Friday, March 14, 2014

You're So Vain

I admit it-- I'm vain, like really vain, when it comes to my teeth. Although they aren't all that straight, I'm that person who brushes her teeth 3x a day and not necessarily for good oral hygiene-- although I totally find that important, too. I'm just a sucker for a great smile. A good smile is almost always, the first thing I notice about people. Because of that, I am constantly on the lookout for products that will whiten mine.

You name it, I've tried it: baking soda, baking soda with peroxide, whitening toothpastes, whitening strips, gums, mouth washes... the list goes on. The only thing I have never tried is a professional whitening and only because it's so stinkin' expensive and you know Clippin' & Savin' ain't got time fo'dat.

A few weeks ago, I was scanning Pinterest and found a teeth whitener, of which, I was completely skeptical-- activated charcoal! Say, whaaa? So, I did what everyone else would-- I headed straight to Google.

Crunchy Betty is the one who had the best explanation of how it works and how to use it. You can find her article about it, here. The short version is, activated charcoal is merely carbon. It was used in toothpastes before hydrogen peroxide replaced it, to whiten teeth, as it's apparently attracted to tannins, that stain teeth in the first place.

Because I just can't bring myself to spend $40 on whitening strips every month AND because they make my teeth so stinking sensitive, I decided to head to my local pharmacy. After checking at the nearest Walmart and Publix pharmacies, where they looked at me like I had just grown a second head (in their very presence, no less), I just happened to ask my pharmacist friend Grace, when I stopped in another nearby Walmart, yesterday. Not only did Grace overlook the 4 young'uns, who act like the blood pressure cuff and Dr. Scholl's inserts machines are rides at Disney World (and they may or may not have been handing out fast passes to the older people behind them...), but she also didn't bat an eye when I asked her if they carried activated charcoal capsules. For roughly $5, I bought the caps and went happily away, to give it a whirl. I bought it for the tooth whitening power, but the fact that it can "relieve gas and bloating FAST"-- well, THAT's good to know. :)

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Because I am always looking for ways to whiten my teeth, I was completely skeptical of turning them BLACK, with activated charcoal. However, I cut open a capsule, added a wee bit of water and went to work. After swishing the slurry in my mouth for about 2-3 minutes, I began swishing & spitting-- a lot! Then I brushed-- first with just a wet toothbrush, then with toothpaste.

The pics are as follows: top left is before, top right is after the 1st use, the bottom left is during the 2nd process (talk about GROSS!!), and the bottom right is after.

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I know, I know... the "during" picture is completely funk-nasty-filthy and completely looks like 'Bubba Teeth'. I get it. I really do. The twins wanted to be brave and try it, but they were very fearful. So, being the awesome, fearless mom I am, I gave it another go... you know, to set an example, not to whiten my teeth any more-- oh who am I kidding? Of course I wanted to see if it would work a 2nd time!

I sent my results to my BFFs, via text, and both said, "I want to try it!!". (Insert "All I Do Is Win" bed music, here). Both immediately had questions like, "Does it taste bad?". My opinion is, it's less abrasive and tastes better than baking soda, although you'll look like a dirt-munching zombie, while using it.

If you're looking for a way to whiten your teeth, you might give activated charcoal a try. It's cheaper than other methods and I promise you'll get a good laugh out of seeing your entire mouth black. Smile purdy and save on, friends! :)

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