Courtesy of Yasmine Singh

I Tried Brushing My Teeth With Activated Charcoal

I'm obsessed with iced coffee. I drink it almost every day. But drinking iced coffee has been known to stain teeth, and my pearly whites are not as pearly or white as they could be. So when I heard that activated charcoal toothpaste could undo some of the damage I'd done to my teeth, I jumped at the chance to try it. I tried activated charcoal toothpaste for a week, and here's what happened.

Activated charcoal has been incredibly trendy lately. It's been used in everything from face masks to smoothies. Even though the positive health effects of charcoal have largely been debunked, the ingredient is still used in a number of beauty products, including toothpaste, because it's purported to help remove coffee, tea, and wine stains.

There are a few activated charcoal toothpastes on the market, but after doing some research and perusing the options on Amazon, I decided to try Curaprox Black Is White toothpaste for just under $27. It's pretty pricey, especially because the average toothpaste costs about $4 to $6. But I figured that if it worked, it would be worth it, especially since this is supposed to be the more gentle and natural way to whiten teeth. Other teeth whitening products such as whitening strips, gels, and toothpastes contain harsh chemicals like bleaching agents, which can damage tooth enamel or cause increased sensitivity.

Courtesy of Yasmine Singh

After I ordered the toothpaste, I eagerly waited for my package to arrive. When it finally did, I decided to brush my teeth a few times a day.

At first, I was nervous about using my regular toothbrush, because I was worried that the charcoal would stain it. But I loved the fact that the toothpaste also came with its own toothbrush. It wasn't anything fancy — it looked like a no-fuss, old school toothbrush — but either way, I was happy they included it with my order. I was also worried that the charcoal would be messy, taste bad, or have a gritty consistency, but I was ready to give it a go.

Day 1

Courtesy of Yasmine Singh

When I started using the toothpaste, it came out of the tube like a black gel. But it was smoother than I'd expected, and it wasn't messy at all. Not only that, it smelled and tasted like traditional toothpaste. The only difference was that it had very fine pieces of charcoal ground into it. Other than that, I didn't feel much of a difference while brushing with the activated charcoal toothpaste. It felt like a gentle exfoliant for your teeth, and the toothbrush was also pleasantly soft.

I couldn't stop rubbing my teeth with my tongue because my teeth felt so smooth.

I used the toothpaste twice that first day. I wasn't surprised that I didn't see any results immediately: though the website and packaging don't state how long it takes for your teeth to seem whiter, I didn't expect for the toothpaste to take effect right away. But I did feel like I had exceptionally fresh breath, and I couldn't stop rubbing my teeth with my tongue because my teeth felt so smooth.

Courtesy of Yasmine Singh

Days 2-4

After a few days of using the activated charcoal toothpaste, I kind of forgot that I had even switched to a different toothpaste. The taste was similar to that of my old toothpaste, so it was easy to get used to the change. I'm also happy to report that it didn't stain my sink or make another mess for me to clean up.

Still, I didn't notice that my teeth looked any whiter. That surprised me. I'd used gels and teeth-whitening strips in the past that had taken effect almost immediately, so I figured the charcoal toothpaste would do the same.

Courtesy of Yasmine Singh

Days 4-7

As the days rolled on, I continued my routine. I started brushing my teeth at least 3 times a day, hoping to see results sooner. I also started drinking less coffee so I'd have a chance to see results, so needless to say, I was tired and grumpy. But after a week of using the toothpaste, my teeth didn't look noticeably whiter at all.

Courtesy of Yasmine Singh

The Results

I enjoyed the look and feel of the black gel, and I'm kind of obsessed with the toothbrush. My breath felt fresher for much longer than it did with my old toothpaste, and my teeth felt really smooth. I also liked the taste a lot more than I thought I would. But I'm sad to report my teeth are not any whiter than they were before I started the experiment. After using other whitening toothpastes in the past that have actually worked, I thought my teeth would be at least be one shade lighter, and honestly, for $27 I would have liked to have seen results.

That said, the charcoal toothpaste was definitely a lot less harsh on my mouth than other teeth-whitening products I've used, which caused increased sensitivity and minor irritation of my mouth. So even though the toothpaste didn't make my teeth significantly, whiter, I am tempted to continue using it. After all, my teeth do feel squeaky clean.