As more people learn life hacking skills from YouTube and social media, it shouldn’t be surprising that new and novel ways of achieving whitening effects for our teeth are also widely shared online. One of the DIY “beauty secrets” making its rounds in cyberspace is that of charcoal teeth whitening.

While it may sound counter-intuitive, applying the sooty-looking Activated Charcoal Whitening on your teeth is said to remove stains from your teeth. It is supposed to work by drawing out and absorbing toxins into its millions of pores.1

oil pulling

Unlike the charcoal found in your BBQ, this charcoal is activated by being reheated and oxidised. The concept is based on the theory that activated charcoal, acts as a magnet that picks up stains, bacteria and tartar.

Before you consider trying charcoal whitening, it's worthwhile getting a second opinion from your dentist.

When interviewed for Fox News Health, Dr Susan Maples, a Michigan-based dentist warned that there were not enough evidence to support claims on whether the supplement was beneficial or dangerous.1

Dr Maples pointed out the fact that unlike our hair, skin and nails, our teeth do not replenish or heal by themselves. One of the dangers she alluded to lies in the approach of a DIY remedy like charcoal that does not take into account the abrasiveness of the procedure.1 The charcoal, she said, may leave teeth stained or blotchy. If the charcoal causes enamel deterioration or tooth erosion, not only is the process irreversible, it can also lead to other dental ailments like teeth sensitivity and cavities.1

Dr Trey Wilson, a dentist based in New York City, said that he would wait for more research to determine its safety, warning that the DIY method is “used in the mouth”.2

While he agreed that the science of charcoal “attracting” particles is a well-documented scientific study, he cautioned the lack of long-term studies on activiated charcoal as a toothpaste ingredient.2

Being an abrasive ingredient, some dentists like Dr Bruce L Cassis, a dentist from Fayetteville, WV, recommends sparing use – no more than once every two weeks, and not for an extended period.2

Dr Wilson warned those who have teeth sensitivity issues or recession of gum tissue to avoid the DIY procedure altogether, due to the abrasive quality of charcoal toothpastes.2

Echoing the points made by his American counterparts, UK dentist Dr Adam Thorne said that there is no evidence to suggest that activated charcoal benefits our teeth in any way.3 On the other hand, he raised concerns about the safety and effectiveness of the trendy teeth whitening method.3 He recommends specific whitening treatments for deeper stains and discolouration. For surface stains, Dr Thorne reckoned it is safer to stick to traditional whitening toothpaste.3

If you’re interested to find out more about profession teeth whitening options, please contact us on (07) 3221 0677 or visit for more information.


  1. "Dentist warns against charcoal teeth whitening trend." Fox News.
  2. Mulpeter, Kathleen. "Is It Safe to Whiten Your Teeth with Activated Charcoal Toothpaste?"
  3. Gordon, Karen. "Does charcoal really whiten your teeth?" Netdoctor. August 22, 2017.