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A display of shiny white teeth
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When you visualize the color of toothpaste, black is probably the last color that comes to mind. But your interpretation of what toothpaste is supposed to look like is all about to change, thanks to charcoal teeth whitening products. Black toothpaste is, well, kind of the new normal.

So how can charcoal really erase all those multiple-coffee-a-day and red wine stains? I turned to cosmetic dentist, Dr. Gregg Lituchy for some pro answers on charcoal dental products.

"Activated charcoal [the form of charcoal in teeth products] can be used as a natural teeth whitener and this, too, is a growing trend that is gaining popularity in the dental field," he explains. "It can successfully pull toxins and tannins (teeth-staining culprits in coffee, tea, and wine) and remove them from teeth leaving a whiter, brighter smile."

That doesn't mean you should go buy activated charcoal and mix it into toothpaste. Beauty brands are doing the work for you with multiple different versions of the trend. Curaprox makes whitening toothpaste with the star ingredient, while Binchotan has the ingredient actually blended into the bristles of a toothbrush. Hello, a natural toothpaste brand, also recently launched an activated charcoal toothbrush, mouthwash, and toothpaste kit.

While Dr. Lituchy claims these products can actually work, he notes that if your teeth are naturally darker or yellow, you may need to invest in an in-office treatment to really see results.

Other dental professionals aren't as confident about the charcoal trend. There's some concern on if it's actually even safe!

Dr. Maged Malecki, DMD, owner and dental director of Boston Dental, says that there isn’t enough evidence that it is completely effective in whitening, is safe, or doesn’t damage tooth structure and gum health — and at their practice, they don’t promote the use of it.

"In addition, we do not know how pure the charcoal is that is used in these products and if there can be any effects to your health," Dr. Malecki notes.

Regardless, Dr. Malecki and Dr. Lituchy both say activated charcoal products can't fight off tooth decay and cavities like fluoride can, so charcoal shouldn't fully replace your daily toothpaste or a dental appointment.

At the end of the day, it's always best to talk to your dentist about the products you're interested in testing out. C'mon, it's your teeth we're talking about.