Does Activated Charcoal Actually Whiten Teeth

Does Activated Charcoal Actually Whiten Teeth?


There are always new teeth whitening products hitting the market, and the latest trend is activated charcoal. Manufacturers claim that brushing your teeth with activated charcoal can remove surface stains and give you whiter teeth. But is it effective? Is it safe for your teeth? Here’s what you should know before you use activated charcoal on your teeth. 

What is Activated Charcoal? 

Activated charcoal is made of superheated charcoal that is ground into a powder. When used for teeth whitening you simply apply the activated charcoal powder to your toothbrush and brush your teeth with it. You can also purchase toothbrushes and toothpastes that are charcoal infused. 

How Does Activated Charcoal Whiten Teeth? 

Activated charcoal has an extremely abrasive texture. When brushed onto your teeth it can scrub away surface stains, leaving your teeth looking whiter in some cases. You might think that the dark black color of the charcoal would stain your teeth, but it doesn’t. The charcoal rinses off cleanly. 

Is Activated Charcoal Effective at Whitening Teeth? 

Some people see results after using activated charcoal on their teeth for a few weeks. But results vary significantly between people, where some find it more effective than others. The reason charcoal may not be as effective as other whitening products is that it is only capable of removing stains from the surface level of the teeth. Other whitening products use an active ingredient that reaches multiple layers of enamel. 

Risks and Side Effects of Using Activated Charcoal 

Using activated charcoal for teeth whitening has a variety of risks and side effects: 

  • Wears down enamel. The extreme abrasive texture of charcoal may scrub away some surface stains from your teeth, but it may also wear away your tooth enamel. The more you use it, the greater the risk of permanent damage to your enamel. 
  • May cause gum recession. Brushing with charcoal can also irritate your gum tissue, which can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth. Charcoal particles may also lodge in the gum tissue and cause irritation. 
  • Increase the risk of tooth decay. Activated charcoal can roughen up the surface of your teeth, making it easier for plaque to gather in the tiny pits and grooves in your enamel and cause cavities. 

Benefits of Dentist Provided Teeth Whitening 

Rather than using activated charcoal and assuming the risks associated with it, professional teeth whitening treatment provided by your dentist offers many benefits: 

  • Effective. Professional teeth whitening treatment provided in the dental office or in a take-home kit is the most effective option available. The active ingredient removes stains and whitens teeth multiple layers deep for dramatically whiter teeth. 
  • Safe. Professional-grade teeth whitening is safe on tooth enamel. In-office treatment is applied by your dentist and carefully controlled. At-home treatment whitens teeth more gradually, allowing you to control your results. 
  • Long lasting results. Teeth stay whiter longer after professional teeth whitening. You can expect results to last anywhere from 1-3 years. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Teeth Whitening 

Do whitening treatments make your teeth sensitive? 

One of the most common side effects of teeth whitening treatments is sensitive teeth. But professional teeth whitening products provide the most effective results with the least amount of sensitivity. Charcoal is more likely to cause sensitivity because it wears away the tooth enamel. 

How can I keep my teeth white after whitening treatment? 

If you want to maintain your results as long as possible, it may be best to avoid common teeth staining foods and beverages, such as coffee, tea, red wine, dark berries, grape juice, and artificial dyes. 

Schedule a Teeth Whitening Consultation Today

Are you interested in professional teeth whitening? Barkoff Dental provides in-office and at-home teeth whitening options that provide safe and effective results. 

Call 516-921-1133 or contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment.