why add charcoal to toothpaste?


connie gregson

by connie gregson , friendly head of r+d at hello products


charcoal is associated with many things: barbecue grilling and chilling, whiskey distilling and swilling, multitasking and facial masking, etc. but as it turns out, charcoal can also be an ingredient in your oral care products. yep you heard us correctly. it’s important to note though that the type of charcoal used in oral care is a bit different, so please don’t put any of those barbecuing briquettes anywhere near your face-grill.

the oral care variety of charcoal is known as activated charcoal. and it’s been designed to safely go where no charcoal has (hopefully) gone before: inside your mouth.

what’s the difference between activated charcoal and the regular stuff?

activated charcoal is formed when high pressure gas is forced into charcoal making it much more porous. this porousness makes it extremely adsorptive. and yes, you read that right: we said “adsorptive” – not absorptive. the difference is that activated charcoal literally “adds” to its mass by grabbing other molecules. hence adsorption. think a static-y cloth that cleans by getting stuff to cling, as opposed to a paper towel that’s soaking up a liquid. this structure can help activated charcoal adsorb the odours that cause bad breath and the tannins that can stain teeth surfaces. 

charcoal powder vs. charcoal toothpaste: which brushes better?

sure, we’re biased here, but we’ve gotta say that activated charcoal toothpastes and mouthwashes have an edge over charcoal powder when cleaning teeth. our toothpastes and mouthwash have way less potential for mess. then there’s the issue of taste. when used in powder form charcoal is odourless and flavourless – but it can still leave an unpleasant aftertaste (even if the powder has a spray-on mint flavour). meanwhile, the addition of a powerful natural mint oil in a charcoal toothpaste or mouthwash leaves your mouth feeling fresh as all heck.