Bamboo toothbrush and charcoal toothpaste

Learn the Pros and Cons of This Toothpaste Trend

Charcoal toothpaste has become particularly trendy among patients recently. Some like the sleek look of the black paste, while others believe it is beneficial to their oral health. In reality, charcoal toothpaste isn’t as promising as you might hope. The trendy toothpaste can unleash a ton of negative effects on your oral health, and we recommend avoiding it.

Read below to learn more about the problems that charcoal toothpaste creates, and check out our recommendations for what you should look for instead.

What is Charcoal Toothpaste?

You might think of charcoal as an item specifically used for grills and barbecues. In reality, the black powder (or solid rock-type material) is used for a number of health-related treatments. Specifically, these use activated charcoal: this is a type of carbon that is processed at a high temperature. It is used in anti-poison treatments, skin care products, and most recently, toothpaste.

Why Charcoal Toothpaste Should Be Avoided

We get that charcoal toothpaste looks cool, and it’s easy to get excited about a new, trendy product. Unfortunately, charcoal toothpaste has too many drawbacks. Ultimately, we recommend staying away from charcoal toothpaste for the following reasons.

Limited Impact on Cleaning Teeth

You may see charcoal toothpaste marketed as more effective than regular toothpaste, or you may have seen someone praising it on social media. The most trustworthy sources, however, are not as keen on charcoal toothpaste’s ability to clean your teeth. A 2019 study published in the British Dental Journal found that many of the claims made by charcoal toothpaste manufacturers cannot be proven. In other words, take caution before believing that this type of toothpaste will radically change your smile.

Doesn’t Give You Teeth a Deep Whitening

The packaging that charcoal toothpaste comes in often promises to give your teeth a thorough whitening. In reality, these pastes usually only whiten surface stains, and don’t contain enough bleaching agents to whiten beneath the surface – only treatment from a professional dentist can do that.

Damage to Your Enamel

Toothpastes usually contain at least one ingredient acting as the “abrasive” – this is what makes the paste effective in removing dirt and food particles from your teeth. However, not all abrasives are safe. Charcoal toothpaste in particular can be harsh, and it can damage the enamel on your teeth.

Particles Caught in Gums

Due to the nature of the material, particles can break off from the charcoal toothpaste, and get stuck in your teeth crevices and gums. No matter what toothpaste you use, you should floss daily to ensure that particles don’t inflame your gums.

No CDA Seal of Approval

If you’ve ever checked the packaging of an oral health product, you would have noticed that plenty of claims are being made. The Canadian Dental Association, or CDA, tests these products to ensure that they can actually do what they claim to. Charcoal toothpastes are typically not approved by the CDA.

Limited Testing Done So Far

Since charcoal toothpaste is a fairly new product, it’s ultimately too early to draw any major conclusions about it. For that reason, we recommend sticking to regular toothpaste, which is more than enough to clean your teeth and protect your smile.

What You Should Look For Instead

Plenty of the tubes on shelves at your supermarket or drugstore have everything you need from a toothpaste. These are the most important qualities to look for.


We often call fluoride “the magic ingredient” in toothpaste. This mineral has a ton of benefits to your oral health: it kills harmful bacteria, protects enamel, prevents cavities and gum disease, and so much more.

CDA Seal of Approval

As we’ve mentioned above, the Canadian Dental Association tests out oral hygiene products to ensure that they deliver on their promises. Look for the CDA seal of approval on the packaging of your toothpaste to make sure that you can trust what you’re putting on your toothbrush.

Safe For Enamel

Enamel is the outer layer of your teeth that offers protection to the rest of your smile. Certain abrasive products – like charcoal toothpaste – are so harsh that they can weaken your enamel. Whitening products in particular often brighten surface stains at the expense of your enamel. Look for products that are safe for enamel, and consider seeing a dentist for professional whitening in order to safely brighten your smile.

Tartar Control

Plaque buildup leads to tartar, which hardens onto your teeth and around your gums. Regular brushing and flossing should prevent this, but you may choose to use a toothpaste that helps even further. Look for a toothpaste that offers assistance with tartar control if you are concerned about facing buildup.

We understand that it’s exciting to see new trends pop up in the world of oral hygiene. Charcoal toothpaste seems promising to many consumers, but we ultimately do not recommend using it. Instead, choose a toothpaste that is CDA-approved, is safe for enamel, and contains fluoride.

If you ever have any questions about the oral hygiene products that you use, don’t hesitate to speak to your dentist. We are happy to help you achieve the brightest, healthiest smile you can!