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Charcoal toothpaste has really taken off in the last few years. But did you know that the use of charcoal in oral hygiene dates back to 27 BC when Romans used charcoal powder as a toothpaste ingredient? The Greek physician Hippocrates also recommended using charcoal to improve oral health.

Today, more and more people are now turning to activated charcoal to whiten their teeth, including celebrities like Drake and Nicole Scherzinger of The Pussycat Dolls.

With so many different brands and types to choose from, however, shopping for charcoal toothpaste can be a little overwhelming. But don’t fret! We’ve put together the best charcoal toothpastes to help you find the perfect one for your pearly whites.

Important Factors to Consider in Charcoal Toothpastes

To help pick the right charcoal toothpaste for you, you’ll want to keep these important elements in mind.

What Type of Charcoal Toothpaste Should You Buy?

When you think of toothpaste, you probably think of the standard paste that comes in a tube. While many charcoal toothpastes come in paste form, that’s not the only type available on the market right now.

  • Powder: Brushing with a powdered version is definitely an unusual experience. It can also be a bit tricky since the ingredients aren’t contained in a paste, which may create more mess than normal. However, the powder form tends to have fewer ingredients, so it can be a good option for those who are trying to avoid products that contain too many ingredients.
  • Paste: The idea of brushing with charcoal powder can be a little overwhelming, which is why the majority of charcoal toothpastes come in paste form. By making it look and work just like a regular toothpaste, some of the anxiety resulting from using an unfamiliar product is relieved.
  • Pill: This is ideal for those who want a more compact version, especially those who travel a lot since they can easily take out a couple of pills and store them safely in a pill organizer or a tiny container. They also tend to come in more sustainable packaging. In this list, we focus on powders and pastes, but if you’re curious about trying a charcoal toothpaste pill, you may like these Crush and Brush Toothpaste Tablets.

Choosing the Right Charcoal Toothpaste for Your Teeth

Now that you know the different types of charcoal toothpaste, you can start narrowing your options by comparing the features, pros, and cons of the products you’re interested in trying. Here are the main factors you should consider when comparing the best charcoal toothpastes:


Ingredients in charcoal toothpaste vary a lot depending on the product. Some products only have a few ingredients, while others have a long list of ingredients. You should always check the ingredients to make sure the product is safe for use.

Charcoal toothpastes, no matter the brand, will have some amount of activated charcoal. It’s a good whitening agent, but its abrasiveness can cause tooth sensitivity. If you have sensitive teeth, it’s better to pick a toothpaste with a small amount of activated charcoal.


In paste form, charcoal toothpaste has a grittier texture than your regular toothpaste, although products that only have a tiny amount of activated charcoal feel smoother. You’ll have to decide whether you prefer a smoother product that is slower at whitening, or a grittier, more abrasive product that whitens teeth faster.

Powdered charcoal is also gritty, but some of the best charcoal toothpastes are ground so finely that you won’t feel this gritty texture at all.


Charcoal toothpaste comes in a variety of flavors, with mint being the most popular. If you don’t like mint and can’t find a flavor you like, Black Pearl Activated Charcoal might be a good option since it doesn’t really taste like anything.


The main purpose of charcoal toothpaste is to whiten teeth, so naturally, you should be looking for something that will give you that intended effect. However, this may come with an unwanted side effect, like raw gums or sensitive teeth, so it’s good to find a good balance. If you often suffer from tooth sensitivity, it may be a great idea to pick something that’s not as effective at teeth-whitening, but also isn’t as rough or abrasive, like Colgate Essentials with Charcoal.

Safety Concerns

There are a few important things you should know before buying your first charcoal toothpaste. One is that there’s not enough scientific evidence to prove that charcoal toothpaste whitens teeth. Many charcoal toothpastes also lack fluoride, the ingredient that protects your teeth from decay. And as mentioned before, charcoal toothpaste is abrasive, which can cause tooth erosion and other oral problems.

If you want to learn more about the possible negative effects of charcoal toothpaste, check out our detailed looked at its potential drawbacks here.


In many cases, it makes sense to try and get the bigger version of a product, or even a multi-pack. This usually translates to saving more money, after all.

But when you’re trying a product out for the first time, it might make more sense not to get too much of it, just in case it doesn’t work for you. Charcoal toothpaste normally isn’t suitable for daily use, so depending on what you get, it may last a few months.

Where the Toothpaste Is Made

The country of origin of a product or its ingredients is probably not something you actively think about when buying toothpaste. And that’s fine if you’re just buying your regular toothpaste. With charcoal toothpaste, you have to be more careful since it’s a relatively new industry.

If your oral health isn’t in tip-top shape, try to stick to products that are made in the USA, Canada, Western Europe, or Australia, as these countries are generally stricter in regulating their products.

Now that you know what to look for in a charcoal toothpaste, let’s jump into the best options on the market today.

Top 10 Best Charcoal Toothpastes 2020


Hello Activated Charcoal Toothpaste

#1 Hello Activated Charcoal Toothpaste

Best Overall Charcoal Toothpaste:

Why we like it: It’s made in the United States, cruelty-free, and excellent at whitening teeth. It also has a reasonable price.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Price: Budget
  • Type: Paste
  • Amount: 4 oz
  • Flavor: Sweet, mint

Dominating the charcoal toothpaste industry is Hello Activated Charcoal toothpaste, a vegan product that’s both PETA-recognized and Leaping Bunny Certified. It’s made in the USA, so your mind can be at ease knowing that the product is made with safe and carefully-selected ingredients. It’s easy on the budget too despite being a top performer.


The activated charcoal in this Hello toothpaste comes from bamboo, which is one of the most sustainable and cleanest sources of the substance. The fact that it retains its very dark color even as it’s foaming makes it apparent that there’s more activated charcoal present in it than normal.

Like many charcoal toothpastes, it doesn’t come with fluoride, which means it doesn’t protect against cavities. If you like having fluoride in your toothpaste, you can try Colgate Essentials with Charcoal or Crest 3D White instead.

Moreover, it doesn’t have artificial sweeteners or flavors, dyes, peroxide, alcohol, or microbeads. It doesn’t have any added bleaching agents either, which can be tough on your teeth when activated charcoal is already present. What it does have is coconut oil, tea tree oil, and xylitol.

Texture and Flavor

Thanks to the coconut oil and other ingredients, this toothpaste has a nice gel texture that makes it a breeze to brush with despite having a higher amount of activated charcoal. The mint flavor could be stronger, but at least it doesn’t taste bad or overwhelming.


Hello Activated Charcoal toothpaste shows incredible results even after just a few uses. In just a few weeks your teeth will be several shades whiter, but it may cause some teeth sensitivity as a result, so avoid brushing with it daily even though it claims to be safe for everyday use. Furthermore, because of its dark color, it can get really messy so you have to be extra careful when spitting.


  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Efficient teeth-whitener
  • Reasonably-priced
  • Good texture


  • May cause sensitive teeth
  • Messy

Colgate Essentials with Charcoal

#2 Colgate Essentials with Charcoal

Most Enamel-Safe Charcoal Toothpaste:

Why we like it: Colgate Essentials with Charcoal is mild enough that you can use it every day, plus it has fluoride so your teeth will be protected from cavities.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Price: Budget
  • Type: Paste
  • Amount: 4.6 oz, two-pack
  • Flavor: Mint

Colgate joins the charcoal toothpaste industry with its Colgate Essentials with Charcoal toothpaste. A leading toothpaste brand in the United States, it’s hard not to trust Colgate with your teeth. Even more so when its charcoal toothpaste continues to receive stellar reviews despite having such a low price point. If you’re looking for a trusted charcoal toothpaste brand that won’t break the bank, this is the one.


Colgate Essentials with Charcoal doesn’t have all-natural ingredients, but it is vegan if that’s something you care about. Unlike your average charcoal toothpaste that uses activated charcoal as the main ingredient, there’s only a tiny hint of activated charcoal in this Colgate alternative. This makes it the mildest option for your teeth and the safest option for those struggling with tooth erosion. It’s even safe for daily use, which isn’t very common among the best charcoal toothpastes.

To compensate for the small amount of activated charcoal, Colgate has infused this toothpaste with micro-polishers that help with removing unwanted substances from your teeth.

Colgate Essentials also comes with fluoride, which will further protect your teeth from cavities.

Texture and Flavor

Because there’s only a little bit of activated charcoal in the toothpaste, the texture is thin and smooth, and it also dissolves faster than other charcoal toothpastes. The gray color and thin texture make cleanup easier and faster than other charcoal toothpastes as well. The mint flavor is alright, and might just taste like average toothpaste to you. It may leave a strange aftertaste though.


Due to its small amount of activated charcoal, Colgate Essentials with Charcoal is a lot slower in showing results. But this shouldn’t be a problem unless you want whiter teeth overnight. It doesn’t irritate your gums after use or give you sensitive teeth, which means it can almost replace your regular toothpaste.

There’s a chance it may leave you with a dry mouth. To avoid that, just drink a glass of water after brushing.


  • Low price
  • Contains fluoride
  • Enamel-safe
  • Can be used daily


  • Slower results
  • Weird aftertaste
  • Dry mouth

Black Pearl Activated Charcoal

#3 Black Pearl Activated Charcoal

Best Premium Charcoal Toothpaste:

Why we like it: An organic and all-natural option, Black Pearl does a great job at whitening teeth without causing sensitivity.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Price: Premium
  • Type: Powder
  • Amount: 1 oz
  • Flavor: None

Black Pearl Activated Charcoal isn’t just one of the best charcoal toothpastes around; it’s also the best in powder form. At around $8 per ounce, it’s one of the more expensive options you’ll find, but since you’ll only need very little of it, it should last a few months.


Made in the USA, Black Pearl boasts organic and all-natural ingredients. The main ingredient is activated coconut charcoal, which is the purest and finest form of food-grade charcoal. Black Pearl contains bentonite clay, an absorbent substance that helps with removing teeth stains. It also contains sodium bicarbonate, an antibacterial compound that has alkaline properties that help neutralize the pH in your mouth.

Texture and Flavor

Black Pearl doesn’t taste like anything, which can be good or bad depending on how you like it. If flavor is a big deal to you, Dental Expert Charcoal Toothpaste has a great mint flavor. As for the texture, it’s chalky at first, but it goes away instantly once you start brushing.


Maybe because it’s in powder form, but this toothpaste makes your teeth noticeably whiter in just a few weeks. It doesn’t cause tooth sensitivity either, and may even treat it instead. It also manages to freshen your breath even though it doesn’t have peppermint or an equivalent ingredient. The only problem is that since it’s a powder, it tends to get everywhere when you’re not careful.


  • Whitens teeth in just a few weeks
  • Freshens breath
  • Good for sensitive teeth


  • Can get messy
  • More expensive

Dental Expert Activated Charcoal Toothpaste

#4 Dental Expert Activated Charcoal Toothpaste

Best Charcoal Toothpaste Kit:

Why we like it: Featuring great texture and flavor, this toothpaste is almost as pleasant to brush with as regular toothpaste despite activated charcoal’s notoriety for having a gritty texture.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Price: Mid-range
  • Type: Paste / Kit
  • Amount: 4 oz
  • Flavor: Mint

The Dental Expert Activated Charcoal & Coconut Oil toothpaste’s tagline, “Nature’s Whitening Toothpaste,” emphasizes its use of all-natural ingredients, with no artificial colors or chemicals. The easily-recognizable sleek black tube has a dent in the cap that makes the lid extremely easy to open—a feature unique to Dental Expert.

Since this product comes with a toothpaste and a tongue scraper, it’s a good starter kit if you’ve never tried charcoal toothpaste before. The toothbrush looks nice, too, and comes with a cover for the bristles!


Just like Hello Activated Charcoal toothpaste, the activated charcoal in Dental Expert also comes from sustainable bamboo. It doesn’t have bentonite clay or other bleaching agents, making it a milder option than many toothpastes on the market. Other notable ingredients in the toothpaste are coconut oil and peppermint.

Texture and Flavor

Thanks to the coconut oil present in the toothpaste, it has an almost creamy texture that makes it easy and pleasant to brush with. The mint flavor tastes rather great as well, and does a good job of hiding the taste of the other ingredients. Not only that, but it also keeps your breath fresh for hours. If we had to find a flaw, the almost-creamy consistency makes it kind of weird to spit out.


Depending on the shade of your teeth or how stained it is, you can start seeing results within a few days to a few weeks. It works on crowns and implants as well. Unfortunately, you might go through the tube pretty quickly since it requires more than the average amount to brush your teeth. It can also cause a mild throat irritation—perhaps due to the amount used—but the chances are minimal.


  • All-natural ingredients
  • Great flavor and texture
  • Comes with a toothbrush and tongue scraper


  • Tube may run out faster
  • May cause throat irritation

Crest 3D White

#5 Crest 3D White

Best Budget Charcoal Toothpaste:

Why we like it: It may not show noticeable results right away, but it’s gentler on the teeth and cheaper than its competitors.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Price: Budget
  • Type: Paste
  • Amount: 4.1 oz, three-pack
  • Flavor: Mint

Crest 3D White may be one of the cheapest charcoal toothpastes on the market, but it does not disappoint. It’s one of the few charcoal toothpastes that can be used twice a day, so if you’re looking to replace your regular toothpaste, this might be your best bet. Just two things to note: first, avoid accidentally swallowing excessive amounts of it as it can be toxic, and second, the tube is cheaply-made and breaks easily.


Crest 3D White uses a gentler formula to help prevent the usual side effects of charcoal toothpaste. It also has fluoride, so it will strengthen your enamel and fight cavities. It does have artificial ingredients and chemicals, so you might want to skip it if you’d prefer all-natural ingredients.

Texture and Flavor

It tastes just like any other toothpaste. The texture is fine too, probably since there isn’t a huge amount of activated charcoal in it, as evidenced by its smooth, black and white striped paste.


Just like Colgate Essentials with Charcoal, Crest 3D White is a bit slower in showing results, but your teeth will become slightly whiter with everyday use. Because it’s really mild compared to other charcoal toothpastes, you won’t have to worry about tooth sensitivity after brushing.


  • Low price
  • Gentle on the teeth
  • Can replace your regular toothpaste


  • Can be toxic when swallowed
  • Slow results

My Magic Mud Toothpaste

#6 My Magic Mud Toothpaste

Most Kid-Friendly Charcoal Toothpaste:

Why we like it: It’s effective at teeth-whitening and can be used by children.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Price: Mid-range
  • Type: Paste
  • Amount: 4 oz
  • Flavor: Peppermint

Marketed towards people of all ages, My Magic Mud charcoal toothpaste is manufactured by a family-owned business in Texas. Out of all the products we’ve rounded up, it’s the only one that claims to have undergone testing according to the American Dental Association’s (ADA) standards. Just like Crest 3D White, it can be used twice daily.

The tube design can be mildly inconvenient as the spout doesn’t really stick out enough, making it a bit harder to get the paste out of the tube.


The company takes pride in using vegan, cruelty-free, all-natural, and non-toxic ingredients. It doesn’t have fluoride, so children should use it alongside a regular toothpaste to prevent cavities.

Texture and Flavor

There’s nothing special about the flavor, but it’s not unpleasant. The texture is great and less abrasive than its competitors—as expected from a charcoal toothpaste that can be used by children. The consistency is a little thin, so you might need to stay at the sink the entire time in case you need to spit early.


My Magic Mud will make your teeth a few shades lighter in just a couple of weeks, but it won’t irritate the gums nor will it cause sensitive teeth. It really is a safe option for children. However, they would need to be supervised so it doesn’t get too messy.


  • Safe for children
  • Doesn’t cause tooth sensitivity
  • Can be used twice a day


  • It’s hard to get the paste out
  • Thinner consistency

Beaueli Activated Charcoal

#7 Beaueli Activated Charcoal

Best Activated Charcoal Toothpaste:

Why we like it: It is 100% activated charcoal, so it’s the least likely to be toxic or harmful to your health.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Price: Premium
  • Type: Powder
  • Amount: 2.1 oz
  • Flavor: None

Beaueli Activated Charcoal is another excellent charcoal toothpaste in powder form. Like other highly-rated charcoal toothpastes, it is organic, all-natural, vegan, and cruelty-free.


Beaueli is one of the few charcoal wellness products out there that only contains activated charcoal. This makes it a suitable option for those who want to try charcoal toothpaste but are on the fence because of all the added ingredients.

Texture and Flavor

Surprisingly, this product tastes fine even though it doesn’t have the ingredients that normally mask the charcoal flavor. Depending on your taste buds, it can taste a little bit like charcoal or nothing at all. As for the texture, the powder is so fine that you won’t feel any grittiness at all.


Beaueli Activated Charcoal whitens teeth in as little as one use and doesn’t cause any tooth sensitivity despite being 100% activated charcoal. However, it can be very harsh on your gums, so you’ll have to avoid brushing with it too often. Another problem with this product is that it can create a huge mess. In fact, it’s so messy that we recommend using it in the shower for easier cleanup.


  • 100% activated charcoal
  • Great texture for a powder
  • May whiten teeth in one use


  • May cause gum soreness
  • Extremely messy

Cali White Activated Charcoal

#8 Cali White Activated Charcoal

Most Health-Conscious Charcoal Toothpaste:

Why we like it: Clearly made with health-conscious consumers in mind, Cali White is all-natural, vegan-friendly, organic certified, and non-GMO. It’s also cruelty-free and made in the USA!

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Price: Mid-range
  • Type: Paste
  • Amount: 4 oz
  • Flavor: Sweet peppermint

With over 22,500 ratings on Amazon, Cali White Activated Charcoal is one of the most popular charcoal toothpastes you will find. Not only does it use all-natural ingredients, but it’s also made in the USA, vegan-friendly, organic certified, and cruelty-free.


Cali White is kind of like a combination of all the best charcoal toothpastes. It has certified organic coconut oil, sodium bicarbonate, tea tree oil, and diatomite or diatomaceous earth, an abrasive substance that adds to the cleaning power of the toothpaste.

Texture and Flavor

This toothpaste has a slightly sweet flavor thanks to xylitol. It uses peppermint oil to provide that minty taste, but it may be a little too strong for the average user. The texture isn’t the best, so it will take some getting used to.


Cali White does whiten your teeth with regular use, but it also causes sensitive teeth, so it should be used with caution. It doesn’t foam as much as other charcoal toothpastes so you will need to use more of it, which also means it’ll run out faster.


  • All-natural, vegan and cruelty-free
  • Effective whitener


  • Causes tooth sensitivity
  • Strong flavor
  • Runs out faster

Tom's of Maine Activated Charcoal Toothpaste

#9 Tom's of Maine Activated Charcoal Toothpaste

Most Socially-Conscious Charcoal Toothpaste:

Why we like it: You can whiten your teeth and give back to the community at the same time!

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Price: Budget
  • Type: Paste
  • Amount: 4.7 oz, three-pack
  • Flavor: Peppermint, mild

Manufactured by a Maine-based, Certified B Corp company that prides itself in employing sustainable, responsible and natural practices, Tom’s of Maine charcoal toothpaste uses all-natural and mild ingredients to achieve the best results. 10% of the company’s profits also go towards humanitarian and environmental causes, so if you want to whiten your teeth and at the same time, give back to the community, Tom’s of Maine will be able to help you with that.


Tom’s of Maine charcoal toothpaste is free from artificial colors and flavors. Like the Colgate and Crest options, it has fluoride, so won’t have to worry about getting tooth decay.

Texture and Flavor

The toothpaste’s texture is similar to your regular toothpaste, but the peppermint flavor is barely there. It can taste a little odd since it’s not entirely masking the flavor of the other ingredients.


Tom’s of Maine charcoal toothpaste whitens teeth with regular use, but it can also cause tooth sensitivity in some people. Since you’ll get three tubes, you’ll get a lot of it. If it doesn’t work out for you, you’ll be stuck with all three 4.7-oz tubes. On the bright side, you can temporarily use it as your regular toothpaste since it’s very mild.


  • All-natural and sustainable
  • Good texture


  • Can cause sensitive teeth
  • Odd flavor
  • Amount is too much

Active Wow Charcoal Toothpaste Bundle

#10 Active Wow Charcoal Toothpaste Bundle

Best Variety Pack:

Why we like it: It comes in both paste and powder forms, so you get to try both at once and figure out which type you like better.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Price: Mid-range
  • Type: Paste and powder bundle
  • Amount: 4-oz paste, 2-oz powder
  • Flavor: None

Active Wow goes above and beyond by allowing customers to buy not just the paste or the powder, but both types in one bundle. Also based in the United States, Active Wow uses a great combination of natural ingredients.


Both products contain activated coconut charcoal, sodium bicarbonate, and organic coconut oil, but the rest of the ingredients are different. The paste contains xylitol, diatomite, tea tree oil, and natural flavors. On the other hand, the powder contains bentonite, orange seed oil, and a mint flavor.

Texture and Flavor

The powder is fine enough that it’ll feel like a lense dense version of baking soda. Even though it claims to have a mint flavor, it doesn’t really taste like anything. The paste doesn’t have a flavor either, although the texture could be improved.


Both products do whiten teeth with regular use, but it’s not meant for everyday use, so you might not be able to see the results for weeks. They’re both gentler on the teeth though so tooth sensitivity won’t be an issue. The powder is just as messy as other powdered charcoal toothpastes, so you’ll need to spit carefully.


  • Comes in both powder and paste
  • No flavor
  • Gentler on the teeth


  • Slow results
  • Messy

Guide to Buying the Best Charcoal Toothpaste

Still have questions about charcoal toothpaste? In this full guide, we’ll dive into everything you need to know to buy and use charcoal toothpaste with confidence.

What Is Activated Charcoal?

Activated charcoal is the result of heating fine carbon powder—which is typically obtained from coal, bone char, sawdust, and burnt coconut shells—in the presence of a gas. This shouldn’t be confused with the charcoal used to light your barbecue. They’re not the same thing, and you should definitely not grind regular charcoal and brush your teeth with it.

Apart from charcoal toothpaste, activated charcoal is also used in other wellness and beauty products, including face masks and scrubs, deodorant, shampoo, and facial cleanser.

Before activated charcoal became an ingredient in everyday use products, it was, and still is, often used as a poison antidote. It is also sometimes used to treat overdoses of prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications. Other uses for activated charcoal include improving kidney function, reducing cholesterol levels, and treating acne.

But activated charcoal’s influence doesn’t stop there. In the last few years, it has gained popularity as a food ingredient as well, which you’ve probably seen on your social media feed in the form of black ice cream, a black latte or black burger buns.

Benefits of Brushing With Charcoal Toothpaste

Activated charcoal is mainly sought-after for its whitening abilities, although the best charcoal toothpastes provide other benefits as well.

Removes Surface Stains

Activated charcoal doesn’t whiten teeth the way a lot of people expect it. Instead of changing the overall color of your teeth, what it normally does is that it removes unwanted substances from the surface of your teeth. Think of teeth stains caused by smoking, berries, coffee, wine, soda, and other teeth-staining foods and drinks. If you’re looking to whiten your teeth, Tom’s of Maine Activated Charcoal Toothpaste may be a great option for you.

Once common charcoal becomes activated charcoal, it becomes more porous. These pores act like magnets that attract dirt and other substances. When you wash it off, all the substances that stuck to it are washed away along with it. This process, called adsorption, is explained in detail here.

Balances the pH of the Mouth

Saliva has an average pH of 6.7, with the normal range being 6.2-7.6. When it gets lower than that, the bacteria that are responsible for tooth decay and gum disease start to thrive. If you regularly drink acidic drinks like soda and fruit juices, expect to have a more acidic environment in your mouth. By brushing with charcoal toothpaste, you can raise the pH level of your mouth, which may help prevent cavities and gum disease.

Freshens Breath

There are many things that can cause bad breath, such as your diet, poor oral hygiene, dry mouth, smoking, digestive issues, and prescription medicine. If you have bad breath but can’t seem to figure out what’s causing it, it’s most likely being caused by a buildup of bacteria in your mouth.

If you brush with activated charcoal, not only will it raise your mouth’s pH and kill the bacteria in your mouth, but it will pull out bad odors from your teeth which may be causing bad breath. Some of the best charcoal toothpastes also have powerful ingredients that can give you fresh breath, so if you want that added benefit, make sure to take a look at the ingredients.

If fresh breath is a primary concern of yours, check out Black Pearl Activated Charcoal.

A Closer Look at the Effects of Charcoal Toothpaste

It can be hard to question the effectiveness of charcoal toothpaste, especially when so many people swear by it, and sales of charcoal toothpastes keep rising. But many experts have warned against using activated charcoal to brush your teeth. Some have expressed concerns about its effectiveness, while others have cautioned about its negative side effects.


The answer to whether charcoal toothpaste is effective at whitening teeth can vary from dentist to dentist. There are dentists who actively promote it, but there are also dentists who only have bad things to say about it. Even the best charcoal toothpastes aren’t exempt from criticism.

According to University of Maryland experts, there’s not enough evidence to prove that charcoal toothpaste does whiten teeth, even as customer reviews continue to sing it praise. These experts reviewed 118 articles on the topic and published their findings in the Journal of American Dental Association in 2017.

The review found that 96% of the products studied claimed to whiten teeth, with 46% claiming to have the ability to detoxify teeth. The thing is, while you may be able to detoxify your internal organs, there’s no such thing as detoxifying your mouth—at least not yet.

There is, however, a 2019 study that found activated charcoal to have whitening abilities. Published in the Journal of Applied Oral Sciences, the study involved staining 90 cow teeth with black tea and then using a variety of teeth-whitening agents to whiten the teeth.

While activated charcoal wasn’t the top performer—nor was it in the top three—it did manage to do some whitening. But unlike what many brands of charcoal toothpaste claim, this didn’t happen immediately. Activated charcoal had to be used continuously for four weeks for it to finally show some results.

This one small study may influence you to put your faith in charcoal toothpaste, but you should know that there may be negative consequences as well:

Tooth Erosion

It’s no secret that charcoal toothpaste is abrasive. Apart from its ability to adsorb stains, its abrasiveness also plays a part in whitening teeth. By wearing away the stained enamel, the teeth start to appear whiter.

While this might be good at first—especially since it’s the intended result—it can be a problem in the long run. Eventually, your enamel becomes so worn out that it will start to expose the yellowish dentin within your teeth, making your teeth appear more yellow instead of white. Once this happens, no whitening agent can reverse the effects, and you’ll need veneers if you want whiter teeth.

Tooth Decay

Charcoal toothpaste can cause tooth decay in two ways. First is that once the enamel has thinned due to the abrasiveness and the dentin is exposed, your teeth become more susceptible to decay. Second is through the weakening of the teeth due to the lack of fluoride.

Regular toothpaste usually contains fluoride as a main ingredient. It strengthens your teeth, which in turn reduces cavities and helps repair the early stages of decay. Fluoride is also found in other sources like tap water and even the ocean, but the amount you get from these other sources isn’t enough to strengthen your teeth.

Toothpaste needs to have 1350 to 1500 parts per million (ppm) of fluoride to be able to protect your teeth. Regular toothpaste has that amount, but a lot of charcoal toothpastes don’t have fluoride, which means they won’t protect you from cavities. Luckily, among the best charcoal toothpastes are a few products that contain some amount of fluoride.

Tooth Sensitivity and Other Concerns

Tooth erosion doesn’t only lead to tooth decay, it also causes tooth sensitivity, or “dentin hypersensitivity.” Once the dentin is exposed, the teeth will be more sensitive to hot and cold foods. In some cases, they will even be sensitive to air.

Other potential risks of charcoal toothpaste include accumulation of stains due to dentin loss, gum inflammation, trauma due to charcoal settling in between the gums, and gum recession.

How to Properly Use Charcoal Toothpaste

Learning how to use charcoal toothpaste properly will prove to be extremely advantageous. Not only will you get the intended results, but it will also help you avoid the unwanted effects of activated charcoal.

The rules of brushing with charcoal toothpaste are as follows:

  1. Gently brush your teeth in a circular motion for two minutes or the time prescribed on the tube or box it came in. Don’t brush too hard as this can damage the enamel of your teeth.
  2. Don’t forget to brush your tongue, and try to add flossing to this routine.
  3. Rinse your mouth thoroughly when you’re done. It may require a few rinses to completely get rid of the charcoal particles.
  4. To avoid making a mess, empty the contents of your mouth into a cup instead of the sink.
  5. Rinse your toothbrush and your sink.

For more specific instructions relating to the type of charcoal toothpaste you’ll be using, see below:

  • Brushing With the Paste: Squeeze a pea-sized amount on the bristles of your toothbrush. You only need a little tiny bit of it, and a little really does go a long way with charcoal toothpaste.
  • Brushing With the Powder: Dampen the bristles of your toothbrush. You can run it under the water for a few seconds but make sure to tap out the excess water. Next, dip the head of your toothbrush into the tub. You want some of the powder to stick to it, but you don’t want it covered all the way. The powder form can be even more abrasive than the paste form, so you have to be careful not to use too much.
  • Brushing With the Pill: Place a pill in your mouth and crunch it up between your teeth to create a paste. Wet your toothbrush and brush as usual.

How to Brush If You Have Problems With Tooth Erosion

If you’re experiencing any tooth erosion, follow these steps to brush your teeth with charcoal toothpaste:

  1. Rather than scrubbing your teeth with a brush, smear the paste or dampened powder on your teeth and let it sit for five to ten minutes.
  2. Rinse your mouth thoroughly.

Frequency of Usage

The recommended frequency is no more than once every other week, but if you really have to use it once or twice a week, you can—just remember that it can come with unwanted consequences. Also, never do it for more than three days a week. Otherwise, you might end up endangering your oral health.

This doesn’t apply to products with mild ingredients, or those with very little activated charcoal. If a product says it’s safe for daily use, you’re free to use it every day. But you should use it less frequently if your teeth start to feel sensitive.

If after using charcoal toothpaste you experience any unusual symptoms, like extreme tooth sensitivity or incredibly raw or bleeding gums, you should stop using charcoal toothpaste immediately. If these symptoms don’t go away after a few days, make an appointment with your dentist.

Does Charcoal Toothpaste Stain?

Thanks to its unique, dark color, you may be curious if charcoal toothpaste can stain your mouth, teeth, or bathroom. Luckily, we have the answers!

  • Mouth: To avoid any unwanted surprises, we’re just going to say it now: brushing with charcoal toothpaste can turn your entire mouth black. It can be quite startling but don’t worry, it won’t stain your tongue, teeth, lips, or the surrounding area, unlike red wine.
  • Clothing: Charcoal toothpaste can stain clothes, so you should be careful not to get any of it on your clothes. Be gentle when spitting the contents of your mouth out so it doesn’t splash everywhere. Better yet, wear your older, more worn-out clothing before brushing, and just change into your work clothes or nicer clothes when you’re done. If you somehow get it on your clothing, don’t panic—there’s a way to get the stain out. You can click here for more information.
  • Sink: The chances of charcoal toothpaste staining your sink are low, but it may still happen. There have been incidents of it staining grout and bathroom fixtures. If you want to prevent this from happening, just put down a bunch of washcloths or paper towels on the sink before you brush.

What If You Swallow Charcoal Toothpaste?

Even as we actively try to avoid swallowing toothpaste, accidents do happen, so there’s a chance that you’ll swallow charcoal toothpaste. But don’t worry—charcoal toothpaste is safe to ingest. As mentioned before, activated charcoal is used to treat a variety of health problems, and is often ingested to treat these same problems.

If you swallow charcoal toothpaste, it’ll most likely just work its way through your digestive tract, and perhaps bind to some toxins along the way.

How to Achieve Best Results

To get the most out of your charcoal toothpaste, keep these tips in mind:

  • Use the appropriate toothbrush. Whether you use a manual or electric toothbrush doesn’t matter. What’s important is that you use a toothbrush with soft bristles so you don’t damage the enamel of your tooth.
  • Avoid teeth-staining food when possible. This can be quite challenging since old habits are difficult to break, but if you drink a lot of teeth-staining beverages like coffee, maybe it’s time to cut back (it would be healthier for you, too).
  • Visit your dentist. You don’t need to get your teeth cleaned twice a year if you don’t want to, but you should at least visit your dentist once a year to ensure your oral health is optimal.

Final Thoughts

Everyone dreams of having whiter teeth, and you will be one step closer to achieving it by using charcoal toothpaste. Just make sure you take your time making the right choice. After all, just because the product you’re considering is one of the best charcoal toothpastes on the market doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for you.

And even if the first one you pick doesn’t end up working for you, don’t lose hope! You could always try a different product and see if that works.