Charcoal toothpaste

Is it okay for kids to use charcoal toothpaste?

Charcoal toothpaste has become more popular lately, with well-known brands like Colgate, Crest, Hello and Burt’s Bees entering the charcoal toothpaste market. Is charcoal toothpaste as effective as these brands claim? Is this trend worth the try? Is it safe for kids?

Spoiler alert: Children should not use charcoal toothpaste! We’ll explain why. Here’s everything you need to know to make the best decision for you or your child’s smile.

What is charcoal toothpaste?

Charcoal toothpaste uses activated charcoal, which is a fine-grain powder made from wood, coconut shells, and other natural substances. Activated charcoal is highly absorbent, acting like a sponge, and is claimed to pull out toxins and lift stains from the enamel (the surface layer of the teeth). 

Is charcoal bad for your teeth?

Charcoal toothpaste is not advised for children, teens or adults. Charcoal is abrasive, and over time, it can wear down your enamel. While charcoal toothpaste may appear to remove surface stains in the short run, it can cause your teeth to yellow over time and become more sensitive as it damages your enamel.

Your enamel has the critical responsibility of protecting the sensitive inner layers of your teeth. It protects your teeth from damage due to chewing, biting and grinding teeth. Enamel does not grow back. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Preserving your enamel by avoiding abrasive materials and minimizing contact with sugary acids is key – even with baby teeth!

The American Dental Association (ADA) does not currently approve of any toothpastes with activated charcoal. Our experts at Kids Smiles Pediatric Dentistry do not recommend that you or your child use charcoal toothpaste, or any other abrasive ingredients, on your teeth. 

Is a charcoal toothbrush safe?

A charcoal toothbrush is a toothbrush that has bristles infused with activated charcoal. These bristles are typically attached to a wooden/bamboo handle. 

Charcoal bristles are believed to absorb bacteria and help prevent bad breath. However, like charcoal toothpaste, charcoal toothbrush bristles are abrasive and damaging to tooth enamel. Charcoal toothbrushes do not have the ADA’s seal of acceptance and therefore are not safe to use.

Is charcoal mouthwash safe?

Based on a study published in the National Library of Medicine, “There is insufficient evidence to substantiate the therapeutic and cosmetic marketing claims of charcoal-based mouthwashes, including antimicrobial activity, anti-halitosis, tooth whitening, periodontal disease control, caries reduction and tooth remineralisation, among others.”

In other words, there is not enough evidence to prove that charcoal-based mouthwashes provide any benefits for neither cosmetics nor health. Charcoal mouthwash is therefore unnecessary and potentially damaging to enamel. 

Try a mouthwash that has been approved by the ADA instead!  

Is charcoal floss safe?

Like charcoal toothpaste and charcoal mouthwash, using charcoal floss is a gamble. Charcoal particles can wear down enamel and make you more susceptible to tooth decay (cavities) and sensitivity. Use one of these flosses with the ADA seal of acceptance instead!

Are there any safe whitening toothpaste options?

The ADA has approved a few whitening toothpastes, including Burt’s Bees Whitening Toothpaste with fluoride, Colgate Total SF and Burt’s Bees Kids’ Fluoride toothpaste that prevents cavities and removes stains.  

For parents, it’s best to wait until all of the permanent teeth have emerged (around age 14) before considering teeth whitening for your child. Even then, we advise that you try natural methods of whitening teeth, or choose treatments with low bleach content. Fluoride toothpaste is a great option for strengthening teeth and removing surface stains.

Still have questions about charcoal or black powder toothpaste?

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions. Our experienced Kids Smiles Pediatric Dentistry team is here to help you and your child develop healthy habits that lead to a lifetime of beautiful smiles. We’re here to give you any oral hygiene tips you need!

Our team is led by renowned pediatric dentist, Dr. Frank Sierra, who has more than 25 years of experience providing compassionate, expert care for children and teens. 

We are your trusted pediatric dentist in Tampa Bay and Bradenton! Ready to schedule your first visit? Here’s what you can expect on your first visit. Schedule an appointment with us today!