West 85th Dental
8561 8A Ave SW Calgary AB T3H 0V5 (403) 246-5545

(587) 355-4332

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Does Charcoal Toothpaste Actually Work?

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The use of charcoal in various medical forms is not new. You’ve probably seen countless different toothpaste manufacturers releasing their version of a charcoal toothpaste with claims that it whitens your smile. But is there any truth to charcoal toothpaste whitening our teeth?

Many things can stain our teeth—some we can control, others we can’t. Either way, it’d be nice if we could pick up a tube of charcoal toothpaste and make stained teeth a thing of the past.

If you are struggling with discoloured teeth, it’s a good idea to visit your dentist for an exam before trying anything. Sometimes it’s as simple as too much coffee or tea causing the staining, but other times there could be more at play that a dentist can advise you on.

Understanding Different Teeth Stains

To understand whether charcoal toothpaste works for whitening teeth, first, we need to discuss a couple of different types of tooth stains.

Extrinsic Teeth Stains

These are stains on the surface of our teeth. Excessive consumption of coffee and tea are common causes of these surface stains, and tobacco use is another common culprit for them. Typically, this type of stain can be dealt with easily with a proper dental cleaning or whitening toothpaste.

Intrinsic Teeth Stains

These are stains that have penetrated below the surface of the tooth. Tooth trauma or disease can cause these deep stains within the enamel. Also, some medical treatments or medications can contribute to them.

Professional whitening treatments or chemical teeth-whitening products are often needed to deal with an intrinsic stain because a whitening toothpaste alone won’t penetrate your tooth’s enamel.

Does Charcoal Toothpaste Work?

The short answer to whether charcoal toothpaste works is yes, and no. According to a study published by the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA), some evidence suggests charcoal toothpaste can successfully remove surface stains.

However, that same study discusses a significant potential risk of using charcoal in various forms to brush our teeth. Using charcoal excessively can cause damage to the tooth’s enamel because of its abrasiveness. And once enamel is gone—it’s gone for good.

Not only that, but many kinds of charcoal toothpaste don’t include fluoride, which is an important part of healthy teeth and gums. Just because a company markets a product as “all-natural” doesn’t automatically mean it’s better.

Charcoal toothpaste used in moderation and in conjunction with an approved toothpaste can contribute to a healthy mouth. But don’t expect the magic bullet for whiter teeth in a tube of “all-natural” charcoal toothpaste.

A toothbrush with charcoal toothpaste on it, sitting next to charcoal and part of an aloe leaf

Alternatives to Charcoal Toothpaste for Whitening Teeth

Teeth whitening is not new, and fortunately, there are several options available that aren’t charcoal toothpaste.

  • Whitening toothpaste: Trusted brands like Crest and Colgate offer toothpaste formulated to keep your teeth and gums healthy and offer the benefit of whitening.
  • Professional Whitening: Some dentists provide a whitening service. This may be the best option if you struggle with deep stains versus surface stains.
  • Strips: Whitening strips are another option that can help with surface stains and some deep stains.

Natural Alternatives

If you really want to stick with natural options, there are a few. These are not as effective as the abovementioned, and you’ll want to discuss them with your dentists to ensure they’re right for you.

Is Charcoal Toothpaste Right for You?

Ultimately, not enough clinical studies have been completed to give a solid answer one way or the other on the validity of charcoal toothpaste effectiveness. But in the few completed studies, the cons of using charcoal toothpaste as your only toothpaste seem to outweigh the benefits.

Contact our office today if you’re still wondering if charcoal toothpaste is right for you. Let the helpful staff at West 85th Dental answer any of your questions.


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  • Written by Dr. Raman Minhas

    Dr. Minhas was born and raised in Calgary, and after completing his dental training at the University of Alberta in 2008, returned home to practice. He opened West 85th Dental with Dr. Kaloti in 2013 and has now been practicing dentistry for over ten years.

    Dr. Minhas enjoys all aspects of general dentistry, from pediatric dentistry to surgical dentistry. When he is not working Dr. Minhas enjoys spending time with his wife Laurie and four children.

    More Articles by Dr. Raman Minhas

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