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Is Charcoal Toothpaste Good for Your Teeth?

What’s the hype about charcoal toothpaste?

If you follow any health blogger, you’ve likely seen something about charcoal toothpaste – it’s one of the biggest trends of 2018. Today, I want to cover the facts and answer some of the most common questions I hear: Is charcoal toothpaste good for your teeth? Does it actually whiten your teeth? Is it safe?

Is charcoal toothpaste good for your teeth?

Activated charcoal has been used in different aspects of medicine for years. Charcoal is a porous material that has a negative electrical charge. This negative charge attracts toxins and chemicals and helps remove them from contacted areas. In the mouth however, the main benefit of charcoal is its abrasiveness and its ability to remove stain from teeth.

So is charcoal toothpaste good for your teeth? Well – it depends on the toothpaste you use and how you use it.

One important thing to look at is the Relative Dentin Abrasivity (RDA) of your toothpaste. The American Dental Association states that anything with a RDA of 250 or under is safe on enamel, but I recommend toothpastes that stay under 150. Most toothpaste ranges between 50-150 RDA – anything over a RDA of 150 would be considered extremely abrasive. So – Google your favorite brand and check the RDA first, as the RDA varies widely for charcoal toothpastes.

People believe charcoal toothpaste is more effective at removing stains. This is not necessarily true – it is typically just more abrasive, and hence mechanically removes the stain on the surface only. Adding baking soda to your regular toothpaste would effectively do the same thing.

Does charcoal toothpaste whiten teeth?

Any abrasive toothpaste between 100-150 RDA will help remove stains from the surface of the teeth. The main way activated charcoal “whitens” teeth is by mechanically removing stain from your teeth.

So, if you have something such as a coffee stain on your teeth, charcoal toothpaste will likely remove the stain and whiten them. If the stain is inside your tooth, as with years of coffee use or natural aging, you may want to talk to our office about our other bleaching options.

Is charcoal toothpaste safe to use?

Again – Google your brand! If they do not state the RDA value of the toothpaste, skip it and find one that happily advertises their value. As far as “is it safe” – there is simply not enough research to say one way or the other. According to a recent article by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, there is no real research to support the use of charcoal toothpaste. Because of this, I cannot recommend charcoal toothpaste for regular use.


Let’s be honest – the taste of toothpaste is important. I checked out a few brands from Amazon and picked the one with the best reviews. The photo from this post is real (so is my reaction) – the toothpaste is black, makes your teeth black, and the taste…well I lasted maybe 30 seconds with it on my teeth. It actually made me gag, so long story short, it wasn’t my favorite. That being said, my teeth did feel clean, but this was most likely due to the abrasive nature of the toothpaste.

My final thoughts

If you use charcoal toothpaste every once in awhile to help remove extrinsic stain (think coffee, tea or wine stains), and you find it helps brighten your teeth, keep doing it. If you use charcoal toothpaste everyday, you may want to consider a different approach just to be on the safe side. Plus the taste…


Keep Smiling Chicago


Kevin Dow DDS

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