Oral & Vision Health Blog

Does charcoal toothpaste really work? We tested it!

Charcoal products are invading your newsfeeds—it’s one of the latest health and beauty trends. In addition to charcoal face masks, charcoal soap and charcoal deodorant, it’s also in the toothpaste aisles.

Charcoal has its well-tested place in the medical realm, helping to manage poisoning and overdosing. But how does it work for your teeth? It’s supposed to whiten your teeth and eradicate bad breath, all while being an all-natural solution. It comes in a regular toothpaste style or a powder form (both black in color). We tried both to see what the fuss was all about.

Charcoal Toothpaste

It’s a little alarming putting black toothpaste on your toothbrush after all sorts of horror stories of it staining teeth, but I committed to trying it. I powered through past the appearance and went for it.

Taste and Texture: As someone who relies on a full mouth of mint to feel like my teeth are clean, the charcoal toothpaste didn’t pass muster. One of the herbal ingredients in the toothpaste was cloves and that heavily influenced the taste. When done brushing, that was the taste that lingered. Normally a taste like that would make me brush my teeth a second time, but during the three days of testing, this was all I was using. The texture was just like regular toothpaste, which I was relieved to discover. I can only handle so much change.

Effectiveness: Does charcoal toothpaste really work? My teeth seemed to be somewhat whiter and brighter. A few people would comment--knowing that I was testing out the charcoal toothpaste-- that my teeth seemed whiter—even after having breakfast and drinking coffee. As far as breath—there was no discernable difference. I, personally, didn’t notice any difference and no one commented—so at least my breath didn’t get worse!

Charcoal Powder

This one was messy and had a lot of steps. You had to spoon (comes with the powder) some of it into your hand, wet your toothbrush and then dab the toothbrush in the powder. The problem with this is maintaining your coordination and making sure you’re not getting the powder everywhere. Once you brush with the powder, you are supposed to then brush with regular toothpaste or just some water. You also then had to deal with scrubbing your hand to get black powder remnants off and then wipe down the sink.

Taste and Texture: This has no taste. It was a bit perplexing because after trying the toothpaste, I was expecting the same kind of taste, or just a taste and to have none was surprising. But, after disliking the taste and aftertaste of the toothpaste, it was a bit of a relief. Plus, per the directions, I could use my regular toothpaste afterwards, so I got my minty fresh mouth that I had been missing.

Effectiveness: I found this to whiten better, but I cannot 100% connect that to the powder. As I was using regular toothpaste to finish up per the instructions, that could have also played a part. I wanted to feel like my teeth were clean, and water just wasn’t cutting it. I didn’t feel any impact on my breath with this version either. Again, no one made any comments either way, so I’m not sure that was changed at all.

Verdict: The toothpaste was easier than the powder, but I found the taste off-putting and the results were not drastic enough for me to switch from my regular routine.

Overall, I liked the powder better than the toothpaste, despite all the extra steps and mess. I wasn’t spending much of the morning worried that my teeth weren’t clean. It felt more satisfying overall. However, the number of steps would deter me from switching over permanently.

If you are looking for a more natural solution, charcoal toothpaste or powder are good options, depending on personal preference. There is some concern about the abrasiveness of the powder with continuous use

As with any new oral care regimen, be sure to consult with your dentist before beginning. If you don’t have a dentist or a dental plan, it’s time to get one! Not sure which plan is right for you? Download our free dental plan selection guide!

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