I’ve done a lot of travel in 2022, both internationally and domestically, with different groups of friends. As a grooming and wellness editor, I can’t help but notice what people are putting on their skin. A huge theme that seems to be across all my friend groups is the use of charcoal in their grooming products — I saw it in face masks, scrubs, but specifically, in their toothpaste.
As someone who has never used charcoal toothpaste, I wanted to find out why they enjoy it and stand by it. Funny enough, none of my friends really had an answer to the benefits, or a justification of why it’s better than Colgate — or other drugstore toothpaste. I couldn’t help but think they hopped on the charcoal train because it was trending. So I set out to do the research by myself.
What is charcoal?
The specific charcoal found in grooming products and toothpaste, activated charcoal, is a fine grain powder derived from wood and other natural substances that oxidize with extreme heat. It’s used to absorb and remove toxins. In toothpaste, it’s said to remove those stubborn surface stains or yellowing on the teeth. But is it safe?
Can you use charcoal toothpaste daily?
Short answer, no. It’s a bit too abrasive for enamel, and can cause serious wear and tear. If your enamel starts to wear, it will expose more of the yellow tissue underneath, while simultaneously making your teeth more sensitive. If you would like to use charcoal toothpaste, dentists suggest looking for one that has fluoride in it to help protect your teeth against cavities and decay.
Research is still being done to discover its effect on whitening. People tend to use it due to its claim of improving bad breath, but if you’re looking for teeth whitening, always go with the over-the-counter products (whitening toothpastes, whitening strips, in-office whitening, dentist-supervised, at-home whitening) approved by the ADA: American Dental Association.
Cool, and are there side effects?
As for side effects, some claim that charcoal can get stuck in the cracks of teeth, and leave stains or lining due to its rich dark color. More studies must be done to determine if there are any additional side effects. Instead, you could try home remedies of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, or apple cider vinegar.
In addition, go in for regular in-office cleanings, brush twice a day, and avoid meals or beverages that could stain teeth (coffee, tea, and red wine). As always, speak with a dentist for customized treatment.