Does Charcoal Toothpaste Really Whiten Teeth?

Does Charcoal Toothpaste Really Whiten Teeth?

If you’re like most people, you want your smile to be as white as possible, and that might have led you to charcoal toothpaste.  Sellers and manufacturers of charcoal toothpaste maintain that this (usually) black toothpaste or powder will get you as white a smile as you could want.  However, do their claims hold up?  Explore the ins and outs of charcoal toothpaste below.

Charcoal Toothpaste Explained

Charcoal toothpaste is not exactly the same as the charcoal that is leftover in a fireplace after a wood fire.  The charcoal in charcoal toothpaste is activated charcoal, the same substance that could be administered to patients to absorb ingested poisons.

Activated charcoal is a treated form of carbon, and it’s very porous.  Those pores absorb additional materials, and that’s the mechanism that creates the whitening capabilities of the charcoal.

The Good News and the Bad News

The good news about charcoal toothpaste is that it can clean surface stains from teeth.  It’s a substance that has been safely used for thousands of years; ancient Romans even used charcoal powder to clean their teeth.

The bad news is that activated charcoal cannot touch stains that are present below the surface of your teeth.  Furthermore, charcoal toothpaste can be too abrasive, stripping your teeth of the important outer layers of tooth enamel.  This leaves your teeth open to cavity-causing bacteria, sensitivity, and further discoloration.  Professional whitening through your dentist and/or veneers are the best way to ensure your smile is as white as possible.

This column is sponsored by Midtown Dental.  

BIO: Dr. William Nerestant received his Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from the University of Detroit/Mercy School of Dentistry in Michigan. After serving and being recognized for his meritorious service in the Air Force as an officer in the Dental Corps, he currently serves patients at Midtown Dental in Lakeland. For more information, visit or call (863) 226-0987.  

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