I Tried Activated Charcoal To Get Whiter Teeth

It kinda, sorta worked.
PHOTO: Maggie Adan

Activated charcoal is known to absorb toxins and trap chemicals. It has the ability to detoxify and is medically used to treat poisoning. But thanks to numerous testimonials and dramatic before-and-after photos, activated charcoal is trending online as an effective all-natural teeth whitener. But are the claims true? I decided to try it out for myself.

Name: Maggie Adan

Age: 40

Occupation: Freelance writer, editor, and content creator

Usual dental routine:

I brush my teeth and floss twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. I visit the dentist twice a year for regular checkup and cleaning.

I once asked my dentist about bleaching my yellowish teeth. But he assured me that a.) the color of my teeth is normal, b.) the color is actually indicative of stronger teeth, and c.) under no circumstances should I bleach my teeth as it may actually damage them. 

I'm not a regular coffee, soda, tea, or wine drinker, so my teeth's hue is natural and hereditary. 

Day 1

The packaging recommends to dip your damp toothbrush in the activated charcoal powder, tap off the excess, and brush your teeth for two minutes. I decided I wasn't going to use the product as a replacement for my toothpaste, but as an added step in my daily dental routine.

I brushed and flossed as I normally did, then brushed my teeth again using the activated charcoal. Prepare yourselves, fam: It turned into a black goop that makes your mouth look like it belongs in a horror movie. I was a bit surprised with my reflection in the mirror. It also left a black stain on my toothbrush.

As to whether it's an overnight sensation, it's not. I didn't notice any considerable change in the color of my teeth after one use.

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Day 2 to 3

I still didn't see any change in the color of my teeth, but I'm not really expecting immediate results. I asked my sister and she said my teeth looked the same as they've always been. It began to bother me a bit because the activated charcoal was such a hassle to use and I'm not seeing any results.

Day 4

I think they turned a little whiter than before, but I'm not quite sure. I could just be imagining it. I'm also a little annoyed that the charcoal has a tendency to get stuck between your teeth and gums.

Day 5

It has started whitening my teeth, but it doesn't uniformly do so. Because of that, I feel that the teeth that were still yellow were now even more noticeable. I also noticed that the part of the teeth closest to the gums was more yellow than the rest of the teeth.

Day 6 to 7

Confession time: I took a trip somewhere and forgot to bring the activated charcoal with me. Eeeep! Sorry.

Day 8

Hmmmm…is it just me or did my teeth look a little yellow again? I guess the effects weren't permanent, so you have to keep using the activated charcoal if you want your teeth to stay white.

Day 9

Anyway, I decided to change things up a bit, and dip a damp toothbrush in the charcoal, just so the black goo doesn't keep dribbling down my chin in a horror-movie fashion. It feels a bit more abrasive—which in my mind translates to more effective.

Day 10

Aha! I was right. Maybe the key is to make sure the toothbrush isn't too wet after all. Even my sister noticed that my teeth were whiter!

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My incisors have always been more yellow than the rest of my teeth, so they're what I’ve been keeping an eye on. Today, both incisors looked a little whiter than before.

Day 11

Maybe this was as good as it would get? I feel like things have plateaued in terms of how white my teeth were going to be.

Day 12 to 13

They’re no whiter than they were yesterday. At least the incisors looked whiter than before. 

Day 14

I don't see any major changes at this point.

Verdict

Unlike Internet claims, it takes a while before the product actually starts to work. For me, it took a few days. The fact that it didn't whiten my teeth uniformly was disappointing. The difference between my whitened teeth and discolored teeth became pretty stark, making the yellow ones even more noticeable than before. It eventually started to even out, though, and I'm pretty impressed with how it whitened my incisors!

I'd say it works, but after looking it up online, I may not continue using the product. According to research done by the Faculty of Dentistry of the University of Indonesia, brushing with activated charcoal increases the roughness of teeth enamel, making it easier for bacteria to stick to it. Yikes!

I'm planning to ask my dentist about it, though. If he does give me the go signal, I might start using it again!

Bare Body Essentials Black Diamond Activated Bamboo Charcoal is available at Lazada for P215.

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