Field Test: Whiten Your Teeth with Charcoal

This is going to be a quick one. That’s because it’s mostly just pictures.

Activated charcoal has been touted as everything from a great blemish fighter to a teeth whitener. We’ve already put charcoal to the test when it comes to facial applications. This week it’s time to test its other well-known application: teeth whitening.

And why not? Instead of putting weirdo chemicals in our mouths, isn’t there less risk involved for using something naturally occurring?

The Plan:

I brush daily with Tom’s of Maine’s fluoride-free toothpaste. I would follow up this nightly brushing routine with a brush through with hardwood activated charcoal to help whiten my teeth. I would take photos of my post-brush chompers each day under the same (or as close as possible) conditions each night and examine my progress in seven days.


The Method:

After I brushed my teeth I dipped a separate moistened toothbrush in my packet of charcoal and brushed away in soft circles for about two minutes. Then I rinsed, brushed my teeth again with water and a rinsed out toothbrush to get rid of residue.

I also had to scrub my tongue because it had black patches too. Good thing is, the charcoal is pretty much tasteless.

I took two photos each evening: one with flash and one without flash. About halfway through (day 4) I began staying at my boyfriend’s house, which I think skewed the photo tints a bit because the lighting is different.

The final photo was taken back in the original bathroom in which it was photographed. So, even though the continuity isn’t perfect, we still come back to where we began.

Have a look: (click for larger view)


The Verdict:

20160530_212408It may not have been black magic, but there is a noticeable difference from my initial day 1 photo and the final day’s photo, which were both taken under the same lighting conditions.

My teeth are subtley whiter, but saying that means I’m putting my full faith in my phone’s camera. I think this whitener needs further extended study to track some longer-term changes. Another week should do.


Did we miss something? Is activated charcoal your miracle teeth whitener? Share your results!

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