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Are Charcoal Toothpastes Really Effective?

We live in a society that is always looking for better ways to do things— especially when it comes to health concerns. This drives us to try all sorts of substances and procedures. One of these recent attempts at whitening teeth and boosting oral health is a charcoal toothpaste.

The Claims

Advertisements say that charcoal toothpastes whiten teeth. They even claim to have antibacterial and antifungal attributes. The hope is, with all of these features, that charcoal toothpastes can improve your oral health while giving you the shiny smile you want.

People find the idea appealing, especially when comparing the cost of a toothpaste to a whitening treatment at your dentist’s office. It simply seems too good to be true, which it is.

Debunking the Claims

Recent reviews in the British Dental Journal, as well as the Journal of the American Dental Association, show that claims made by those selling charcoal toothpastes are baseless. These reviews even suggest that brushing with charcoal toothpastes can be harmful to your health.

These reviews were conducted on a wide selection of clinical trials and studies on the effectiveness of charcoal toothpastes. Studies found there were no benefits to using charcoal toothpastes.


Toothpastes that contain charcoal often lack fluoride, a substance that has been proven to reduce your risk of cavities. Missing out on this mineral can increase your risk for dental decay.

Furthermore, they found that these toothpastes cannot deliver on claims of antibacterial or antifungal claims, so they cannot improve your oral health or reduce the risk of decay. More than a lack of benefits, researchers found that using charcoal toothpastes can be harmful to your health.

Potentially Harmful

Charcoal toothpastes may actually stain your teeth because charcoal is a darkly colored substance. These toothpastes can also irritate the gums.

Patients with dental work like fillings should be especially cautious if considering a charcoal toothpaste. The fine charcoal particles can get in between the dental work and the tooth to cause damage.

The study reported in the Journal of the American Dental Association even found that one of the charcoal toothpastes contained betel leaves. These leaves have been linked to oral and esophageal cancer, which is especially worrisome.

Why Are People Using These Toothpastes?

These toothpastes are being touted by celebrities in conjunction with marketing gimmicks. When celebrities talk about the benefits of certain products, it legitimizes them in the minds of consumers. These consumers may not realize that there are harmful effects.

Marketing gimmicks appeal to a consumer’s desire to save money and find a cure-all at the same time. These goals are certainly understandable, but charcoal toothpastes pose more risks than benefits to oral health.

Safe Ways to Whiten Your Smile

Talk to your dentist about various treatments he offers, which can often be conducted in the comfort of your own home or through a short in-office treatment. Your dentist may even be able to recommend other products you can use to maintain that bright white smile.

Talking to a dentist can be especially helpful when you are not sure what has caused your tooth discoloration. Various toothpastes and whitening treatments may be ineffective when injury or decay have dulled your smile somehow.

Whatever your smile goals, we recommend tagging in a professional for treatment that is safe and beneficial for your oral health.

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