This is my personal review of the Colgate Optic White Charcoal toothpaste with nothing but all of my subjective opinions as well as the objective facts about it.
Yes, I am a dentist so this is technically a dentist review. What that means is you shouldn’t the skip the section about how this toothpaste works. After all, everyone is always curious as to whether charcoal can whiten teeth and today we’re going to put that to rest.
Hopefully you’ll have a better idea of whether to give this oral care product a try after hearing about my experience with it.
Disclaimer: If you make a purchase after clicking one of our links, we may earn a commission.
The Colgate optic white charcoal toothpaste is supposed to be able to safely remove 5x more surface stains from the enamel than normal.
The emphasis here is on the safety because it is marketed as being enamel-safe.
A major concern with charcoal based toothpastes is it’s potential to be too abrasive, which may abrade away enamel instead. Colgate is saying that their product is different.
According to Colgate, their charcoal toothpaste utilizes a micro-polishing action that safely removes 5x more surface stains. Below is the full list of benefits.
- Removes 5x more surface stains
- Non-hydrogen peroxide
- Enamel safe
- Prevents cavities
- Freshens breath
- Micro-polishing action
Directions for use
The directions are meant for adults and children 2 years or older. Children under 2 years old will require a consultation with a dentist.
How to use it:
- Brush at least twice a day or after meals.
- Spit out and do not swallow the toothpaste.
- For children under 6, use only a pea sized amount to minimize swallowing. Be sure to supervise their rinsing and brushing.
There is no recommendation for how long you should be brushing your teeth. Our recommendation is brushing for at least 2 minutes but 3 minutes is even better.
|Net weight||4.2 oz (119 g)|
|Dispensing mechanism||Squeezable tube|
|Remineralization agent||Sodium Fluoride|
|Whitening agent||Charcoal & Abrasives|
There are a total of 18 ingredients in the optic white charcoal toothpaste By Colgate.
- Sodium fluoride (0.24%) – anti-cavity.
- Hydrated Silica – mild natural whitening abrasive.
- Charcoal Powder – natural abrasive for whitening.
Stain and tartar prevention:
- Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate – anti-tartar.
- Sorbitol – sweetener/humectant.
- Sodium Saccharin – sweetener.
- Potassium Hydroxide
- Phosphoric Acid
- Water – solvent.
- PEG-12 – lubrication/spreadability.
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – surfactant/detergent.
- Cellulose Gum – thickener and prevents drying out.
- Cocamidopropyl Betaine – surfactant/detergent.
- Benzyl Alcohol – preservative.
- Blue 1 – dye.
- Red 40 – dye.
- Titanium Dioxide – adds white color.
The Colgate optic white charcoal toothpaste comes in a red, black and white colored rectangular box. There isn’t anything unusual with the packaging, it seems pretty standard but they are following the color scheme for their optic white line of products.
The top and bottom of the box is not sealed with tape but it is securely sealed. The bottom flap does show the LOT number as well as the expiration date.
However, once you try to open it, you’ll realize that the inner flaps do have glue which acts as tamper proof evidence.
After opening it, you can find the inner contents which is just the tube of toothpaste and nothing else. There is no cardboard protective feature inside the box to help protect the toothpaste.
The tube for the toothpaste is made of plastic and it pretty much feels similar to all of the other optic white toothpastes. I do appreciate how it can be stored in an upright vertical position due to having a flat cap as a base.
It also comes with a flip can which I really like because it is easy to open and close. That is if you compare it to a screw design which can feel like an eternity when you unscrew it and re-screw it after using.
So far I’ve had a pretty good impression of this toothpaste during the unboxing with nothing negative to say about it.
To me, brushing with the Colgate charcoal was indistinguishable from any other standard toothpaste. My mouth felt clean and fresh afterwards. I also did not experience any discomfort while I was using it.
What I meant by all of that was if you blind folded me, I wouldn’t even be able to tell that it was a charcoal-based toothpaste. It really felt no different than other toothpastes especially since it tasted like mint and there was no hint of the black barbecue grill flavor.
I guess the only stand out feature was that there was an overabundance of foaming. Nonetheless, below is a summary of my experience.
|Color||Black & White Stripes|
|Texture||Solid, non-gritty, but lathers well|
|Foaminess||A lot of foaming|
This is a black and white striped colored toothpaste. It’s not pitch black in case that was what you were expecting. To me it gives off the impression of being fun and playful. Certainly more interesting looking than the typical all white colored paste.
There is a very mild mint smell so it’s not off-putting nor is it offensive. You won’t get your nose hairs singed if you sniff it. You actually need to be quite close to it to pick up on the scent.
If you were expecting this toothpaste to taste like burnt ends from a charcoal BBQ grill, you’re going to be disappointed. It was predominantly mint flavored with no hint of those black rocks anywhere.
It certainly didn’t taste bad because I quite enjoyed it. To me, it was the same flavor as Wrigley’s double mint gum. Therefore it had a mild sweet mint taste and not the menthol mint taste if you know what I’m talking about.
Due to a lot of concerns about charcoal being excessively abrasive, I was expecting this optic white toothpaste to be extra gritty feeling. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it did not feel abrasive at all. As a matter of fact, it was less gritty than the optic white pro series toothpaste.
The body and texture of the toothpaste does maintain its shape pretty well. It did not drizzle out or ooze out as I was dispensing it. The ones that are too watery can make a mess but this one kept its shape really well.
I also like to do the upside down toothbrush test to see how it holds up to gravity. There was slumping or falling off as I inverted it.
This is a SLS-based toothpaste so you should expect a decent amount of foaming in the mouth when brushing. For some reason this toothpaste had a lot of foaming for me, more so than any other optic white toothpaste that I’ve tried.
The image above was after I finished brushing for two minutes and as you can see, quite a bit of foaming action going on.
My teeth felt as clean as they could be after I finished brushing with it. There were no complaints from me in this department at all.
The color of the toothpaste residue is mildly black so it does require the sink to be cleaned after you finish brushing. I would have to say that the color is a little bit darker than the Crest charcoal toothpaste.
The aftermath in the sink wasn’t terrible as I would’ve expected. Some charcoal toothpastes are pure black and leave a mess everywhere. This one wasn’t too bad in my opinion.
I did not experience any sensitivity or discomfort while brushing with it. There is no peroxide in it so I did not expect it to cause any tingles with my teeth.
Pros & Cons
- Suitable as an everyday toothpaste.
- Contains fluoride for anti-cavity.
- Stores upright
- Fun striped colored paste.
- Doesn’t leave a mess in the sink.
- Good taste.
- Doesn’t chemically bleach teeth whiter.
- Not vibrantly black like other charcoal toothpastes.
- Small but not small enough to meet TSA travel size limit.
What I like
The one thing that I like the most about this charcoal toothpaste is that it contains fluoride. That means it can remineralize teeth by reversing small cavities and protect them from future acid attacks.
Most of the charcoal toothpastes on the market tend to be fluoride free which means they don’t have cavity preventative effects. That also makes them unsuitable as replacements for your everyday toothpaste.
What I dislike
In my opinion, I don’t really find charcoal toothpastes in general to be all that exciting and this one doesn’t particularly stand out to me. Like I said, if I was color blind or if was blind folded, I wouldn’t be able to even tell you anything special about this toothpaste. I wouldn’t even know that it was charcoal based.
This one also doesn’t turn your mouth black so it sort of loses that fun factor. However, it does leave your bathroom sink in a cleaner state after you are done brushing.
Overall, it feels like a very normal toothpaste but that’s not a terrible thing I suppose. It still gets the job done if you know what I mean.
Does it work?
Charcoal toothpaste can whiten your teeth but not in the way that you think it does.
- It can mechanically scrub away extrinsic stains on the tooth surface
- It can’t chemically bleach away intrinsic stains.
So yes, this optic white toothpaste does work but in a way different from what you may have imagined.
Mechanical teeth whitening
Mechanical teeth whitening involves using abrasives within the toothpaste to scrub away stains on the exterior surface of the teeth. The colgate charcoal toothpaste uses charcoal and hydrated silica as the whitening abrasives.
What we mean by mechanical abrasion is similar to using a sponge and scrubbing a food stained dinner plate. When you remove that piece of stuck food, it is now clean/whiter.
That is essentially how charcoal toothpastes whiten your teeth. but that is probably different from the type of whitening that you’re thinking of.
Chemical teeth whitening
When most people hear the words teeth whitening, what they’re thinking of is chemically bleaching their teeth whiter. This is the whitening method that your dentist uses for in-office whitening sessions.
The only way to accomplish chemical whitening is if the toothpaste contains hydrogen peroxide or one of its derivatives. This is the only ingredient that can chemically whiten your teeth because it can form powerful free radicals that oxidize intrinsic stains.
- Peroxide will form free radicals that can diffuse through the tooth.
- It oxidizes stains by converting double bonds to single bonds.
- Stains with less double bonds will absorb less light and reflect more of it, thus appearing whiter in color.
Most teeth whitening toothpastes don’t actually contain peroxide so that isn’t unique to charcoal. Put another way, charcoal is the same as every other whitening toothpaste out there.
However, there are a select few which do have peroxide such as the colgate optic white pro series toothpaste with 5% H2O2.
Overall the Colgate optic white charcoal toothpaste is a good everyday toothpaste which you can use in place of your usual one. It even contains sodium fluoride so it will help prevent tooth decay which is what dentists are more concerned about than whiter teeth.
With that being said, this toothpaste isn’t that exciting to me personally since it doesn’t turn your mouth black when you brush with it. It’s just a very normal standard toothpaste aside from the fact that it has some charcoal in it.
Would I use it long term? I’m not sure since I’ve still got a ton of toothpastes to review but I will definitely revisit it from time to time to compare to other brands.
Would I recommend it? If you want to use this because charcoal excites you, you should go for it. It has all of the makings of a solid everyday toothpaste. That means you can in fact replace your daily toothpaste with it and still be okay.
And that concludes the colgate optic white charcoal toothpaste dentist review.