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 natural toothpaste 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:

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