When you hear people talk about activated charcoal for teeth whitening, they’re not just picking up the remains of burnt wood and rubbing them on their teeth.
Although activated charcoal has some of the same properties as barbeque charcoal, they are not the same thing.
Activated Charcoal: What Is It?
Activated charcoal is a black powder that’s actually made from many different things, like coconut shells, olive pits, coal, and several other materials. And then it’s reheated and oxidized, and therefore activating it.
This means that it becomes more porous, allowing it to trap substances you don’t want on your teeth. Plus, it has a natural adhesive ingredient that make it bind to the things that stain your teeth, like plaque.
It first gained popularity in the 20th century, although it was first used medically in 1834. An American doctor used activated charcoal to counteract the effects of ingesting mercury chloride. The doctor actually saved the life of a patient by making them consume some charcoal.
And people came to discover that one of the other uses of activated charcoal was brushing your teeth.
Activated Charcoal For Teeth Whitening
The idea of activated charcoal for teeth whitening sounds promising and backed by science, but does it actually work? Or is it only good in theory?
Does Charcoal Whiten Teeth?
Ever since humans discovered that charcoal could whiten teeth, a whole industry has formed around it. Today, lots of people use activated charcoal to brighten up their smile.
One thing to note: no scientific evidence exists that activated charcoal will actually whiten your teeth. And while FDA has approved it for many health-related issues, the American Dental Association has not approved any sort of products that include activated charcoal.
On the other hand, there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that it works. People who brush their teeth with activated charcoal notice a difference before and after (and have pictures to prove it). And it makes sense — the chemical properties of this charcoal have a whitening effect and it does pull plaque from your teeth. Less plaque means less stains which means whiter teeth.
How To Whiten Teeth With Charcoal
So if you want to give it a try, how should you use it for teeth whitening? It’s actually pretty simple.
Get a clean toothbrush and wet it with water. Dip the brush into the activated charcoal powder or dump the capsule of charcoal on the brush. Quickly place the brush into your mouth and begin brushing. Brush in small circles for two minutes using light pressure. Then spit and rinse thoroughly.
An alternative to this method is to mix some charcoal powder with water and use that concoction to rinse.
Is Charcoal Teeth Whitening Safe?
Some people suggest that activated charcoal is dangerous because it’s too abrasive for use on your teeth. This is a legitimate concern as tooth enamel does not regrow or heal itself, so using a substance that could rub off enamel is worrisome.
Then when you go to choose the right charcoal powder or charcoal toothpaste, make sure you check its level of abrasiveness. You can even show your dentist the charcoal you want to get and see what they think.
One way to cut down on the roughness of the paste of powder you’re using is to smear it on your teeth rather than brushing it on. This will decrease the risk of the substance damaging your enamel while still whitening your teeth.
Charcoal Teeth Whiteners
Now we should talk about the two main ways you can use activated charcoal on your teeth: powder and toothpaste. It really comes down to your preference which you choose.
In the next section, we’ll look over the best products for both options.
Best Charcoal Teeth Whitening Products
Choosing the right charcoal-based teeth whitening product is difficult, so we’ve reviewed some of the best ones to help you decide. We’ll mainly be judging them based on the actual users’ experiences.
We’ll look at the two main types of activated charcoal products: toothpaste and powder.
Best Powders With Activated Charcoal
This powder claims to show results after just the first use, promising a cleaner feeling mouth and less discoloration and stain. It’s also completely safe for your teeth, containing no artificial ingredients and plenty of organic substances.
As of this writing, 97% of the Amazon reviews are five stars. This one is definitely a good option if you’re concerned about using chemical-based charcoal powder.
Lavinso says that if you use this teeth whitening powder for 30 days, you’ll see results. And like the other powders listed here, it uses natural ingredients and no harmful chemicals. It’s also 100% vegan and uses organic coconut.
One Amazon reviewer saw a difference after “only three days,” and another said she noticed her teeth were whiter after 10 days.
This teeth whitening powder also has no chemicals, like bleach or fluoride. It uses organic activated bamboo charcoal, which is said to be extra effective in pulling grime from teeth that’s been present for years. And it’s food grade, meaning it’s meant for safe for sensitive teeth and gums.
Ninety-three percent of Amazon reviewers gave it a 5-star rating, including one skeptical person who said, “This stuff is AWESOME.”
Best Toothpastes With Activated Charcoal
Toullfly’s teeth whitening charcoal toothpaste is also breath freshening, adding to the confidence you could feel. On top of this, it claims to deter tooth decay and improve your gum health, thanks to its “ultra-micro activated bamboo-charcoal hydronium.”
Currently, all 26 reviewers on Amazon have given this product five stars. So it seems to be a great choice if you’re looking for a charcoal-based toothpaste.
If you need help repairing your enamel and gums on top of whitening your teeth and refreshing your breath, this toothpaste might be a good option. And the natural coconut extract provides an additional layer of protection.
However, this one is not as popular among reviewers. Just 87% of users gave it five stars, which is good, but not as good as the other options on this list.
Also using natural and organic ingredients, Dental Expert’s charcoal toothpaste whitens teeth and helps bad breath. And this particular kind is mint flavored, so it feels like your using the standard toothpaste you’re probably used to.
Out of the nearly 3,000 Amazon reviews, just 77% of them are five stars and 12% are four stars. So it’s the least popular on this list, but still a good option.
The Final Word
After speaking with your dentist on the specifics of charcoal teeth whitening, it’s definitely worth trying out. Especially if you’re concerned about the chemicals inside the more common teeth whitening options, like whitening strips and paint.