The Latest DIY Whitening Trend: Charcoal Teeth Whitening

You might already heard about Charcoal teeth Whitening. You might as well seen videos of women brushing their teeth with black toothpaste showing up online for the past year or so. Many claims that their teeth are whiter using charcoal tooth.


The logic is that the porous charcoal absorbs toxins, bacteria and stains. Therefore, we see all kinds of activated charcoal products for teeth, skin and overall health. So what’s the verdict about these so called “whitening” and “detoxifying” claims about Charcoal toothpaste?


Activated charcoal is very similar to the regular charcoal you can fire up your barbecue with for your backyard party. However, it is specifically processed and used for medical applications. It’s created by heating at extreme temperature that creates large pores in fine power for. Due to its negative ionic charges and porous textures, the activated charcoal can mildly bind to positively charged toxins. Non-activated charcoal is also extremely dangerous. This means that self-administered charcoal comes with hazardous potential effects that are much more damaging to the entire body- not just the teeth!

Activated charcoal is more traditionally used to treat intestinal gas, cholestasis during pregnancy, and lower cholesterol levels. It is odourless, tasteless, and can be purchased from health food stores and pharmacies in the form of tablets. Some claims that it can be used as an antidote for medication overdose and toxins.


The reported claims emphasize that the activated charcoal may bind to plaque and stain on teeth, making it easier to remove the discoloring substances. Once the charcoal has been given enough time to stick to your teeth, it can be removed. (brushing for 3-5 minutes) Many also reports it helps “detoxify” the mouth and teeth due to its binding affect mentioned above.

However, the biggest concerns around charcoal toothpastes are their unknown effects, according to Dr. Oh. Some medical professionals believe that it might lead to teeth erosion and enamel deterioration, as reported in Journal of American Dental Association. Others opt out of rooting for the substance because there simply is not enough evidence that argues for the supplement as beneficial. Some even developed more caries and while one case perhaps have benefited from their study.


Charcoal Toothpaste

Abrasion – Abrasion is defined as a wearing away, grinding or scraping by friction. In dentistry, it is the wearing away of surface tooth structure by friction with another surface or material. This is one of the dangers of DIY whitening trends that use rough, coarse or abrasive materials to polish superficial stains off of enamel. Very mild abrasion is the mechanism of action of whitening toothpastes; they contain small, coarse particles that clean the surface stains from the outer layer of enamel. If the wrong material is used (something that is too coarse), or if an approved material is used in the wrong manner (using an ADA approved whitening toothpaste with a hard toothbrush in aggressive motions), rather than simply removing surface stains, you can actually remove enamel! Removing enamel will make the teeth thinner, weaker, more sensitive, and ironically, yellower over time.

Acid erosion – Acid erosion is the gradual destruction of tooth structure by the chemical action of acid on enamel. Dentists see severe acid erosion on patients who have a habit of sucking on lemons or patients with bulimia. Acid erosion of teeth can also be a complication of acid reflux or GERD. Many of the DIY whitening techniques recommend using acidic fruit juices or fruit pieces, which over time, can cause acid erosion on the teeth.


Dr. Stella Oh

Activated charcoal is safe to ingest, however the abrasiveness of the toothpaste can be a concern and lack of proper double blind cross sectional study lead us thinking that patients should not rely on this new trend as a sole method of whitening and brushing.

Our recommendation is that:

  1. Proper exam– have proper exam and cleaning prior to whitening
  2. Discuss with Dr. Stella Oh for the types of teeth Whitening.
  3. Follow up after Whitening treatment and Recare

Dr. Stella Oh suggests that diluted hydrogen peroxide and baking soda would be the only DYI home whitening option rather than other trendy options.


Madison Avenue Dentists

Discuss your ideas with Dr. Stella Oh and Dr. Ash Estafan. They will be able to advise you on which specific techniques may be safe for you and which could be especially dangerous.

They can also answer any questions about the safety and effectiveness of professional teeth whitening offered at Madison Avenue Dentists, PC. Please comment or call us if you have any questions.


* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.