Crest 3D White Charcoal Toothpaste Review By Dentist

Written & Reviewed by Dr David Chen

This is my personal review of the Crest 3D White Charcoal toothpaste with all of my subjective opinions and the objective facts about it.

Crest 3D White Charcoal toothpaste
Crest 3D White Whitening Therapy Toothpaste – Charcoal

Yes, I am a dentist so don’t skip the section about how this toothpaste works because everyone is curious as to whether charcoal can whiten teeth.

Perhaps 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 Crest 3D white charcoal toothpaste is supposed to gently whiten your teeth by removing surface stains. It was formulated in such a way that it can do it without leaving a mess unlike the charcoal powder based toothpastes.

As an additional perk, it also contains fluoride so it’ll help strengthen any weakened enamel.

Featured benefits

The main selling point of the charcoal toothpaste by Crest is that it can gently whiten without leaving a mess and it’ll still help remineralize weakened teeth. A lot of charcoal products tend to be fluoride-free so this one is one of the exceptions.

List of benefits:

  • Gently brightens teeth.
  • Mint taste.
  • Charcoal.
  • Long-lasting cooling sensation.
  • Strengthens enamel.

Directions for use

The directions are for adults and children 2 years or older.

How to use it:

  1. Brush at least twice a day or after meals.
  2. Spit out and do not swallow.
  3. For children under 6, use a pea sized amount to minimize swallowing.

Interestingly there is no recommendation for how long you should brush your teeth. Although just to remind you, the general recommendation is brushing for 2 minutes.

Product specifications

Net weight3.5 oz (99 g)
Dispensing mechanismSqueezable tube
Remineralization agentSodium Fluoride
Whitening agentCharcoal & Abrasives
Technical specifications of Crest charcoal toothpaste


There are a total of 16 ingredients in the charcoal whitening therapy toothpaste from Crest.

Crest 3D White Charcoal toothpaste - directions ingredients
Directions & Ingredients


  • Sodium fluoride (0.243%) – anti-cavity.

Whitening abrasives:

  • Hydrated Silica – mild natural whitening abrasive.
  • Charcoal Powder – natural abrasive for whitening.
  • Mica – whitening abrasive & white color.

Stain and tartar prevention:

  • Disodium Pyrophosphate – anti-tartar.


  • Sorbitol – sweetener/humectant.
  • Flavor
  • Sodium Saccharin – sweetener.
  • Sucralose – sweetener.

pH adjuster:

  • Sodium Hydroxide – pH adjuster.


  • Water – solvent.
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – surfactant/detergent.
  • Cellulose Gum – thickener and prevents drying out.
  • Carbomer – thickener.
  • Polysorbate 80 – surfactant/emulsifier.
  • Titanium Dioxide – adds white color.


The Crest 3D white charcoal toothpaste comes in a black and white rectangular box with a cut out at the top. The color scheme is to signify that it is a charcoal based product. Although I’m not sure what the box cut out does because all you see is just the white toothpaste cap.

The top and bottom of the package does not have a plastic tape as a security seal. However, once you try to open it, you’ll shortly realize that the inner flaps do have glue. The adhesive acts as tamper proof evidence to let you know if anyone has opened or used it before.

Upon opening the box, the inner contents reveal just the tube of toothpaste and nothing else. There is no cardboard protective feature inside the box. The only reason I mention that is because I do appreciate when companies take the effort to do it. I’ve seen some pretty innovative designs.

The Crest charcoal toothpaste tube has an incredibly soft plastic feel to it. It’s not stiff like a lot of the other products so it just feels very pleasant in my hands. I also do appreciate how it has a flat cap which allows it to be stored in an upright vertical position.

It does have a screw off cap so you have to twist it to remove it and twist it to screw it back on. Interestingly it has a double cap design which does help give it a better seal.

So far I’ve had a pretty good impression of this toothpaste during the unboxing.

My experience

It felt very ordinary when I brushed with the Crest charcoal toothpaste. What I meant by that was that it felt similar to a lot of the other toothpastes that I’ve used. The addition of charcoal didn’t really enhance my experience in the way that I thought it would.

Crest 3D White Charcoal toothpaste - foam color inside mouth after brushing
White colored foam in mouth

To be clear, I’m not saying that this is a bad toothpaste, it just didn’t have the “WOW” factor that I was expecting from charcoal products. That feeling probably stems from the fact that brushing with this charcoal toothpaste did not turn my mouth black, it was still mostly white in color.

ColorBlack & White Stripes
SmellLight Mint
TasteModerate Mint
TextureSolid, non-gritty, but lathers well
FoaminessDecent foaming
SensitivityNo sensitivity or discomfort
Summary notes from using the charcoal toothpaste


This toothpaste has a black and white striped color that looks very playful. Initially, I thought it would be a pure black color but I was surprised by the mixed stripes.

Crest 3D White Charcoal toothpaste - black and white striped toothpaste
Black & white colored stripe


It has a very light mint smell so it’s not off-putting nor is it offensive. It definitely did not feel like it was singing my nose hair while I was sniffing it.


It had a moderate amount of mintiness while I was brushing with it but I suppose that was to be expected since the labeled flavor was “invigorating mint.” I did not get any sort of charcoal taste at all from it. It was predominantly mint flavored.


You would think that this toothpaste would feel absurdly gritty since it is charcoal based but it didn’t feel that way at all. Yes, the toothpaste is very solid as you’re dispensing it but it felt soft and spreadable while I was brushing with it.

Crest 3D White Charcoal toothpaste - solid non-droopy textured paste
Non-slumping toothpaste texture

The toothpaste does not slump at all even if I invert my toothbrush in my upside down toothbrush test. It stays on the bristles despite being inverted.

Crest 3D White Charcoal toothpaste - upside down toothbrush test
Upside down toothbrush test


This is a SLS-based toothpaste so you should expect a decent amount of foaming in the mouth when brushing. If you’ve used the non-sodium lauryl sulfate products, those barely foam at all. The foaming wasn’t so much that it made me feel like a rabid dog that was foaming at the mouth.


I would say that my teeth felt decently clean after brushing with it. My mouth did feel slightly more dry from using it though.

Nonetheless, what I appreciated the most about this charcoal toothpaste was that it didn’t make a big mess in the sink. Some of the extremely black colored ones would leave black splotches all over the sink. Since the crest one didn’t create black foam, the sink wasn’t a mess nor did I have to clean it up afterwards.

Crest 3D White Charcoal toothpaste - non-black colored sink mess after brushing
Doesn’t leave a black mess in the sink

The aftermath in the sink was mostly white with an ever so slight hint of black.


There was no discomfort or sensitivity while using this toothpaste. That is due to the fact there there isn’t a teeth bleaching agent in it. Therefore you should rest assured that it won’t cause you any additional teeth sensitivity.

Pros & Cons


  • Suitable as an everyday toothpaste since it contains fluoride for cavity prevention.
  • Stores upright
  • Fun striped colored paste.
  • Doesn’t leave a mess in the sink.
  • Tube plastic feels nice.


  • Small but not small enough for TSA limit.
  • Twist off cap takes a long time to remove.
  • Smaller cap size is difficult to grip when hands are wet.
  • Doesn’t chemically bleach teeth whiter.
  • More drying on the mouth.
  • Not vibrantly black like other charcoal toothpastes.

What I like

If you wanted a charcoal toothpaste because you like to keep up with the trends, I think this one from crest is a good choice because it contains fluoride. Since it has anti-cavity properties and it can remineralize tooth decay, you can in fact use this as a replacement for your daily toothpaste.

Most of the charcoal toothpastes on the market are fluoride free which means they don’t have cavity preventative effects nor are they suitable replacements as an everyday toothpaste.

What I dislike

In my opinion, I don’t really find charcoal toothpastes in general to be all that exciting. This one in particular 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.

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. What it cannot do is chemically bleach away intrinsic tooth discolorations.

Mechanical teeth whitening

Mechanical teeth whitening involves using abrasives within the toothpaste to scrub away stains on the surface of the teeth. Chemical teeth whitening is what your dentist uses for in-office whitening sessions where deeply embedded stains are oxidized.

For the crest charcoal toothpaste, it whitens your teeth by using charcoal and hydrated silica which both have a certain level of abrasiveness to them. When we say it mechanically abrades away stains, that is akin to using a sponge and scrubbing a food stained dinner plate. That is essentially how charcoal toothpastes whiten your teeth.

Chemical teeth whitening

That type of whitening is different from what you’re probably imagining such as the in-office treatments at the dentist where your teeth get chemically bleached. The only way to bleach your teeth chemically is if the product contains hydrogen peroxide.

hydrogen peroxide decomposition to radicals - reaction equations
Hydrogen peroxide forms free radicals

How hydrogen peroxide whitens teeth:

  1. Peroxide will form free radicals that can diffuse through the tooth.
  2. It oxidizes stains by converting double bonds to single bonds.
  3. Stains with less double bonds will absorb less light and reflect more of it, thus appearing whiter in color.
Hydrogen peroxide oxidation of double bonds
Credit: Clifton Carey

Most teeth whitening toothpastes actually do not contain peroxide so I wouldn’t say that charcoal is the exception. It’s basically the same as every other whitening toothpaste out there.

However, there are in fact some toothpastes which do have peroxide but these are far and fewer in between. An example would be the colgate optic white pro series toothpaste with 5% hydrogen peroxide.

Colgate pro series peroxide toothpaste


Overall the Crest 3D white charcoal toothpaste is a solid everyday toothpaste which you can use in place of your usual one. It actually contains sodium fluoride in it so it will help prevent tooth decay which is what most dentists are concerned about.

With that being said, it isn’t particularly exciting at least to me since it doesn’t turn your mouth black when you brush with it. Then there is also the fact that it does not possess the ability to chemically bleach your teeth whiter.

Unfortunately it is the same as every other charcoal whitening toothpaste like the colgate charcoal toothpaste which also do not have peroxide in them. So if you were looking for a potent bleaching toothpaste, you may want to look into the colgate optic white product line or even the Hismile PAP+ whitening toothpaste.


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