How does activated charcoal toothpaste whiten teeth?

Activated charcoal for white teeth: what you should be aware of

Activated carbon: what is it?

Activated charcoal (also known as medicinal charcoal) is a porous carbon and is considered to be one of the oldest drugs. The substance is used in medicine because it can remove toxins from the gastrointestinal tract. The structure of activated charcoal is similar to an open-pored sponge. It can disintegrate into the smallest parts and in this way develop a large surface. This results in the characteristic ability of so-called adsorption. I. E. the carbon particles are able to bind other substances such as toxins, chemicals or even odor molecules to their surface.

Medicinal activated charcoal is obtained from vegetable raw materials such as peat, tree bark or nut shells. Early civilizations such as the Greeks and Egyptians already knew about their effects and even today medicinal activated charcoal is used e.g. B. for diarrhea, detox cures or teeth whitening, as a powder or as capsules, for use. The cosmetics industry also likes to use the substance.

For beautiful teeth, you shouldn't necessarily rely on black toothpaste as a miracle cure. It is above all the daily, thorough dental care that results in a radiant smile. Oral hygiene should also be promoted twice a year by professional teeth cleaning. With the additional dental insurance DFV-ZahnSchutz you will never be asked to pay for it again. The four-time Stiftung Warentest test winner pays up to € 200 per calendar year for your prophylaxis.

What types of activated carbon are there?

Powder: Black activated charcoal powder, which is used with a little water and without any other additives for cleaning teeth.

Capsules: The capsules are bitten into in the mouth before brushing your teeth.

Addition in dental care creams: Black toothpaste to which activated charcoal has been added.

What does activated carbon do?

Other substances can easily adhere to the rough surface of the activated carbon, which is why it can easily bind dirt and pollutants to itself. The black powder removes impurities from your teeth for a short time, because the grains of the charcoal act like sandpaper that scrubs discolorations from your teeth. After repeated use, the teeth can actually become lighter.

Compared to conventional toothpaste, however, activated charcoal has a significantly higher level of abrasion, similar to baking powder. Since the powder grinds off the tooth enamel over the long term and roughen the teeth, its use is not yet recommended. The grains wear off the protective layer of the teeth piece by piece and sooner or later lead to painful and often costly dental problems. The teeth become prone to tooth decay. The roughening of the tooth surface also makes it easier for plaque and color pigments to adhere.

Activated charcoal in the toothpaste

Activated charcoal is not only available in powder form, but is also increasingly used as an additive in toothpaste. Since Zahnapsta manufacturers have to comply with legal requirements, the risk of damaging the teeth is not as great as with activated charcoal in pure powder form. Still, you shouldn't trust the black toothpaste too much. There is no evidence that activated charcoal in toothpaste actually leads to white teeth.

Although it can bind pollutants to itself, the charcoal had already been in contact with the other ingredients of the toothpaste for weeks before the tube was opened at home. As a result, it loses its pollutant-binding effect.

In addition, people with sensitive teeth in particular should avoid the black toothpaste.

Activated charcoal toothpaste often does not contain fluoride. This demonstrably increases the risk of tooth decay.

Incidentally, the abrasion of the toothpaste is indicated by means of the RDA value. Normal toothpastes have a value between 40-80.

Important tips: What must a toothpaste contain?


The most important task of a toothpaste is to prevent tooth decay. For this, fluoride is the most important and most effective ingredient. Fluoride compounds inhibit acid attacks on the tooth surface z. B. by bacteria. In addition, weakened areas are stabilized again. The enamel becomes more resilient.

A dose of 500 ppm fluoride is recommended for children's toothpaste. Adults should use toothpaste at 1000-1500 ppm.

RDA value

The RDA value indicates how strong the abrasive effect of the cleaning body is on the tooth substance. The higher the value, the higher the abrasion. Excessive abrasion makes your teeth more susceptible to new discoloration and tooth decay. A value below 50 is recommended for people with sensitive teeth.

Activated Charcoal: Myth or Really Helpful?

White teeth from activated charcoal toothpaste are not permanent. The substance is even considered harmful to dental health.

When buying your toothpaste, pay attention to the fluoride content and the stated value for abrasion. It is best to ask your dentist which toothpaste he can recommend for you.

What alternatives to activated charcoal are there for white teeth?

For whiter teeth you don't have to rely on activated charcoal, because there are alternatives that are gentler and more sustainable. With these tips you can bring out the natural whiteness of your teeth.

  • Daily dental care: Daily oral hygiene is not just about the right toothbrush and toothpaste. Dental floss and mouthwash should also be part of the routine.
  • Electric toothbrush: An electric toothbrush is more suitable for brushing teeth than a conventional toothbrush, especially for people who are lazy to clean. The power of the electric toothbrush can help clear dirt and debris from your teeth more thoroughly. This promotes natural teeth whitening. However, you should be careful not to press too hard on your teeth when brushing. This damages teeth and gums.
  • Toothpaste with fluoride: Fluoride strengthens the teeth and makes them less vulnerable. This also makes it easier to remove deposits and discoloration. Most toothpastes whiten the teeth in this way, even if it is not explicitly stated on it. In addition, many toothpastes contain small cleaning particles that have the same effect as activated charcoal. However, these are gentler on the teeth.

FAQs about activated carbon

Why does activated charcoal whiten teeth?

Activated charcoal consists mainly of carbon and has a very porous structure. These pores are connected to one another like a sponge. This allows activated carbon to bind toxins to itself, similar to a sponge that soaks up with water. The structure of the charcoal also has many small edges that rub on the tooth surface and thus remove discoloration on the teeth.

How often do you brush your teeth with activated charcoal?

The use of the black toothpaste is not recommended for a longer period of time, because medicinal charcoal acts like sandpaper on the teeth. Discoloration is sanded away. The carbon leads to white teeth in the short term, but the protective layer of the tooth is also removed and the tooth roughened. In the long term, plaque can then settle better and the teeth can turn yellow.

Where can I get activated carbon?

Medicinal charcoal is available as capsules and powder in pharmacies and drugstores. Some supermarkets now also offer black toothpaste and other products with activated charcoal.

Where is activated carbon used?

In addition to dental care, there are numerous areas of application for medicinal charcoal. Purely medicinally, it is used in the form of charcoal tablets as a medicine against diarrhea, stomach pain and flatulence. The charcoal can also be used as food coloring. The coloring agent E 153 can be found in fruit juice concentrates, jellies, jams and confectionery. Medicinal charcoal is also used to make beauty products. Blemished and very oily skin in particular should benefit from the positive effects of activated charcoal.



Dental knowledge:

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Center of Health:

All statements without guarantee.