Does Whitening Your Teeth With Charcoal Really Work?

by | Updated: December 4th, 2016 | Read time: 2 minutes

Let me start off by saying…the things I do for your information and entertainment are crossing into some pretty interesting territory. In this month’s edition of “I tried it…”m I’m brushing my teeth with charcoal. Yep. You heard right. Word on the street is that brushing your teeth with activated charcoal will whiten and brighten your smile. Now, I’m not one to believe everything I hear, but I figured this experiment couldn’t hurt and might just help.

Pair of Toothbrushes in Cup for Charcoal Teeth Whitening

Now understand, you don’t want to grab a lump of charcoal out of your backyard barbecue and start scrubbing your teeth. Oh no. Activated charcoal is food grade charcoal that is safe to use as a dietary supplement or for teeth whitening.

Take one capsule and sprinkle it on to a wet tooth brush or mix in a cup with water until a thick paste forms, then dip your brush in the paste. I chose the straight to brush method because what’s the fun in doing something the easy way? Be warned: It’s a fairy dust like fine powder. And by fairy dust I mean that stuff will go everywhere.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a bit of trepidation about this whole experiment as I stood there looking at my soot-covered tooth brush. What came as a pleasant surprise was that there was no bad taste. It really didn’t have a taste at all. Then came the fun part. Once my teeth were good and black, I chased my kids down the hallway growling and pretending to be a monster. They were totally grossed out, it was great.

When my two minutes of brushing was up, I found that it was a bit harder to rinse out the activated charcoal than regular tooth paste. I had to brush and rinse quite a few times but the outcome was surprisingly satisfactory. The first thing I noticed was that my teeth were shiny and polished, similar to how they look after a trip to the dentist. While I did miss the minty freshness that comes with traditional tooth paste, my teeth certainly felt clean.

As for the whitening factor, there was a subtle lightening. I’m a big fan of coffee and tea (and wine), so the staining on my teeth may be too much for this natural approach to conquer. If you’re looking for movie star white teeth, you’re not going to get that from brushing with activated charcoal, but it’s certainly a safe, non-toxic, gentle way to lift mild stains without the sensitivity caused by harsh tooth whitening systems. Plus, it’s really fun to chase your kids with a mouth full of charcoal.