Activated Charcoal Teeth Whitening - Does it Work?

Activated charcoal teeth whitening is trending topic, while we do not recommend using this product, let’s discuss what it is, safety and cautions of using it.

This type of charcoal is not the same as charcoal for grilling, it is a finely milled black powder that is processed with high heat, which “activates” it, changing its internal structure, making it more porous. This porous texture allows it to trap unwanted toxins and carry them out of the body, as activated charcoal cannot be absorbed by the body.

Is Activated Charcoal Teeth Whitening Safe?

Currently, activated charcoal has been FDA approved for teeth whitening, however, the ADA (American Dental Association) has not approved any products containing this ingredient. You can easily check the label of your dental products for the ADA stamp of approval. We always recommend only using products that have been approved by the ADA and have the below stamp of approval on their label.

Does it Work to Whiten Teeth?

While there is no definitive evidence, using activated charcoal on your teeth may be effective in absorbing plaque and other compounds that stain teeth. Meaning, the chemical properties of activated charcoal can be a natural teeth whitener. However, studies have shown conflicting evidence on this. Some studies have even depicted a rise in caries, enamel erosion and gingival recession, when using an activated charcoal product on the teeth.

Cautions of Using Activated Charcoal Toothpaste

While using an activated charcoal toothpaste may be a natural way of whitening teeth, you should be cautious when choosing a product ensuring that is not too abrasive. When selecting a product be sure to check Relative Dentin Abrasivity (RDA) score, the FDA recommends a score of 200 or below. Overly abrasive products can cause damage to the teeth and can lead to irreversible negative effects like eroding enamel. Always be cautious when selecting a new dental product.

Have more questions? Be sure to ask your dental hygienist and/or dentist on your next visit! Want additional information professional teeth whitening or other cosmetic dentistry procedures. Check out our article, "What is Cosmetic Dentistry?" to learn more!