by Laura Trotta April 24, 2018

As a young girl my father would often recount stories where his mother used ‘old wives remedies’ to improve the family’s health and wellbeing. From placing garlic bulbs in his school socks to boost immunity, to making homemade cough syrup from honey and lemon, my grandmother had a remedy for every condition.

But it was her recommendation for cleaning teeth that always stuck in my mind; my dad’s mother would often clean their teeth with black charcoal!

At the time I learned this I thought it was slightly crazy, but it may seem that my grandmother may simply have been ahead of her time.

Activated charcoal has been one of the bigger health trends of the past two years, holding its own against turmeric, magnesium and hemp. Some weeks it may seem that everywhere you turn there’s a new product that contains activated charcoal powder!

Activated charcoal has particularly found itself inside our tooth pastes, teeth whitening kits and mouth washes, and due to its effectiveness in removing toxins, looks like it’s here to stay!

In this article we’ll take a look at what activated charcoal is, its many uses, and how activated charcoal cleans teeth.


What Is Activated Charcoal?

Made from carbon, activated charcoal is created when a high-pressure gas is forced into charcoal granules. Through this process (called activation), the charcoal develops a porous surface. These pores vastly increase the surface area of the charcoal and act as a magnet to absorb toxins. The source of carbon in this process can vary and include bamboo, wood, coconut husks and coal.


How Does Activated Charcoal Work?

Activated charcoal works by trapping toxins and chemicals in its millions of tiny pores. It works through the chemical process of adsorption, where elements bind to a surface.


What is Activated Charcoal Used For?

Activated charcoal has long been used as a safe and effective treatment for poisonings and the removal of toxins from the body in the event of ingestion. Most organic compounds, pesticides, mercury, fertilizer and bleach bind to activated charcoal’s surface, allowing for quicker elimination.

The World Health Organisation has included activated charcoal in its list of essential medicines, making it a must-have in all ambulances, pharmacies and medical facilities.

Some of the most common uses for activated charcoal include:

  • Mould Removal - Activated charcoal, baking soda, apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil and borax can be used to clean mould off hard surfaces and help prevent mould growth from returning.
  • Water Filtration – Activated charcoal is used in water treatment processes worldwide to trap impurities such as solvents, chemicals, pesticides and industrial waste.
  • Reducing gas and bloating* - taking activated charcoal capsules internally has been reported to alleviate uncomfortable gas and bloating.
  • Improving Skin and Body Health – For external treatments, activated charcoal is effective at treating body odour and acne and relieving discomfort from insect bites, rashes and even snake bites. It’s a common ingredient in a growing number of facial scrubs and natural deodorants.
  • Digestive Health* – Activated charcoal has been reported to help promote a healthy digestive tract by removing toxins that contribute to allergic reactions, oxidative damage and poor immune system function.
  • Treatment for High Cholesterol* – Several studies have shown the effectiveness of activated charcoal in reducing bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol.
  • Teeth Whitening – one of the more popular uses, activated charcoal helps whiten teeth while promoting good oral health.


How Does Activated Charcoal Clean Teeth?

Activated charcoal works to clean and whiten teeth by adsorbing plaque and microscopic particles that stain teeth. It’s reported to change the pH balance in the mouth, helping to prevent cavities, bad breath and gum conditions such as gingivitis.

For an intense clean we recommend My Magic Mud Activated Charcoal Whitening Tooth Powder.

To use, wet the bristles of your toothbrush and place a small amount of the activated charcoal tooth powder onto the bristles. Begin brushing gently for 2 minutes.

Because it’s a fine, black powder things can get a little messy, so keep your lips closed and lean over your sink. Spit softly and close into the sink with the water running. Rinse your mouth and toothbrush, and then brush again with a clean toothbrush to remove any leftover residue. Rinse again if necessary, and then enjoy your brighter smile! Use a dark towel to clean up.

For a more regular clean we recommend My Magic Mud Activated Charcoal Whitening Toothpaste (available in Peppermint or Spearmint flavour).

To use, apply a generous amount of activated charcoal toothpaste on your toothbrush. Brush your teeth thoroughly for two minutes, then spit it out. Rinse your mouth and your toothbrush. Brush away any leftover residue with your clean toothbrush, then floss. For best results, use with My Magic Mud Activated Charcoal Oral Rinse.

Something To Consider!

Due to the dark colour of activated charcoal whitening tooth powder and toothpaste, it can stain grout and fabrics. Protect surfaces and clothing before using.

If you have crowns, caps or porcelain veneers, it’s possible that activated charcoal products will stain them with regular use. For this reason, we suggest alternating activated charcoal toothpaste with a second natural toothpaste and using the activated charcoal whitening tooth powder occasionally for a deep clean.


Final Thoughts

Activated charcoal has a lengthy list of uses. By incorporating it into your oral hygiene routine you can benefit from a whitened smile and help prevent cavities, bad breath and gum disease.

Click HERE to view the full range of My Magic Mud Activated Charcoal products available at Sustainahome.

For strategies and support to transition to a toxin-free home and lifestyle, check out Home Detox Boot Camp.


*Activated charcoal is deemed safe for most individuals, however we recommend consulting with your health professional prior to taking activate charcoal internally.


Laura Trotta
Laura Trotta

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