Over the past few years, the health benefits of activated charcoal have been talked about non-stop.
From its supposed ability to alleviate bloating, to its reported benefits as a detoxing aid, to its infamous claim to prevent hangovers (two charcoal pills, pre-drinks, you’re welcome), activated charcoal works by trapping toxins in its porous texture and transporting them out of your body before they can harm you.
When it comes to your teeth, activated charcoal (you may also see it called activated carbon) can help to whiten and remove discolouration. As a result, both charcoal toothbrushes and charcoal toothpastes have become a very big 'thing' indeed.
But does charcoal toothpaste actually work? We decided to try it out.
First up, yes, charcoal toothpaste is black. It's initially alarming. It looks like oil, or black icing ready to be piped.
Despite the colour, the taste is good – the flavour we tried was 'lime-mint' but TBH, it tasted just like regular toothpaste. What was different, though, was the texture. Rather than being smooth, it’s bitty – like that tooth polish the hygienist uses at the dentist. To begin with, this makes for a slightly unnatural sensation.
What's most unnerving about the whole experience is looking in the mirror while brushing and finding your image looking back with black foam coming out of its mouth. Be careful about where that black foam gets, too. I accidentally dribbled some down my top and, goodness me, that stuff is hard to get off without a proper wash.
Brushing is just like usual, although with the black foam. The tough bit comes when it’s time to rinse. After a while I gave up trying to water-brush the black foam away and resorted to three very vigorous rinses with big gulps of water – even then, I was still spitting black bits into the sink. Make sure you take time after you brush to check your face and lips for errant marks, too. And be a good housemate and rinse the sink out afterwards – white toothpaste stains on your bathroom sink are just about forgivable; charcoal toothpaste stains are not.
Afterwards, my teeth do feel a lot cleaner than usual. If you’ve ever had braces removed, you’ll know that delicious feeling you get from rubbing your tongue over your shiny teeth and it’s similar vibes with this toothpaste. The only thing I would say is that there is a bit of a soapy aftertaste, which lingers for about an hour.
Overall, I’m sold. As long as I’m not in a rush to get out the door. I feel like doing this in a hurry would result in accidentally walking around all day with smudge marks all over my face and clothes. Which is not ideal at all.