Activated charcoal is a form of carbon that’s been heated to make it more absorbent. When charcoal enters the body, substances like dirt and toxins bind to it. This complex then gets washed out of your system.

In recent years, brands have applied this theory to beauty products. Today, charcoal-infused shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, face masks, bath bombs, and supplements line the store shelves, with brands claiming that charcoal purifies your body.

Black charcoal toothpaste contains the same activated charcoal as that in water filters. Proponents claim that charcoal toothpaste freshens your breath, kills bacteria, and whitens teeth better than regular toothpaste does. If you’ve thought about making the switch, here’s what you need to know about this trend.

What Is Black Charcoal Toothpaste?

Black charcoal toothpaste often appears in specialty stores alongside vegan, organic, and all-natural products, with labeling suggesting that it does the following:

  • Kills bacteria and viruses that cause tooth decay
  • Prevents plaque buildup
  • Freshens breath
  • Eliminates small food particles after meals
  • Whitens teeth
  • Removes toxins in the mouth

Charcoal toothpaste is so popular that major brands like Colgate have started offering charcoal-infused products. Still, while activated charcoal isn’t necessarily harmful, a 2017 study questions the validity of these claims.

Is Black Charcoal Toothpaste Effective?

In 2017, the American Dental Association reviewed studies that tested the claims surrounding artificial charcoal. Ultimately, the study concluded that most of these claims are false. Some studies reported no effects either way, while others reported that the activated charcoal damaged the patients’ teeth. A few studies acknowledged that the toothpaste caused a slight reduction in tooth decay risk.

While black charcoal toothpaste might remove surface stains, the abrasive charcoal could damage your enamel — exposing tissue and increasing sensitivity. Charcoal also builds up between your teeth and around dental appliances if you don’t scrub it off — which defeats the point of using toothpaste in the first place. Because charcoal toothpaste doesn’t contain fluoride, using charcoal-infused brands instead of traditional products actually increases the likelihood of tooth decay.

How Do You Choose a Toothpaste?

If you want to try charcoal toothpaste, make sure you find a brand that includes fluoride. Regular toothpaste includes fluoride because it strengthens your teeth against plaque and bacteria. Read the reviews online before you buy a product — the more abrasive brands could damage your teeth. You could start with a product that contains little charcoal, then advance to a higher concentration if you see results.

You could also experiment with other products before you switch to charcoal toothpaste. Try charcoal mouthwash or whitening powders to see if activated charcoal works on your teeth. If it does, make it part of your routine but don’t remove fluoride toothpastes from your routine altogether.

The Overall Verdict

Most evidence surrounding the benefits of black charcoal is anecdotal. You can use it occasionally without damaging your teeth, but it’s not a substitute for regular toothpaste or professional teeth whitening services. Visit Dr. Hansen in Las Vegas if you’re looking to straighten or whiten your teeth. Our orthodontic services can help you repair crooked teeth, ease jaw pain, and remove stains so that you feel comfortable smiling again. For at-home care, talk to us about product recommendations.