This activated charcoal toothpaste is wildly popular right now — here's what a dentist thinks

According to a dentist, activated charcoal can have a whitening effect on teeth. (Photo: Getty Images)

Believe it or not, Amazon’s top-selling toothpaste doesn’t come from a household name or contain peroxide, a traditional whitening ingredient.

In fact, it’s fluoride-free and boasts activated charcoal and coconut oil as its main ingredients. Billed as “Nature’s whitening toothpaste,” Cali White Activated Charcoal and Organic Coconut Oil Toothpaste is a top-rated bestseller with over 8,000 reviews that give it a 4.3-star average.

One former skeptic says, “It’s actually incredible. I have noticed a huge difference in how white my teeth are now. I’m a heavy smoker so this is definitely a game changer.” Another adds that despite its dark color, it “rinses off well” and works as expected.

Other reviewers add that unlike peroxide-laden whitening toothpaste, this one doesn’t sensitize teeth but still provides a refreshing effect. One writes, “My teeth do look whiter and I am experiencing no sensitivity. Flavor is pleasant too. And it doesn’t stain my sink or toothbrush–two things I had been concerned about.”

So, what’s the deal with activated charcoal?

New York City-based cosmetic dentist Brian Kantor tells Yahoo Lifestyle that he would recommend activated charcoal for removing surface stains, but notes that fluoride is a must to prevent dental decay. “Activated charcoal can be used as a supplement to brushing with regular toothpaste for people who are seeking a whiter smile through the removal of surface stains,” he explains. “But it is necessary to also make sure the toothpaste includes fluoride.”

Cali White Activated Charcoal and Organic Coconut Oil Toothpaste. (Photo: Amazon)

What about coconut oil?

One reviewer says they were hesitant to try a product with oil due to a bad experience with oil pulling (an ancient Ayurvedic dental practice that involves swishing oil around in your mouth) and fear of the carbon’s gritty texture. “I’ve tried oil pulling … I just can’t do it,” they write. “I was worried this toothpaste would have a similar consistency to plain coconut oil and the charcoal would be gritty. Nope to both. Smooth consistency, zero grit, and tastes great! My 6 and 8-year-old kids love it too! I noticed my teeth were whiter after the first use!”

When it comes to the other active ingredient in Cali White’s popular toothpaste, coconut oil, Dr. Kantor explains, “Oil pulling has shown to reduce inflammation by combining the fat-soluble toxins found in the mouth — a byproduct of bacterial dental plaque — with coconut oil.” In this case, coconut oil results in fresher breath, whiter teeth and reduced gum inflammation.

Bottom line

If you’re on the fence, Kantor adds, “Like with any material with abrasive properties, you have to be aware of the potential effects on the gums and enamel on the teeth.”

One happy customer writes, “I love a good cup of coffee and really love a good glass of red wine. I’ve used every product out there and had great results with many, but nothing like this. My teeth aren’t just whiter, they also feel dentist-clean every time I brush and keeps my mouth feeling clean throughout the day. I will never use anything else again.”

Another adds, “Overall, I would recommend this product to anyone who is looking to whiten their teeth without using whitening strips or other methods.”

Shop it: Cali White Activated Charcoal and Organic Coconut Oil Toothpaste, $10, at amazon.com.

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