While having whiter teeth has been long-sought-after by many people, using activated charcoal to brush with is a relatively new fad. The claim is that toothpaste containing activated charcoal can whiten teeth and rid the mouth of harmful bacteria.

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What is activated charcoal?

Charcoal is a type of carbon that is created by heating an organic material in the absence of air. It becomes activated once it is treated to become more porous and increase the surface area. This makes activated charcoal very absorbent.

What is activated charcoal used for?

Traditionally, activated charcoal is used in a medical setting to absorb toxins when treating poisoning or overdose.

How would it work to whiten teeth?

While no studies show that it is effective at whitening teeth, it potentially could be abrasive enough to remove some surface staining. 

What are the risks?

  • Charcoal products may be too abrasive to be safely used to brush your teeth. If a product is too rough, it can damage the enamel and increased tooth sensitivity.
  • Not all charcoal toothpaste contains fluoride, which is an essential ingredient for preventing cavities and keeping teeth healthy and strong.
  • There is a risk that the charcoal particles could get lodged under the gums and cause gum inflammation. Some black staining of the teeth or tongue may occur.

What do dental professionals think?

Dental professionals rely on scientific evidence when making recommendations to their patients. There is no evidence that charcoal toothpaste are safe to use or if they are even useful. 
Furthermore, due to its absorptive qualities, ingesting charcoal may affect nutrient absorption and interfere with any medications taken.

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Safer teeth whitening:

If you are considering whitening your teeth, it is a good idea to speak to a dental professional about your options. Those with sensitive teeth, gum recession or fillings and crowns on the front teeth may not be good candidates for teeth whitening. 
There is whitening toothpaste available that have been approved for use by the Canadian Dental Association. You can view the list here:


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Mississauga Dental Arts

(905) 286-1569

Mississauga, ON Dentist
Mississauga Dental Arts
350 Burnhamthorpe Road East #2
Mississauga, ON L5A 3S5
(905) 286-1569