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Activated charcoal has become a popular ingredient in many health and beauty products in recent years, including teeth whitening products and DIY methods. Ads for activated charcoal toothpaste, powders, and charcoal-infused toothbrushes have flooded social media feeds, promising dazzlingly white teeth with just a few uses. But is activated charcoal teeth whitening truly effective, and what potential risks does it pose for our oral health? In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the science behind activated charcoal, teeth staining and prevention, and the truth behind its teeth whitening claims.

young woman brushing her teeth with a black tooth paste with active charcoal, and black tooth brush in her bathroom

The Science behind Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal is a fine black powder made from carbon-rich materials processed under high temperatures with gases. It is called activated because its surface area is increased, allowing it to bind to and trap toxins and chemicals through adsorption. However, this exact mechanism of adsorption can also trap essential vitamins and minerals from our body when used internally, which is why the consumption of activated charcoal must be done with caution or under the guidance of a medical professional. When it comes to teeth whitening, the adsorption properties are said to remove surface stains on teeth. Despite its potential benefits, using activated charcoal teeth whitening products is not without its risks. Because it is an abrasive substance, it can wear down tooth enamel over time, leading to sensitivity and decay. Moreover, activated charcoal may interfere with fluoride absorption, which is critical for preventing cavities and keeping teeth strong.

Teeth Staining and Prevention

There are three types of teeth staining: extrinsic, intrinsic, and age-related. Extrinsic stains occur on the tooth’s surface due to the buildup of pigments from food, drink, or smoking. Intrinsic stains occur within the tooth due to damage or trauma that affects the dentin. The third type, age-related staining, combines extrinsic and intrinsic staining as enamel thins with age. Good oral hygiene practices such as brushing twice daily, flossing, rinsing with mouthwash, and getting regular dental cleanings can prevent extrinsic staining and minimize the effects of intrinsic and age-related staining. Also, avoiding certain foods and drinks that cause extrinsic staining, such as tea and coffee, can help.

Activated Charcoal Teeth Whitening Claims

Charcoal has been used for centuries in various medical forms, including teeth whitening. However, while many claim it can whiten teeth, little scientific evidence supports this claim. The American Dental Association states that no evidence that activated charcoal is an effective ingredient in teeth whitening products or that it is safe for your teeth. Further, there is no regulation for activated charcoal products being sold for teeth whitening claims. Industrial-grade charcoal is used in some products, which is not meant for oral use. It may also be mixed with harmful substances like bentonite clay, lemon juice, and hydrogen peroxide, which can cause irreversible damage to teeth and gums. Other teeth whitening options, such as professional teeth whitening services or at-home whitening kits that contain hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, are supported by scientific research. While activated charcoal may seem like a quick, affordable solution to achieving whiter teeth, it is essential to prioritize good oral hygiene practices and consult a dental professional before trying new teeth whitening remedies. There is no substitute for regular brushing, flossing, and professional cleanings. Before buying an activated charcoal dental product, check with your dentist and confirm the product’s safety and effectiveness. If you want a safe, effective, and proven way to whiten your teeth, we recommend contacting We Whiten. Our team of whitening specialists offers a range of teeth whitening treatments and at-home products backed by science and years of experience. Visit our website to learn more and book your appointment today!