Lifestyle |6 min read

Is Charcoal Toothpaste Safe to Whiten Teeth? (What You Should Know)

Is charcoal toothpaste safe?
It’s the latest trend throughout the United States: Whitening teeth with charcoal toothpaste.

But the question everyone should be asking is:

Is charcoal toothpaste safe to use? And will it cause more harm than good to my smile?

In our blog, we’ll address:

  • If there’s evidence proving charcoal toothpaste is safe
  • What toothpaste you should use
  • What you can do to safely whiten your teeth
  • How to avoid staining your teeth

Is charcoal toothpaste safe?

We took a look three reviews from respected media literature who asked this very question. Here’s what they said:

From PopSugar:

Noting the prevalence of health and beauty products containing charcoal, PopSugarNew page opens to this news article (3/7, Shiffer) questions whether using charcoal toothpastes to whiten teeth is safe. “Just because something is popular doesn’t mean it’s safe,” said Ada Cooper, DDS, a spokesperson for the American Dental Association. “Charcoal toothpastes often contain a variety of ingredients, and the safety of those ingredients hasn’t been established.” The article notes that a literature reviewNew page opens to this news article published in The Journal of the American Dental Association found insufficient evidence to support the efficacy claims of charcoal products. In addition to claims that charcoal toothpaste may actually harm teeth.

“Charcoal is recognized as an abrasive mineral to teeth and gums,” Dr. Cooper explained. “Using materials that are too abrasive can actually make your teeth look more yellow, because it can wear away the tooth’s enamel and expose the softer, yellower layer called dentin.”


WBBH-TVNew page opens to this news article Fort Myers, FL (5/30, Polansky) stated that although “activated charcoal has been dubbed ‘black magic’ for skin care, makeup, and even toothpaste,” dentists, like Dr. Phillip Kraver of Cape Dental Care, are “saying that charcoal toothpaste can actually do more harm than good to teeth.” Dr. Kraver said, “I don’t currently recommend charcoal toothpaste to my patients, mainly because it’s not proven to be safe or effective.”

In addition, the Florida Dental Association said in a statement:

“There is no evidence that shows dental products with charcoal are safe or effective for your teeth. While this method claims that scrubbing your teeth with ingredients like activated charcoal or charcoal paste will bring a shine back to your smile, using materials that are too abrasive on your teeth can actually make them look more yellow.”

The article noted that a reviewNew page opens to this news article published in The Journal of the American Dental Association said there is “insufficient clinical and laboratory data to substantiate the safety and efficacy claims of charcoal and charcoal-based dentifrices.”

From Detroit Free Press:

The Detroit Free PressNew page opens to this news article (6/24, Shamus) reports on the dangers of charcoal toothpaste and powders, “which claim to brighten smiles using activated charcoal.” However, Dr. Amanda Sheehan, a dentist with Oakland Family Dental in Waterford, said:

“The American Dental Association came out with a statement warning people not to use it until there was more research to substantiate it.”

She said that “as a dentist,” she would “never use” charcoal toothpaste nor let anybody in her family use it. Instead of relying on a whitening product, she recommends avoiding colored drinks, such as cola or coffee, because “they are both acidic and dark.”

JADANew page opens to this news article provides additional information on charcoal and charcoal-based dentifrices.

As you can see:

Most dentists do NOT recommend charcoal toothpaste because of its lack of evidence and the possibility of it doing more harm than good to your smile.

What kind of toothpaste should you use?

You don’t have to fret.

There are toothpastes that not only help your oral health but whiten your teeth as well.

When you select a toothpaste, it’s recommended to find one with ADA Seal of Acceptance with whitening attributes. Toothpastes with the ADA Seal verifies the product is safe and effective.

Get a complete list of toothpastes here:

List of Toothpastes

What can you do to safely whiten your teeth?


Getting your teeth whitened from a dental professional is always the best method.


  • The agents used in professional teeth whitening can produce quality, consistent results
  • Your Waldorf dentist can supervise the entire treatment for the best results
  • Your team can address any tooth sensitivity issues you may have

That’s not all:

There are safe home remedies you can use to safely whiten your teeth. You can visit ADA’s consumer website for evidence-based information about teeth whitening, including information on natural teeth whitening methods.

Natural Teeth Whitening Methods

How to avoid staining your teeth

Dull, yellow teeth usually happen from eating and drinking foods and beverages that cause staining.

What foods and drinks can stain your teeth?

InsiderNew page opens to this news article (10/16, Mitrokostas) states there are “plenty of common foods and everyday habits” that may stain teeth, and coffee, tea, and red wine are among “some of the worst offenders.”


There are ways to prevent your teeth from staining.

In the New York TimesNew page opens to this news article’ (5/26, Herrera) Sunday “Smarter Living” newsletter, writer Bethany Biron discusses preventive steps you can take to avoid the “dreaded wine mouth.” ADA spokeswoman Dr. Ruchi Sahota recommends “brushing your teeth right before going out to help rid teeth of plaque, which dark, acidic beverages like red wine and coffee thrive on.

She said, “Enamel is one of the hardest substances in our body, but it’s extremely susceptible to acid,” adding, “while drinking, try not to swish wine or hold it in your mouth for longer than you need to. Sip it and swallow.” Dr. Sahota also suggests drinking wine from a straw “if you’re feeling especially cautious.”

You can visit the ADA website for additional information on what causes teeth to change colorNew page opens to this news article.

Interested in whitening your smile?

Schedule a consultation with Dr. Bradley Olson to find out if teeth whitening is the best solution for you.

We offer individualized dental services to the Southern Maryland communities, including Waldorf, Brandywine, Mechanicsville, La Plata, Accokeek, and Hughesville.

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