Although it may seem counterintuitive to put black charcoal toothpaste on white teeth, charcoal toothpaste has been gaining popularity. Charcoal toothpaste is not new- it dates back to Roman times, but has been resurfacing with brands like Hello and Black Magic. The main ingredient, activated charcoal, is different from natural charcoal because the chemical compound is changed by heating it with gas. This results in a more refined substance.

Activated charcoal is used medically for many different reasons, such as wound healing and gastrointestinal disorders. It can be beneficial because it is absorbent and porous. It’s believed to trap toxins- which is why it has also been used to treat poison and drug overdoses. These uses have led some to explore additional benefits which are claimed to be anti-aging, general wellness, and heart health, amongst others.

So, what has caused activated charcoal to become the main ingredient in some toothpastes? First, there are claims that activated charcoal can bind to the germs in the mouth, resulting in fresh breath. There are also reports that charcoal has whitening properties because it is porous, removing stains from teeth. That just leaves us with the question: if activated charcoal toothpaste can do all of this, why isn’t everyone using it?

Believe it or not- despite being sold in toothpaste on store shelves, activated charcoal is not approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). Although there are many charcoal-based products out there that claim to be a natural teeth cleaning and whitening solution, evidence shows that they can cause harm to the teeth. Activated charcoal is very abrasive, and according to ADA, it can make your teeth more yellow by removing white tooth enamel. If tooth enamel is removed, it begins to expose a yellow tissue called dentin. Not only does losing enamel make teeth more yellow, it also leaves them more sensitive.

Another risk of using activated charcoal toothpaste is that not all brands contain fluoride, the main ingredient in anti-cavity toothpaste. If activated charcoal toothpaste is being used on a daily basis to replace fluoride paste, a person is at a higher risk for cavities and tooth decay.

So, if you’re still considering brushing your teeth with charcoal toothpaste use caution! Remember- it is not approved by the ADA, should not replace your fluoride paste, and can erode your tooth enamel if used frequently! If you are looking to get a whiter smile, there are many products that the ADA has deemed safe. Whitening trays, strips, gel, or simply a whitening toothpaste might be a good choice for you. If you considered using charcoal toothpaste because it’s all-natural, check out the brand, Tom’s of Maine! Happy brushing!