Dental Tips |4 min read

Is Charcoal Toothpaste Safe to Whiten Teeth? [Here’s the Truth]

Is charcoal toothpaste a safe alternative to teeth whitening? Here's what you need to know!

Brushing your teeth with charcoal isn’t a new fad. According to Opens new tab to Colgate website
, ancient Romans used it, and it was listed as an ingredient in a 19th-century toothpaste recipe.

But does that make charcoal toothpaste safe?

After all, smoking nicotine has been around forever, but we all know now, it is not safe.

Our Manhattan dentists want to help you uncover the truth about charcoal toothpaste and break down myths, such as if it is safe or whitens teeth.

What is charcoal toothpaste?

First, let’s understand what activated charcoal is – the key ingredient.

Activated charcoal is typically made from wood, bone char, coconut shells, or other natural substances that are oxidized under extreme heat. This turns your generic cooking charcoal into activated charcoal – a more porous charcoal used for cosmetic and medical treatments.

This black powder is known for absorbing dirt and impurities – kind of like a magnet attracting toxins. It is often used in water filtration systems and to treat poisonings or drug overdoses.

Charcoal toothpaste contains this activated ingredient and is said to be antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and oral detoxification.

Does charcoal toothpaste whiten teeth?

Charcoal toothpaste claims to be an alternative to peroxide-based whitening products. But is that true?

Our trusted cosmetic dentists in Midtown Manhattan want to set the record straight:

Charcoal toothpaste does NOT whiten your teeth.

What it can do is remove surface stains that live on your enamel. These surface-level stains are typically the result of coffee, wine, tea, dark-colored foods, and tobacco. ADA-approved whitening toothpaste can also remove these surface-level stains.

But what charcoal toothpaste cannot do is penetrate and remove deep stains and discoloration beneath the surface level of your enamel.

Under your enamel lies your dentin layer. This is where a majority of your tooth’s color comes from and why charcoal toothpaste cannot whiten your teeth.

So, to whiten your teeth – not just remove surface stains – you need to penetrate below the surface of your teeth’s enamel. By doing so, you will achieve a whiter smile that lasts significantly longer.

At Midtown Dental Excellence, we recommend professional teeth whitening to achieve your desired shade of white safely and effectively.

We even have three different teeth whitening options to choose from, including in-office and take-home treatments. You can find a solution that works for you.

Is it safe for your teeth?

Now, the bigger concern with charcoal toothpaste isn’t whether or not it whitens your teeth, but is it safe?

Here’s what our Midtown Manhattan dentists know:

Charcoal toothpaste is abrasive.

If you use it too often or brush too hard with it, you will permanently damage your teeth’s enamel.

By damaging your enamel, you not only expose your teeth’s inner layers to harmful bacteria, but you reveal more of the dentin layer. The dentin layer is darker and can make your smile look more yellow – the reverse effects of teeth whitening.

One sure way of knowing if a dental product is safe or not is to see if it’s Opens new tab to ADA websiteADA approved with a Seal of Acceptance. As of today, charcoal toothpaste is not ADA approved.

According to the Opens new tab to JADA websiteJournal of the American Dental Association, there is “insufficient clinical and laboratory data to substantiate the safety and efficacy claims of charcoal and charcoal-based dentifrices.” It also stated there would need to be more studies to prove whether or not charcoal toothpaste is safe and beneficial.

The best way to whiten your teeth

Even though charcoal toothpaste can remove surface stains, the abrasive consistency of it can end up doing more damage than good. Without enough research and the ADA’s approval, we recommend against using it. Your smile is not worth the risk!

But if you want to whiten your smile with safe, proven methods, then we recommend professional teeth whitening.

At our Midtown Manhattan dental office, you can whiten your smile up to eight shades lighter in about one hour!

Plus, we offer take-home whitening trays so you can maintain your white smile year-round.

We are conveniently located in Midtown Manhattan and serve our surrounding communities, including the Upper East Side, Midtown East, Central Park, and others.

To schedule an appointment for teeth whitening at our New York office, contact us by:


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