Charcoal Toothpaste Can “Detox” Your Mouth—But Is It Safe?

Oral persuasion.

By Caitlin Clark
Black woman holding green juice while smiling.

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The oral microbiome may not get as much attention as the skin’s or the gut’s, but it’s equally important to your overall health. As biologic dentist Gerry Curatola says, “Your mouth mirrors what is happening in your body.” And since charcoal has become as buzzy in the toothpaste world as probiotics have for gut health, we sought to answer once and for all: does charcoal toothpaste actually work? 

Like the type of charcoal you’ll see in face masks, the activated ingredient is known for its absorbent, detoxifying nature. Many also swear by charcoal’s whitening powers, though its slightly abrasive texture may not be as good for your teeth in the long run—not to mention the state of a porcelain sink.

To get our many questions about the inky teeth trend, we tapped board-certified nurse practitioner and functional medicine expert Taylor Dukes.

Featured image by Belathée Photography.

Blonde woman smiling wearing white jumpsuit holding bowl of oatmeal.
Image by Michelle Nash
Taylor Dukes

Taylor Dukes is a functional medicine provider and board-certified family nurse practitioner whose passion is helping client feel, look and perform their best.

How does charcoal toothpaste promote oral health?

Charcoal toothpaste is made with activated charcoal. Activated charcoal is a form of carbon
that’s been heated and processed. This heating process creates “pores” in the carbon. These
pores are medically beneficial for absorbing toxins and other harmful substances from the body.

In the case of the oral cavity, charcoal-based toothpastes are effective for detoxifying the mouth
and tissues as well as pulling surface stains out of the pores of the teeth.

Is it beneficial to use charcoal toothpaste every day?

You may have heard that it’s not good to brush with charcoal toothpaste daily. Is that true? Well, it

If you’re using a high-quality charcoal toothpaste, you shouldn’t have to worry about
contraindications of daily use. If you do find, however, that your gums become more sensitive or
irritated, you can alternate your brushing between a high-quality charcoal toothpaste and a high-quality remineralizing toothpaste.

Blonde woman smiling while applying lip gloss in white marble bathroom.
Image by Michelle Nash

How long does it take for charcoal toothpaste to whiten teeth?

While some people will begin to see the whitening effects of charcoal toothpaste in as little as a
week, most people begin to see whitening results from charcoal toothpaste within two to three weeks of

What are the cons of charcoal toothpaste?

Just like most products on the market, charcoal toothpaste varies vastly in its quality from brand
to brand. In particular, charcoal can differ in grade, particle size, and source depending on which
brand of charcoal toothpaste you use.

Inferior quality charcoal toothpaste may feel gritty or scratchy. Daily use of one of these lesser-quality charcoal toothpastes can be damaging to the teeth because of how highly abrasive they
are. Over time, the abrasiveness may wear down tooth enamel.

For that reason, you’ll want to be sure the charcoal toothpaste you’re purchasing has had third
party studies done to verify the safety of daily use of the toothpaste and/or holds USP
certifications, making it pure and safe for everyday use.

On another note, charcoal is extremely dark and can easily stain whatever it contacts! You’ll
need to rinse out your sink well after brushing with charcoal, and you’ll want to have care that
you don’t spill, drip, or splash on clothing—or anything else!

Davids Natural Whitening Charcoal Toothpaste

Dukes’ pick for a high-quality, non-toxic charcoal paste.


Black woman wearing blue nightgown smiling while washing face in bathroom.
Image by Michelle Nash

What is the best way to whiten teeth?

First, prevention is the best medicine. When talking about the oral microbiome, I cannot help but
point out the benefits of eating a real, whole foods diet. Cutting out sugars and processed foods
is perhaps the most impactful step you could possibly take for the health of your teeth and entire

Next, if you’re a coffee or tea drinker, it’s a good idea to brush immediately following your warm
sip. Not only will it clear your oral cavity of the acidic residue left from the beverages, but it’ll
keep stains from absorbing and setting in your teeth.

And yes, I do love brushing with a charcoal toothpaste for the purpose of whitening your teeth.
But you want to be sure and go with a high-quality, non-toxic charcoal paste such as Davids.

Finally, if you’re looking for a real whitening boost, I recommend non-toxic products such as
Lumineux teeth whitening strips versus the conventional ones on the market, which contain
toxic chemicals.

As you can see, the quality and type of toothpaste you purchase are extremely important for your oral health. And your oral health is extremely important for your overall health. So get brushing!