Wait, Is Charcoal Toothpaste Bad for You?

Toothbrush with black charcoal toothpaste on it.

We all want fresh breath and a pearly white smile; many people turn to super-trendy charcoal toothpaste to achieve that. Charcoal is a widely known ingredient in some face masks to help shrink pores, but to put it in your mouth and brush with it? Is that bad?

No, not really—but it can be unhealthy if used in place of your regular fluoride toothpaste.

Activated charcoal is an excellent tool for removing surface stains, cosmetic dentist Gregg Lituchy told Harper’s Bazaar, but not to whiten teeth (and there is a difference). Surface stains come from usual suspects like coffee, red wine, tea, and tobacco, whereas deeper stains come from within the tooth due to trauma and weak enamel.

It’s difficult to actually whiten teeth with any toothpaste, Lituchy adds.

The main downside to charcoal toothpaste is that most are formulated without fluoride, which dentists strongly recommend to prevent tooth decay. So, it’s better to look at activated charcoal as a supplement to brushing with regular, fluoride-infused toothpaste instead of using it on its own for daily brushing.

The bottom line: Use charcoal toothpaste a few times a week if you can’t live without the striking, black-mouthed look during the tooth-brushing process, but don’t expect it to be a magical all-in-one fixer to replace your everyday fluoride toothpaste.

You can also implement a tooth whitening kit into your everyday routine to take your pearly whites to the next level. Oh, and while we’re here, please don’t forget to floss.

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