How Activated Charcoal Toothpaste is Made
It’s being splattered into sinks and incorporated into many of our favorite beauty products, but exactly what is activated charcoal? The carbon-rich, toxin-trapping ingredient has found a variety of uses in water filtration systems, skin care products, and even baked goods and beverages. Let’s explore exactly what it is and why things like activated charcoal toothpaste are taking the world by storm.
Activated Charcoal: What is It?
You may have heard “activated charcoal” also referred to as “activated carbon.” Regardless of the name it’s been given, the material is a type of charcoal that has been “activated” to be more porous. In doing so, there are more spaces for the material to absorb gasses or toxins. These absorptive capabilities are why we have things like charcoal toothpaste (more on this later).
How Is Activated Charcoal Made?
Active charcoal starts out as carbon-rich materials. These often include hardwood, peat, or coconut shells, but coal and petroleum can be used as well. But how do you activate charcoal? With heat—and a lot of it.
The materials that contain a lot of carbon are burned at a very high temperature (between 1,100 and 1,650℉). The high heat will change the material’s structure, creating a charcoal powder which can then be further activated by burning with additional materials (like calcium chloride or lemon juice) in order to create a porous structure.
Eventually, any excess material is washed away with a diluted acid solution or further treated to create even finer pores. Ultimately, this produces pure carbon with a lot of pores—which come with tremendous holding power.
Picture it this way: about 50 grams of activated charcoal (roughly the weight of 20 pennies) has more surface area than a full-size football field. Not only that, but it has more surface area than 17.5 football fields! In fact, it’s this surface area that makes activated charcoal so useful in a range of applications.
What is Activated Charcoal Used For?
You may have heard of charcoal being used for poisoning. This is one of its most common uses, as the fine activated charcoal powder can be mixed with water and drunk to clean out the gastrointestinal tract. Similarly, it can also be used with some individuals experiencing a drug overdose.
Working like a sponge, activated charcoal has pores to which toxins can bind. When they bind to the activated charcoal, they can be flushed out of the system—and won’t be absorbed by the body. Just don’t try it for a hangover, as recent research has found that alcohol does not bind with activated charcoal.
Because activated charcoal can bind with many toxins, it’s commonly used in air filters, respiratory masks, and water filtration systems. Many solvents, fuels, chemicals, and contaminants can become trapped in the pores of the ingredient—which keeps them out of our body!
Activated Charcoal Toothpaste: What, Why, and How?
So, what’s in activated charcoal toothpaste and why is it used? Most importantly, how does active charcoal toothpaste work?
Brilliant Black Toothpaste, for example, starts out as a carbon-rich material (coconut shells) and is heated at high temperatures, just like all activated charcoal. It’s blended with other high quality ingredients like extra virgin coconut oil, peppermint and tea tree oils, and xylitol.
Just like in air and water filters, activated charcoal’s porosity provides a space for plaque and microscopic particles to latch on to. Think of this as stain removal, because with every spit, bacteria and plaque are removed from the body. Because it helps to get rid of acidic compounds, activated charcoal also helps to increase (alkalize) the pH of the mouth, leading to healthier, whiter teeth and a fresher breath.
Whether it’s being swished around the mouth, used in floss to clean in between teeth, or even applied topically to teeth before being spit out, activated charcoal is an oral care all-star. The many holes contained in the ingredient will work their magic, trapping and ridding the mouth of toxins, stains, and odor-causing bacteria.
Because it can be abrasive, however, many are asking, how often should I use charcoal toothpaste? It can be used like conventional toothpaste (twice a day), but it's good to check the Relative Dentin Abrasivity (RDA) and Relative Enamel Abrasion (REA) first. Charcoal toothpaste, like many whitening toothpastes, can have a higher value for both, which may wear down enamel.
Fortunately, Terra & Co.’s activated charcoal toothpaste is safe and supports a healthy smile. Our products are tested by an independent, third-party lab and our REA and REA values are well within the range considered safe by the American Dental Association.
Black is the New Black for Your Pearly Whites
Activated charcoal is an all-around great ingredient. It can trap and remove toxins from the air, the water, and our bodies! The same reasons it’s found in toothpaste are also why activated charcoal can be used in oil pulling mouthwash and dental floss. But does activated charcoal toothpaste work? Try it for yourself today with our best-selling bundle!