Charcoal toothpaste (also known as “black toothpaste”) is a popular trend marketed as a healthy way to keep teeth clean and white. Toothpaste is made from activated carbon, which is made by heating charcoal with gas. The heating process opens the pores of the charcoal, allowing it to trap chemicals.
Proponents of charcoal toothpaste claim that it acts like a magnet to attract tartar, bacteria and stains from teeth. In fact, in developed countries, activated carbon is the most commonly used poison control treatment. That’s because activated charcoal binds to toxins in the gastrointestinal tract, preventing their absorption.
But, is activated charcoal toothpaste effective and safe for daily use? This article explains the benefits, risks and other natural teeth whitening treatments to consider with charcoal toothpaste.
Activated charcoal is the main ingredient in black toothpaste. In addition, charcoal toothpaste contains other ingredients. These usually include things that stabilize toothpaste, flavor and sweeten toothpaste. For example, Crest’s charcoal toothpaste has:
- Hydrated silica
- disodium pyrophosphate
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
- Cellulose gum
- sodium hydroxide
- Sodium Saccharin
- Charcoal powder
- Polysorbate 80
- Titanium dioxide
What is activated carbon?
Charcoal is made from wood, peat, coal, oil or coconut shells. Activated carbon is produced when charcoal is burned with gas. This process allows the charcoal to create pores that can absorb chemicals.
Is Charcoal Toothpaste Safe?
Research on the safety of charcoal toothpaste is limited and inconclusive. Therefore, more research is needed to determine the safety of charcoal toothpaste.
However, there are some security concerns. For example, charcoal can build up in cracks and crevices between teeth and in stains around dental work. Also, over-brushing to remove black carbon from your teeth can cause tooth wear. Finally, some toothpastes may not contain fluoride, an important ingredient in preventing tooth decay. Therefore, relying on charcoal toothpaste alone may lead to a greater chance of tooth decay.
Whitening & Charcoal Toothpaste
Regular “whitening” toothpastes contain abrasives and bleaches designed to whiten teeth. Charcoal toothpastes, on the other hand, rely on the properties of activated charcoal to remove and remove stains.
Proponents of charcoal toothpaste claim that it has cosmetic and health benefits. However, there is insufficient evidence to support these claims.
One of the main reasons people use charcoal toothpaste is because they think it’s a natural way to whiten their teeth. However, research does not support this claim. For example, a 2021 study compared the whitening effects of charcoal toothpaste with regular fluoride toothpaste and found no difference in whitening.
While some claim that charcoal toothpaste is antibacterial, the evidence for this claim is weak.
An unintentional potential benefit of charcoal toothpaste is that it may cause people to brush longer in an attempt to remove the black color from their teeth and mouth. The downside is that the abrasive nature of charcoal can damage tooth enamel when used for too long or too aggressively.
Safety concerns include that charcoal toothpaste can be abrasive, lack fluoride, and cause cavities and enamel damage. Also, some people should avoid activated charcoal. These include:
- those who are pregnant or breastfeeding
- people on birth control
- people taking oral medications
While you shouldn’t swallow charcoal toothpaste, sometimes it happens accidentally. Additionally, charcoal toothpaste may be absorbed through the mucous membranes in the mouth. Ingested activated charcoal can reduce the absorption of medications and other chemicals, which is why you should be careful when taking medications.
Charcoal is dirty, so be prepared to clean up after a good deed.
Natural Teeth Whitening Treatment
Besides charcoal toothpaste, there are other remedies people can rely on to whiten their teeth naturally at home.
Proponents of oil pulling claim that rinsing your mouth for 20 minutes can help remove stains and bacteria from your teeth. There is some evidence that oil pulling may benefit oral hygiene.
For example, a 2017 review concluded that there is limited evidence of substantial benefits for oral hygiene. However, the authors caution that oil pulling is not a substitute for standard dental care.
People sometimes use baking soda as a tooth-whitening scrub. Limited evidence supports use for this purpose. A 2017 review found that baking soda is safe and effective for removing stains and whitening teeth.
Recommendations from the American Dental Association
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), healthy dental habits are the best way to keep your teeth white. These include:
- Brush twice a day for two minutes each time
- Use ADA-Approved Teeth Whitening Toothpaste
- floss daily
- Limit foods and drinks with stained teeth
- avoid smoking
- regular teeth cleaning
Get tips on how to keep your teeth white and prevent stains
People use charcoal toothpaste to whiten teeth and remove bacteria. However, there is little evidence to support the alleged claims. Because activated charcoal can block the absorption of certain medications, people taking medications and birth control should be careful when using activated charcoal toothpaste. Also, activated charcoal is not recommended if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
If you’re considering a charcoal toothpaste, be sure to read the ingredients. If possible, choose a fluoride-containing product and consider limiting the frequency of use to avoid wearing down the enamel.
Other options for natural teeth whitening include oil pulling and baking soda. However, the ADA recommends that practicing good dental hygiene is the best way to keep your teeth healthy and white.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Teeth Whitening Safe?
Whether teeth whitening is safe depends on the product you use. The safest way to keep your teeth white is to prevent discoloration. After that, look for ADA-approved products, ask your dentist which products they recommend, and follow the product directions.
How often should you use charcoal toothpaste?
There is no standard recommendation for how often to use charcoal toothpaste. However, since it can be abrasive, it’s best not to use it as a daily toothpaste, but to scrub the stain occasionally. Discuss with your dentist how often they recommend you.
How much does professional teeth whitening cost?
The cost of professional teeth whitening varies by geographic location and office to office. However, the price is generally between $500-1000.