Brush with Activated Charcoal Toothpaste Atlanta Dental Spadoctor king

The Truth About Activated Charcoal Toothpaste: Is It Safe for Whitening Your Teeth?

March 29, 2024

Activated Charcoal for Teeth Whitening: Miracle or Myth?

Activated charcoal is buzzing in the health and beauty scene, finding its way into a myriad of products from detoxifying smoothies to whitening toothpastes.

The most striking claim to fame? The ability to provide a natural, gleaming white smile.

Activated charcoal toothpaste promises a detoxifying cleanse that not only brightens your teeth but also claims to improve overall oral health.

Activated Charcoal for toothpaste in its raw form

But when it comes to oral health, is charcoal toothpaste for whitening teeth the miracle solution it's made out to be?

This is one of the most popular activated charcoal toothpastes. Should you use it?

The Rise of Activated Charcoal in Beauty and Health

You may have noticed activated charcoal is showing up in all kinds of health and beauty products these days—shampoos, face masks, deodorants, toothpastes, and even smoothies. Charcoal’s health claims include clearing up acne, easing hangovers, lowering cholesterol, and yes, whitening teeth.

Charcoal can be a great tool. Because your body can’t absorb it, it works like a sponge for toxins, pulling out all kinds of gunk to promote body and blood purification.

The Reality of Charcoal Toothpaste for Teeth Whitening

But is it the best option for tooth whitening? Not so much.

Why? If you’ve ever buffed a car, you may have noticed the cloth start to take on the same tint as your paint job—in addition to getting rid of any grime, the process removed a fine layer of paint. That’s exactly how whitening and activated charcoal toothpastes work: they abrade the top layer of your teeth to remove stains.

Activated charcoal toothpaste abrades your teeth just like car buffing compounds

Understanding the Abrasiveness of Activated Charcoal Toothpaste

The more abrasive a product is, the higher the likelihood it won’t just remove stains but also damage your teeth. Activated charcoal toothpastes can strip away protective enamel and affect the softer dentin.

Worse, tooth enamel doesn’t grow back. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Missing enamel leaves your teeth extra vulnerable to common stain culprits like coffee and red wine.

Activated charcoal toothpastes don’t list their abrasiveness on the packaging. Without knowing it, you could easily be treating your teeth with sandpaper in a tube. This is especially relevant for those with porcelain veneers. Just like your mom’s beloved dishes, veneers are glazed. The glaze prevents any stains from seeping in.

If you abrade away the glaze, the surface becomes more porous and you’ll find yourself in a catch-22: your veneers are now permeable to more stains, which will require more abrasion to remove.

How Abrasive is your Toothpaste?

The FDA developed a Relative Dentin Abrasivity (RDA) guide to help consumers determine how abrasive their favorite everyday dental products are.

The Relative Dentin Abrasivity (RDA) guide below shows just how much frequently-used toothpastes may be wearing down your teeth.

You’ll see baking soda—a common whitening agent—has an RDA of just seven, while activated charcoal toothpaste has an abrasivity rating of a whopping 90.

How abrasive is your toothpaste? Find out in this helpful chart.

Choosing the Right Toothpaste: Protect Your Smile and Dental Work

It’s crucial to choose your toothpaste carefully—particularly if you have veneers, crowns, or any other dental work at the front of your mouth, where stains are highly visible.

Anything below 50 on the RDA schedule is a great choice.

I like Arm and Hammer, which offers a number of toothpastes with low abrasiveness. For more significant results, you can always ask your dentist about tooth whitening treatments.

For a more in-depth look, view our article on the Which is the Best Toothpaste.

Baking soda and vinegar make a great alternative to activated charcoal toothpastes

How to make and use your own DIY non-abrasive toothpaste

Sometimes going old school is an excellent option, and that applies here, too.

Using a combination of baking soda and peroxide is a tried-and-true, non-abrasive DIY method that works. As a bonus, hydrogen peroxide is designed to be an “oral debriding agent,” meaning it can help clear up any micro-lacerations or gingivitis you may have and improve your breath to boot.

Simply mix two tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide with one tablespoon of baking soda to make a paste and brush with it.

As with many things in life, moderation is key: once a week is enough to give you results without wearing down your enamel.

Discover Professional Whitening at Atlanta Dental Spa

If you are looking for a professional teeth whitening solution, Atlanta Dental Spa has two options tailored to meet the unique needs and schedules of our clients.

Our In-Office "Boost" Whitening Treatment, which provides immediate noticeably whiter teeth, and our Custom Take-Home Whitening trays, which offer convenience and consistency, are both perfect solutions to brighten your smile.

Visit our Teeth Whitening page for a detailed exploration of our offerings and discover how Atlanta Dental Spa can transform your smile and boost your confidence with our state-of-the-art whitening treatments.

Learn more at your next dental check-up

Do you still have questions about the right toothpaste or about other dental health trends you’re seeing on Instagram?

Make an appointment at Atlanta Dental Spa and talk with your dentist. You’ll learn more about how you can have a better life through better dentistry!