Is Charcoal Toothpaste Bad for You? The Pros and Cons

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Author Name: Mia Barnes
Date: Wednesday February 21, 2024

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Wellness trends come and go, but some have roots in historic ingredients like charcoal. People have used it to better their health for centuries. Is charcoal toothpaste bad for you if it’s always been around? Check out the pros and cons before deciding if it’s the next addition to your dental routine.

What Is Charcoal Toothpaste?

Charcoal toothpaste is any toothpaste with activated charcoal as a primary ingredient. When decomposing plant remains burn, they turn into charcoal and become the powerful material known primarily as an energy source. Deactivating it by adding more oxygen transforms charcoal into a more absorbent material that purifies or detoxifies whatever it touches.

Rectangular blocks of charcoal sit in an unseen container. They're under bright light and have shades of light gray to dark gray.

Benefits of Charcoal Toothpaste

Toothpaste manufacturers often add charcoal as a secondary product for people seeking dental help. These are the primary benefits you could enjoy if you decide to use it at least once a week.

1. It Whitens Teeth

Researchers recently discovered that charcoal toothpaste whitens teeth as effectively as fluoride toothpaste with whitening ingredients. The purifying effects of the activated charcoal and abrasive texture scrub stains away with ease. People may try it if the ingredients in fluoride toothpaste aren’t as effective as they wanted.

2. It Freshens Your Breath

You may occasionally have bad breath if you don’t brush your teeth daily. Bacteria builds up in your teeth, along the gumline and over your tongue. It’s what causes the foul odor that makes people reach for breath mints. Activated charcoal toothpaste assists with that challenge too.

Charcoal is a naturally purifying substance due to its ability to bind with impurities. It acts like a sticky fly trap to the bacteria in your mouth, carrying it down the drain when you spit and rinse your toothbrush. Comparatively, toothpaste provides ingredients that fortify your teeth but don’t focus primarily on removing bacteria.

3. It Scrubs Plaque Away

Plaque is the slimy substance that may coat your teeth when you wake up. It can fortify into a solid mass along the gumline if you don’t have a daily dental routine. It’s challenging to remove without dental tools, but charcoal can help. The abrasive material is tougher on plaque than smooth toothpaste, so you’ll scrub more of the plaque away by using charcoal toothpaste.

A woman with long brown hair and a pink zip-up medical jacket stands in a dental office. She wears bright blue gloves and holds up x-ray results. The office has white walls and one wall with stripes. The furniture is white and the seat is blue. Three indoor plants are in the background.

Drawbacks to Brushing With Charcoal

There are a few notable downsides to using charcoal toothpaste that you should consider before trying it. They may change your mind about the tools you collect to protect your dental health.

1. It Absorbs Medicines

Doctors often recommend that their patients take prescriptions first thing in the morning or late at night. The side effects make one or the other better for the patient’s quality of life, but both options would require taking a prescription medication around the same time as a person would use charcoal toothpaste.

Charcoal sits in the digestive system and absorbs ingested medications because it purifies whatever substance it’s in. The medicine never reaches the person’s bloodstream. It could prevent your body from processing your prescription medication if you accidentally swallowed some of the toothpaste.

2. It’s Rough on the Gums

People can have sensitive gums for various reasons. They might have nausea during their pregnancy, which erodes the gums with potent stomach acid if the pregnant person vomits frequently. Individuals can also develop gum disease or have minimal gum development due to their genetics.

Charcoal is an abrasive material. The larger granules will tear at the gumline even with gentle brush strokes. It may cause excessive bleeding if you already have gum issues.

3. It Could Cause Constipation

Adults know not to swallow toothpaste, but sometimes it’s hard to spit all of it out. Regular toothpaste has ingredients that account for accidents like that. Activated charcoal is much different.

If someone accidentally swallows their charcoal toothpaste, it could cause constipation by absorbing the liquid in the colon. Your stool may also turn black, but that’s more common when people swallow things like charcoal beverages.

Best Charcoal Toothpaste Options

These are some of the most popular charcoal toothpaste options available to consumers. See what they could do for your dental health if you’re interested in trying it.

Colgate Optic White Toothpaste With Charcoal

Colgate is a well-known dental hygiene brand. They have numerous toothpaste products available for various health benefits, including whitening teeth with charcoal. The cool mint flavor may remind you of your previous toothpaste choices, while the fluoride strengthens your enamel.

This is a great option for anyone who wants to use charcoal toothpaste long-term. The affordable price includes two tubes, so you won’t run out anytime soon.

$11.93 from Amazon

Burt’s Bees Charcoal + Whitening Toothpaste

Try an all-natural charcoal toothpaste by opting for Burt’s Bees. The brand, known for organic lip balms and lotions, has a charcoal dental hygiene line with a subtle mint flavor. It has thousands of positive reviews for everything from its effectiveness to the brand’s commitment to never testing products on animals. It could align with your cruelty-free or vegan lifestyle and dental health goals.

$14.91 from Amazon

Sensodyne Charcoal Toothpaste for Whitening Sensitive Teeth

You might be familiar with Sensodyne if your dentist has ever recommended a specialized toothpaste for your sensitive teeth. The brand makes different types of toothpaste for people who have weakened gums or experience sharp pain when they brush with cold water.

The company’s charcoal product still sticks to its 24/7 sensitivity protection promise by using smaller granules. This deal includes a pack of three that are equally good at whitening and strengthening teeth. It’s an excellent place to start if you already rely on brands like Sensodyne to make your mouth more comfortable.

$20.99 from Amazon

A woman with long brown hair and brown skin sits on the ground in a sunflower field. She wears a yellow flowered dress, crosses her legs, and holds onto them. She's laughing and her eyes are closed, so the focal point is her bright, wide smile. Endless sunflowers are in the background under a gray sky.

Is Charcoal Toothpaste Bad for You?

Once you’ve weighed your options and potentially talked with your doctor, you’ll know if charcoal toothpaste is bad for you. It could eliminate your bad breath and whiten your teeth if you haven’t had much luck with traditional products. Consider the risks before making an educated purchase the next time you visit the dental hygiene aisle at your local grocery store.

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