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Charcoal toothpaste is trending in dental care. If you want to try this trend for yourself, it’s important to choose a charcoal toothpaste that contains beneficial ingredients for dental health.

Activated charcoal in toothpaste may help remove surface stains on your teeth. Charcoal is mildly abrasive and is also able to absorb surface stains to some degree.

There’s no evidence, though, that it has any effect on stains below a tooth’s enamel (intrinsic stains), or that it has a natural whitening effect. While activated charcoal does have some proven benefits, there isn’t enough scientific evidence to include teeth whitening as one of them. Even so, some people enjoy using charcoal toothpastes, and find them beneficial.

Activated charcoal is also referred to as activated carbon. It is not the same as charcoal you use during barbecues. Charcoal becomes activated through a two-step process. First, it is exposed to high heat without oxygen, which creates a charred surface. Then, a chemical or physical process is used to create a porous consistency.

Activated charcoal has a highly porous, large surface area. It is able to attract and absorb certain toxins and organic substances. For that reason, it is used internally to treat some types of accidental poisoning and drug overdoses.

Other uses for activated charcoal include the removal of odors and color contamination. The thinking behind activated charcoal toothpaste is that it can absorb and remove surface stains from teeth.

How is activated charcoal with fluoride different?

Activated charcoal does not contain ingredients that fight cavities or remove plaque. It can’t protect teeth and gums from conditions like gingivitis. For that reason, some activated charcoal toothpastes also contain ingredients, such as fluoride, that are beneficial or oral health.

To find the best charcoal toothpastes, we considered product safety and effectiveness.

We only chose toothpastes that come from trusted brands, and analyzed consumer reviews to determine overall user satisfaction about performance and taste.

We opted to include those containing fluoride and other beneficial ingredients and didn’t include toothpastes linked to tooth damage or discomfort in multiple reviews.

Pricing guide

Some of the toothpastes on this list are sold as two- or three-packs. Others are sold as singles. We’ve indicated price as follows:

  • $ = under $10
  • $$ = $10–$20
  • $$$ = over $20

Best remineralizing charcoal toothpaste

Crest 3D White Whitening Therapy

  • Price: $$ (three-pack)
  • Flavors available: mint
  • Sizes available: varies by seller; one-pack, three-pack

This mint-flavored, black and white striped toothpaste contains fluoride to strengthen weak enamel and protect against cavities.

It gets whitening power from hydrated silica, a mild abrasive that removes surface stains from teeth.

Disodium pyrophosphate prevents staining and tartar buildup.

It rinses cleanly, so you won’t be left with a dirty sink full of black residue after brushing.

Pros

  • rinses cleanly
  • stripes make it fun to brush
  • contains whitening and other beneficial ingredients

Cons

  • most users say it takes around 4 weeks before you see any results
  • to get the most whitening, you may have to brush longer than usual per session
  • may be harsh for sensitive teeth

Best vegan formula

Colgate Revitalizing White Whitening Toothpaste with Activated Charcoal

  • Price: $ (two-pack)
  • Flavors available: mint
  • Sizes available: varies by seller; one-pack, two-pack, three-pack

This mint-flavored toothpaste contains fluoride for protecting teeth from cavities.

The activated charcoal gives this toothpaste a pale gray color that users say washes cleanly.

Activated charcoal comes from multiple sources, including bone. Colgate’s formula is vegan. It’s also sugar-free and gluten-free.

Pros

  • vegan formula is also sugar- and gluten-free
  • contains fluoride for cavity protection
  • dissolves cleanly without leaving a gritty feel

Cons

  • some users find the taste slightly bitter
  • some users find the texture too thick

Best gentle formula

Curaprox Black Is White Toothpaste

  • Price: $$$ (one-pack)
  • Flavors available: lemon
  • Sizes available: one-pack

This lemon-flavored toothpaste is made in Switzerland. On the packaging, activated charcoal is referred to as activated carbon, another name for the same ingredient.

This toothpaste contains sodium monofluorophosphate, a type of fluoride, and it may be gentler on teeth than other brands.

A 2021 study that compared Black Is White with varying charcoal toothpastes found it was the only one that didn’t increase surface enamel roughness.

Pros

  • gentle on tooth enamel and sensitive gums
  • contains cavity-fighting ingredients

Cons

  • more expensive than comparable products
  • some users say it takes around 6 weeks before you see results

Best for freshening breath

hello Activated Charcoal Epic Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste

  • Price: $ (one-pack)
  • Flavors available: mint
  • Sizes available: one-pack

This black-colored, vegan toothpaste uses spearmint, peppermint, and fresh mint for flavoring. It detoxifies bad breath odors, plus reduces plaque buildup.

Coconut oil is also an ingredient. Research from 2017 shows that coconut oil can reduce plaque buildup on teeth. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which is antimicrobial and may help prevent cavities.

There are hello activated charcoal toothpastes with and without fluoride, which have nearly identical or confusing packaging on some consumer sites. For this list, we chose the version that contains sodium monofluorophosphate, a type of fluoride.

When purchasing, double-check the packaging and ingredients list, so you get the type you prefer.

Pros

  • no artificial sweeteners or flavors
  • triclosan-free
  • users mention it has a great taste, which may help you brush longer

Cons

  • packaging can be confusing; make sure you get the formula you want, either with or without fluoride

Best for cavity protection

Tom’s of Maine Activated Charcoal Anticavity Toothpaste

  • Price: $$ (three-pack)
  • Flavors available: peppermint, spearmint, clean mint
  • Sizes available: varies by seller, one-pack, three-pack, 12-pack

According to the manufacturer, this toothpaste is non-abrasive and safe for daily use.

It contains sodium fluoride for cavity protection, silica for stain removal, and peppermint oil for flavor. Some users mention that the flavor is very subtle. Others say they don’t like the taste.

Like all Tom’s of Maine products, this toothpaste is cruelty-free and not tested on animals.

Pros

  • contains no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
  • vegan formula that isn’t tested on animals (cruelty-free)
  • fights cavities with fluoride

Cons

  • some users don’t like the taste

Best for naturally derived ingredients

Native Charcoal Fluoride Anticavity Toothpaste

  • Price: $ (one-pack)
  • Flavors available: combination of mint, clove, and cinnamon
  • Sizes available: one-pack

This toothpaste contains naturally-derived bamboo-sourced charcoal, sodium fluoride for cavity protection, and mineral-derived silica for stain removal.

It’s plant-derived sweeteners, peppermint, cinnamon, and clove, produce a strong and long-lasting taste.

It uses carrageenan, a seaweed extract as a thickener, and stevia as a flavoring. It has a foamier texture than some other charcoal toothpastes, which many users like.

It’s preservative- and cruelty-free.

Pros

  • natural ingredients are plant and mineral derived
  • not tested on animals (cruelty-free)
  • available with or without fluoride

Cons

  • taste may be too strong for some people

Best cruelty-free toothpaste

Burt’s Bees Charcoal + Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste

  • Price: $ (one-pack)
  • Flavors available: mountain mint
  • Sizes available: varies by seller, one-pack, three-pack

This toothpaste is available with or without fluoride. It uses responsibly sourced charcoal derived from bamboo or coconut shells. Naturally derived hydrated silica gently removes surface stains.

It’s cruelty-free and free of chemicals like triclosan, plastic microbeads, and dyes. The packaging and tube are 100% recyclable.

Pros

  • chemical free
  • cruelty-free
  • has fluoride for cavity protection

Cons

  • some long-time customers are upset that this formula replaced the charcoal-free formula they had been using

Best charcoal toothpaste with baking soda

Arm & Hammer Charcoal White

  • Price: $ (one-pack)
  • Flavors available: peppermint
  • Sizes available: varies by seller; one-pack, two-pack

This low abrasion, whitening toothpaste is the European version of this product. The U.S. version is fluoride-free.

It contains fluoride and is gentle enough for daily use. It uses baking soda to remove surface stains and clean teeth. Calcium helps keep tooth enamel strong. This toothpaste is also good for freshening breath.

It has a dark gray color that rinses well. However, users caution it may stain your toothbrush if you don’t rinse it thoroughly.

Pros

  • good to use as a breath freshener
  • manufacturer says it whitens teeth within 3 days
  • contains fluoride to fight cavities

Cons

  • may stain toothbrush

Best for sensitive teeth

Burst Charcoal

  • Price: $$ (two-pack)
  • Flavors available: mint
  • Sizes available: varies by seller; one-pack, two-pack

This low abrasion toothpaste is nonirritating. It contains coconut salt, which may help reduce bacteria on teeth and gums, plus fluoride for cavity protection.

Users say it’s very gentle on sensitive teeth.

It has a subtle, minty taste. Users mention that it’s thick and hard to get out of the tube.

Pros

  • gentle on sensitive teeth and gums
  • contains fluoride for cavity protection
  • contains coconut oil, which may help reduce bacteria in the mouth
  • doesn’t contain parabens, triclosan, or artificial colors

Cons

  • very thick formula
  • taste may be too bland for some users

NamePriceFlavorsSizes availableKey features
Crest 3D White Whitening Therapy$$ (three-pack)mintvaries by sellercontains ingredients that prevent staining and tartar buildup and can strengthen enamel
Colgate Revitalizing White Whitening Toothpaste with Activated Charcoal$ (two-pack)mintvaries by sellervegan formula; sugar-free; gluten-free
Curaprox Black Is White Toothpaste$$$ (one-pack)lemon varies by sellergentle on enamel and sensitive gums
hello Activated Charcoal Epic Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste$ (one-pack)mintone packvegan; no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners
Tom’s of Maine Activated Charcoal Anticavity Toothpaste$$ (three-pack)peppermint; spearmint; clean mintvaries by sellerno artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives; cruelty-free; vegan
Native Charcoal Fluoride Anticavity Toothpaste$ (one-pack)combination of mint, clove, and cinnamonone packplant-derived ingredients; cruelty-free
Burt’s Bees Charcoal + Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste$ (one-pack)mountain minvaries by sellerchemical-free; cruelty-free
Arm & Hammer Charcoal White$ (one-pack)peppermintvaries by sellergood as breath freshener; gentle for daily use
Burst Charcoal$$ (two-pack)mintvaries by sellergentle on teeth and gums; coconut oil may help reduce bacteria in mouth; no parabens, triclosan, or artificial colors

It’s important to use charcoal toothpaste correctly so as not to weaken teeth or become susceptible to tooth decay. Ways to do this include alternating charcoal toothpaste with traditional fluoride toothpaste or using charcoal toothpaste only for a brief period.

Many activated charcoal toothpastes contain very little charcoal and don’t use it in their formulas as an active ingredient. This may provide you with the novelty factor of using an unusually colored toothpaste while still offering other beneficial ingredients.

Activated charcoal tooth whitening powders are an alternative option. Some are made solely of charcoal. Others contain ingredients such as bentonite clay or sodium bicarbonate. Tooth whitening powders usually have no flavor. Some users find them messy to use.

There are also activated charcoal toothpaste tablets you can try. These turn into a paste while you chew. Some users find them less messy than powders. Charcoal pills typically don’t contain fluoride. They may contain coconut oil, silica, or other cleansing and foaming agents.

You may want to use regular toothpaste but add a charcoal mouthwash to your routine. We like hello Activated Charcoal Extra Freshening Mouthwash. It’s $5.99, alcohol-free, vegan, cruelty-free, and contains no artificial sweeteners.

What is relative dentin abrasivity (RDA), and why is it important for charcoal toothpastes?

RDA is an indicator of toothpaste’s abrasiveness value. Since many activated charcoal toothpastes can potentially be too abrasive for daily use, this measurement is an important one to try to find.

The American Dental Association recommends only using toothpaste with an RDA of 250 or less.

Can children use activated charcoal toothpaste?

Some manufacturers say their toothpaste is safe for children ages 2 and up, while others say 6 and up. Before using any charcoal toothpaste, talk with your child’s dentist. To avoid cavities, you may also wish to steer clear of charcoal toothpastes without fluoride.

Can I use fluoride every day?

Yes. Fluoride toothpaste is safe for adults and children to use on a daily basis. This is especially important if your water supply doesn’t contain fluoride.

Children under 3 should use a very small amount of toothpaste — the size of a grain of rice. When they reach 3 years old, children learn how to spit. Then it’s safe to introduce a pea-sized amount while they brush their teeth.

Can I use activated charcoal toothpaste while pregnant?

Activated charcoal toothpaste is considered safe to use during pregnancy. As with any toothpaste, swallowing isn’t recommended. Check with your doctor to make sure that activated toothpaste is a good choice for you during this time.

How often can I use activated charcoal toothpaste?

Most activated charcoal toothpastes can be used twice daily. Check and follow the manufacturer’s directions on your brand to be sure.

Activated charcoal has a myriad of uses, including freshening breath.

Many toothpaste brands are capitalizing on the charcoal trend. These toothpastes may contain very little charcoal and instead rely on traditional ingredients to whiten teeth and protect against cavities.