Many people are making a transition to an apothecary way of living. Consumers want natural alternatives to many of the products they purchase. People come into a wide variety of chemicals, including artificial colors and preservatives, on a daily basis. The desire to limit things that may be harmful in high doses is a health conscious goal that can easily achieved in many cases.
The internet is full of folk medicine recipes and remedies. Many of them are completely bogus, but some of them work wonders. Calamine lotion is a natural mixture of minerals that is proven to stop itching after exposure to poison oak or bug bites. Peppermint, or menthol, is used in a wide variety of pain relief products. Now, we’re seeing charcoal and coconut oil toothpaste an an emerging solution to dental health woes.
Both charcoal and coconut oil show promise in terms of oral health benefits. Is mother nature capable of providing everything you need for healthy teeth?
What’s So Special About Charcoal?
Doctors widely recognize the medical benefits of charcoal in at least one scenario. When someone accidentally ingests poison or overdoses on medication, charcoal is often introduced to the stomach. Charcoal can rapidly absorb almost anything it comes into contact with. After the charcoal is allowed to absorb the dangerous substance in the stomach before it reaches the bloodstream. It is pumped from the stomach.
Charcoal can absorb almost anything. The theory of using charcoal in toothpaste partially stems from its proven absorbent powers. Theoretically, it may be able to absorb stains and bacteria from your mouth and trap them, allowing you to spit them right out.
Charcoal is also a mildly abrasive material. You may sometimes see charcoal based exfoliating face scrubs or masks in the beauty aisle. The philosophy is similar for charcoal in toothpaste. All toothpastes, even gentle toothpastes, require some kind of an abrasive agent to properly work. This is what allows them to scrubs stains off of your teeth, rather than into your teeth. Charcoal has enough grit to buff off stains without damaging your tooth enamel.
Does Charcoal Really Detoxify Your Mouth?
Charcoal’s highly effective use in absorbing excess medication and preventing complications from drug overdose or interaction has led to speculation that charcoal is a detoxifying ingredient. While it is true that charcoal can remove undesired substances from the body, it can only do so in the stomach and the intestines.
Your liver and your kidneys are constantly working to detoxify your body. If you get enough exercise, eat a balanced diet, and stay properly hydrated, your body will detoxify itself. Your gums and your teeth won’t require any detoxifying - they’re not holding toxins, so to speak. They’re only holding onto bacteria that needs to be killed.
The long and short of it is that charcoal doesn’t detoxify you, but it doesn’t need to. That’s not its function. If you’re worried about the accumulation of bacteria in your mouth, natural antibacterial ingredients will effectively handle the problem.
What’s So Special About Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil is almost purely saturated fat. About half of the saturated fat in coconut oil is something called lauric acid. Lauric acid is a natural antibacterial, antipathogenic, and antifungal agent. It kills or weakens bacteria on contact. When you use coconut oil in your mouth for oil pulling, mouthwash, or toothpaste, you’re eliminating many of the bacteria it comes into contact with.
Oil also happens to be a sticky substance. Everything oil touches tends to feel greasy because oil encapsulates everything. Coconut oil in your oral care products will encapsulate and hold onto food debris and bacteria. They’re all drawn into the small whirlwind of the oil and held tightly until all the oil leaves your mouth.
How Do Charcoal and Coconut Oil Work Together?
Charcoal is great for buffing your teeth, absorbing stains and fluids, and removing impurities from your mouth. Coconut oil is great at trapping food debris and managing bacteria. Charcoal will naturally absorb some of the coconut oil, keeping it from leaving an oily slick in your mouth. The idea is that they’re a perfectly balanced dream team that can help to keep your mouth clean without the use of chemicals.
Can You Make Charcoal and Coconut Oil Toothpaste at Home?
Most DIY recipes call for two tablespoons of coconut oil, two tablespoons of baking oil, and half a teaspoon of activated charcoal. Simply melt the coconut oil and thoroughly mix it with the charcoal and the baking soda. Pour it into a container and allow it to return to room temperature. Coconut oil becomes a solid at room temperature, giving it a texture and consistency similar to toothpaste.
The mixture should be stored in a cool, dry place with the lid securely in place when it isn’t in use. Proponents claim that this natural toothpaste will result in whiter teeth after a few uses. While it is theoretically possible that charcoal may naturally buff surface stains off of teeth, it isn’t a whitening ingredient in the traditional sense. Most whitening toothpastes use some kind of bleaching agent, like hydrogen peroxide, to achieve noticeable whitening results. Since this toothpaste doesn’t have a whitening agent, expect subtle results.
The Ingredients Charcoal and Coconut Oil Toothpaste Doesn’t Have
The ingredients missing from charcoal and coconut oil toothpaste are perhaps the biggest selling point. Many conventional toothpastes contain surfactant ingredients and foaming agents like sodium lauryl sulfate that can irritate the soft tissue of the mouth. Most toothpaste contains fluoride, a controversial source of enamel restoring minerals.
Toothpaste is full of artificial dyes and flavors. Dye and flavors don’t serve a meaningful purpose in toothpaste formulas. The color of your toothpaste is never an indicator of how well it works. The bright blue color of your toothpaste or the colored stripes that squirt out onto the bristles of your toothbrush don’t indicate anything besides the presence of useless artificial colors.
Flavors are used to mask the taste of the ingredients in toothpaste. Toothpaste is meant to enhance your health, not to taste good. Toothpaste in its natural state doesn’t have a pleasant taste, and it would be difficult to encourage people to use toothpaste only flavored by raw ingredients. This doesn’t require the use of artificial flavors. Flavors like mint can easily be derived from natural sources.
What Else Does My Mouth Need?
Charcoal and coconut oil both have proven benefits for your dental health. They may not be a complete replacement for more conventional kinds of toothpaste. While the formula is solid in its foundation, it’s rather incomplete.
Your teeth need minerals to fortify their enamel. Most people use fluoride, which is not without problems. Fluoride can cause dental fluorosis, a condition that leaves enamel ineffective and brown in color. Natural minerals, like those found in coral, can remineralize the teeth without the side effects that fluoride may cause.
Coconut and charcoal toothpaste is also incapable of offering long term protection. It will tend to your immediate needs, but it won’t continue to keep your mouth clean after you brush. Toothpaste with ingredients like nano silver will continue to kill bacteria after you’ve brushed your teeth. Toothpastes with ingredients like xylitol will help your teeth develop a healthy biofilm that protected them from bacteria damage.
Should I Switch Exclusively to Charcoal and Coconut Oil Toothpaste?
You probably shouldn’t switch exclusively to charcoal and coconut oil toothpaste. That doesn’t mean that both beneficial ingredients don’t serve a purpose in your oral care routine. Oil pulling with coconut oil after you floss, immediately before you brush, can help prepare your mouth.
Flossing releases bacteria and debris into your mouth as it dislodges it from between your teeth, and coconut oil helps to kill the bacteria and remove the debris. Before you brush, swish a few tablespoons of melted coconut oil around your mouth and spit.
You can use a charcoal infused toothpaste with minerals and antibacterial agents. Alternatively, you can sprinkle a small amount of activated charcoal onto your toothbrush after you’ve applied the toothpaste. The charcoal will stick to the toothpaste and help you brush. You can also avoid charcoal powder entirely and choose an eco friendly toothbrush with charcoal infused bristles.
Everything in life should be used in moderation. Even the good things. Feel free to incorporate charcoal and coconut oil into your oral care routine. Just make sure you aren’t incorporating them to the exclusion of other beneficial ingredients you need to keep your teeth strong and to make your mouth clean and healthy.
It’s also important to avoid falling into the idea that good hygiene and proper health practices are replaced by a panacea. There is no single miracle product that will completely change your life. Flossing, using mouthwash, brushing your teeth, and regularly visiting your dentist are the best steps to take for your dental health. No toothpaste, no matter how wonderful it may be, can replace those practices.