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Whitening Teeth With Charcoal?

Posted by Bruce J Grimaldi, DMD on Feb 4 2017, 09:50 AM

My 16 year old daughter recently told me her friend bought this charcoal toothpaste for whitening your teeth on the internet and that it really worked.  Coincidentally, a patient asked me about it the very same day.  Not having heard of charcoal whitening toothpaste before, I did what anyone else would do nowadays (I did a google search).

As a parent and a dentist, I was much more interested in the safety rather than the efficacy of charcoal for whitening your teeth.

Although “activated charcoal” or “activated carbon” has been used for many years in the medical profession for treating poisoning with specific types of poisons, I could not find anything that validated its safe use for whitening teeth.

Three questions to ask about charcoal tooth whitening are:

1.  How abrasive is it to our teeth?

2.  Can it harm the gums and other soft tissues of the mouth (especially by binding to and removing organic components and thereby upsetting the natural balance)?

3.  Even if we are sure activated charcoal is safe to use for this purpose, do we trust that it is being used (vs regular charcoal) by the many internet companies that are selling it?

Furthermore,  the American Dental Association has not yet evaluated it’s safety and efficacy.

The bottom line – I would not risk using it myself until more is known about it’s safety, so I cannot recommend it for my patients yet.

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