Recently, you may have heard about charcoal whitening products. These products, often sold in health food stores, claim to use activated charcoal to remove surface stains on the teeth. The charcoal is applied in powder form to a toothbrush and then rubbed on the teeth, often turning the mouth black, temporarily. Charcoal whitening advocates claim that after a quick rinse, teeth will be noticeably whiter. However, the American Dental Association states that there is no evidence that these treatments are effective in creating a whiter smile. In fact, the abrasive nature of the charcoal may damage enamel. The ADA recommends speaking with your dentist about whitening treatments that are clinically proven to be safe and effective.