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Charcoal Toothpaste Doesn't Whiten Your Teeth, Say Experts

Charcoal toothpaste might not be whitening your teeth after all, according to experts.

Black toothpaste includes charcoal-derived ingredients and is often marketed to shoppers as a way to dramatically whiten and brighten their smiles.

But experts have warned there is no clear evidence to suggest that it works, with some suggesting it could even lead to tooth decay as (unlike traditional toothpaste) the whitening product often contains no fluoride, which destroys plaque.


Credit: Unsplash
Credit: Unsplash

And if it does contain fluoride, the charcoal ingredients could absorb it.

Charcoal toothpaste might not be totally useless though, as it can remove stains - although this is the case with regular brushing, too.

Experts from Manchester University and Kings College London have called these charcoal whitening products "marketing gimmicks".

Credit: Unsplash
Credit: Unsplash

Dr Joseph Greenwall-Cohen from the University of Manchester Dental School and British Dental Bleaching Society, reviewed scientific studies on charcoal products as co-author of an article published in the British Dental Journal.


He said: "The problem is that there are so many celebrity endorsements and social media posts about these products, but the claims made about them are unsupported by the evidence.

"The high abortive nature of charcoal limits the amount of active fluoride in the toothpastes required for prevention of dental decay.

"Additionally the 'whitening effect' of the toothpaste is limited to removal of staining and may be no more than the whitening effect of any regular toothpaste."

Credit: Unsplash
Credit: Unsplash

The new review also says the ingredient's abrasive properties can wear away at teeth.

A US review in 2017 found that only eight per cent of charcoal toothpaste products contain fluoride.

Professor Damien Walmsley, scientific adviser for the British Dental Association, said: "Charcoal-based toothpastes offer no silver bullets for anyone seeking a perfect smile, and come with real risks attached.

"These abrasive formulations may be effective at removing surface stains, but prolonged use may also wear away tooth enamel. Research now shows it could even cause discoloration of the gums.

"The vast majority of these toothpastes are fluoride-free so aren't even offering the basics required to protect teeth from decay.

"So don't believe the hype. Anyone concerned about staining or discoloured teeth that can't be shifted by a change in diet, or improvements to their oral hygiene, should see their dentist."


Featured Image Credit: Unsplash

Topics: Stylish, Hair and Beauty, Style News, Health

Rachel Andrews

Rachel Andrews is an NCTJ trained Journalist at PRETTY52. She specialises in Fashion and Beauty Journalism, and has experience at a range of online and print publications and joined the team in 2017. Contact her -

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