Is Activated Charcoal Toothpaste Abrasive?


Two words: activated charcoal.

Juice bars are telling you to drink it in your lemonade, facial care companies are telling you to slather it on your face, and oral care companies are telling you to brush your teeth with it...

So what's all the buzz about?

After gaining recognition in 1834 by an American Physician who used it to save a patient after they accidentally ingested mercury chloride, activated charcoal has made its way to the forefront of the modern health movement.

It's been heavily sought after for its potent natural detoxifying and purifying properties, with uses ranging from preventing free radical damage, to filtering water, to preventing intestinal gas, AND even whitening teeth.

But is activated charcoal abrasive to your enamel?

The answer is yes! BUT - not all activated charcoal toothpaste is created equal.

Most activated charcoal toothpastes on the market are harsh powders and black pastes containing pure activated charcoal. Pure activated charcoal is damaging to tooth enamel and can cause serious abrasion and discoloration to the teeth and gums.

Teeth do not have the ability to regrow or heal themselves, so once enamel is damaged, it's virtually impossible to repair.

Not only that, but The United States Centre for Disease Control has warned that the inhalation of large amounts of activated charcoal powder may be as carcinogenic as cigarette smoke.


With many powdered charcoal teeth-whitening products on the market, it's easy to unintentionally breathe in small amounts of powder while mixing it into paste. If you are going to use charcoal powder, we suggest using a mask to prevent breathing in the powder while mixing it into a paste. 

This is why we've created oral care products that harness the healing and whitening benefits of activated charcoal AND are safe for daily use - multiple times a day!

The Dr. Brite Difference

Dr. Brite is the only toothpaste with natural ingredients on the market that contains charcoal and is not black. 

This is because the activated charcoal that we use is a very fine powder charcoal that is not abrasive. And because we've also combined it with ingredients like organic coconut oil, aloe vera, and vitamin C to help enhance the whitening benefits while nourishing and protecting the teeth and gums, we don’t have to use a lot of it!

We use just the right amount of activated charcoal to get to detoxification benefits without making our toothpaste black or abrasive.

Dr. Brite Co-Founder and dentist, Dr. Pooneh Ramezani DDS says, "Black charcoal products should be avoided for oral care use as they may cause permanent tattooing of the gums. All dentists in the U.S. are against using charcoal powder as an alternative to toothpaste. There are no studies that show charcoal powder will help with plaque removal and reduction and will help prevent cavities."

To gauge the abrasiveness of dental products, the Relative Dentin Abrasivity (RDA) guide was created to measure the abrasiveness of all FDA approved dental products.

Most whitening toothpastes score between 100 to 200 RDA, however the FDA recommends a score of 200 or below. 

Although we have not formally tested our RDA, it is safe to say that because of our formulation and synergistic combination of holistic anti-bacterial, anti-microbial ingredients, our toothpaste has an RDA of less than 70.

Baking soda used to be the “it” ingredient in teeth whitening products until studies showed that it was a very abrasive ingredient.

Over time baking soda use has shown to cause enamel abrasion (thinning of enamel) and ultimately tooth sensitivity. 

So the new way of whitening teeth and getting rid of bad breath is to use a very fine charcoal powder product as found in our Mint and Mint Chip toothpaste flavors as well as our Mint Mouthwash, and our Get Brite™ & Stay Brite™ teeth whitening pens.

To learn more about activated charcoal, check out our other articles here:


1. Does charcoal toothpaste scratch your teeth?

Some dentists recommend using it once or twice a month to remove stains from your enamel, while others recommend using it every three months. If you use fine charcoal toothpaste with caution, it will not cause much damage to your teeth, and activated charcoal is completely safe to swallow in small amounts.

2. Is charcoal abrasive to teeth?

It is important to note that using charcoal to whiten your teeth might be dangerous because it is an extremely abrasive chemical. Using this product removes surface stains and plaque from your teeth, but it is so abrasive that it also wears away the enamel, which is the protective layer that protects your teeth from the elements.

3. Are charcoal toothbrushes abrasive?

Activated charcoal can irritate the teeth by eroding the enamel on their surfaces. Because of its abrasiveness, charcoal toothbrushes have been ruled ineligible for the American Dental Association's Seal of Acceptance. As soon as the enamel on the teeth starts to wear away, it's gone for good. This might result in sensitive teeth as well as discoloration.  However, Dr. Brite is the only natural toothpaste with charcoal that isn't black.

This is because we use a non-abrasive activated charcoal powder. We don't need to use as much because it's blended with substances like organic coconut oil, aloe vera, and vitamin C to help nourish and preserve the teeth and gums.

4. Does charcoal toothpaste ruin your enamel?

When you brush your teeth with a whitening toothpaste, the enamel on the outside of your teeth becomes whiter. In fact, using an abrasive ingredient in toothpaste, such as charcoal, can actually peel enamel from the teeth, exposing a more yellow and sensitive layer of the tooth known as the dentin.

5. How often should I brush my teeth with charcoal toothpaste?

Charcoal toothpaste is a new trend that's been gaining traction for its ability to whiten teeth. It also has other benefits like removing plaque and tartar buildup, reducing bad breath, and strengthening enamel. It is recommended that you brush your teeth twice a day with the charcoal toothpaste, but it can be used more or less depending on how often you eat food or drink beverages that are acidic.

6. Do dentists advise using toothpaste with charcoal?

Because there is insufficient data to support the effectiveness of charcoal toothpaste, the American Dental Association (ADA) does not advise using it.

7. Why does using charcoal toothpaste hurt my teeth?

This is comparable to the use of baking soda, which is not advised by many dentists. Since charcoal is abrasive, it can cut through plaque and begin wearing away your teeth's enamel. Your teeth will be more susceptible to cavities and sensitivity since enamel cannot be restored.

8. How long should charcoal toothpaste be allowed to sit?

For five to ten minutes, let it sit on your teeth like a paste. Without being overly abrasive, the absorption properties will still do their thing.

9. What teeth-whitening method is the safest?

The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) advises using custom-fitted trays provided by your dentist for the most secure and efficient at-home teeth whitening procedure. The gel in improperly fitting teeth whitening trays may flow out and irritate your gums.

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