil pulling is intended to draw out toxins, especially in your mouth, but gurgling with charcoal is aimed at those after a whiter smile. Some coconut oil mouthwashes even include activated charcoal to give users a double dose of oral goodness.

It’s easy to make your own, just remember it’s activated charcoal you need, not any old BBQ coal!

Mix 1/8 tsp of activated charcoal with 6 to 8 ounces of distilled water and essential oils (optional). Swirl around and spit.

Extras

Lush’s Boom! Toothy Tabs are little charcoal wonders that will give your mouth an instant hit of freshness. Made from gunpowder tea and charcoal, these tabs are designed to be nibbled between your teeth. They can be used as an alternative to toothpaste, or just pop one in if you’re on the go, chew and then quickly run a toothbrush round for a smile pick-me-up.

Charcoal for skin

It may sound counteractive, but using charcoal to cleanse your skin is one of the oldest beauty tips in the world. The use of charcoal dates back centuries, when people in India and Egypt treated wounds with it. Later, it featured as a cleansing ingredient in places like Japan, as charcoal acts as a magnet to draw out and trap as much as 100 to 200 times its weight in impurities in your skin.

Most commonly found in beauty products, activated charcoal was created solely for medicinal purposes. Doctors initially used it to treat poison, gastrointestinal tract infections, bug bites and nausea. It also proved helpful during World War I, when activated charcoal was placed in gas masks to prevent soldiers from being poisoned by chemical exposure.

To create this, regular charcoal is heated with gas to make it expand, thus making it porous and more absorbent. Activated charcoal chemically binds other substances to its surface and compared to regular charcoal, can absorb thousands of times its own weight, so things like bacteria and dirt will be lifted, helping you achieve a smooth complexion.

In saying that, since activated charcoal does remove toxins, it is a great ingredient to take control of acne and improve skin health in general. It’s found in many products which help fight against acne, effectively healing pimples and preventing further breakouts.

Activated charcoal is also an anti-ageing ingredient, reducing inflammation and subsequently preventing premature ageing. It tightens pores and smooths the skin, calms irritation and leaves you with a toned complexion.

If you want to make your own face mask, mix one half or one whole activated charcoal capsule powder into a small spoonful of aloe vera gel. Add some water, a few drops of tea tree oil and a pinch of sea salt, until it becomes an even consistency. Apply to your skin and let dry, then wash off with water.