About Active Bright
Advertised as an all-natural, powerful teeth whitening solution, Active Bright is a formulation of activated coconut charcoal that promises to provide a teeth whitening solution you can use at home.
Despite the dark color, activated charcoal has long been used as a natural way to lighten stained, discolored and dull-looking teeth for many years.
According to instructional videos and pictures on the website, using Active Bright is almost as simple as a brushing your teeth. First, you need to dip your toothbrush in water to make it slightly wet. Then, it can be dipped directly into the Active Bright canister so that the bristles are coated.
Afterward, you can brush your teeth like normal, being especially careful to target the areas with the biggest stains. After several minutes of brushing, you can rinse your mouth until you spit completely clear water. The website claims that users will start to notice a difference in their teeth from the first treatment.
How Does Activated Charcoal Whiten Teeth?
Through the use of activated charcoal made from coconut fibers, the product claims to trap toxins and chemicals in your mouth and then remove them for a brighter smile. As an added benefit, Active Bright is also flavored with mint for fresh breath.
Active Bright claims to be effective against a wide variety of tooth stains, including coffee, tea, wine, tobacco, grape juice and more. The product is also advertised as natural and safe for daily use. However, the term ‘natural' is largely unregulated for supplements, and the product website doesn't expand on the meaning of natural in this instance. How might it accomplish all this?
Chemically identical to what you use to fire up your grill, activated charcoal comes from burning carbon material (usually wood) at a low temperature to temporally trap gasses and create large pores in the material.
Besides barbecues, activated charcoal is used as a natural treatment for trapping organic chemicals in the body so that they can be flushed out. By binding to potentially dangerous substances like xylene, benzene, toluene, and some types of chlorinated compounds, activated charcoal prevents them from getting reabsorbed in your body. For this reason, medical-grade activated charcoal is often ingested to help treat food poisoning, lower cholesterol, cure hangovers and reduce bloating and gas.
When used topically in teeth products like Active Bright, the natural absorptive properties (the minerals bond to the stains) and abrasive action of activated charcoal causes it to remove plaque and stains from teeth in a similar process to how many whitening toothpastes work.
In other words, rubbing charcoal on your teeth can't change their physical structure and won't be able to remove stains that go deeper than surface-level or are caused by teeth that are naturally turning yellow. This means that activated charcoal can’t whiten teeth that are yellowed from health problems or antibiotic use.
However, our search of published research on activated charcoal has revealed that there is currently no clinical evidence on its efficacy for teeth whitening. While there are plenty of personal testimonies from bloggers and on Youtube about its effectiveness, we didn’t encounter any clinical studies on the National Institutes of Health’s PubMed that specifically looked at the benefits of charcoal for whitening teeth, or that validated any of Active Bright’s claims.
Are There Risk Factors for using Activated Charcoal on Teeth?
Though the Mayo Clinic indicates that activated charcoal is safe to digest, they also note that its natural abrasiveness can lead to tooth enamel damage.
For this reason, in our opinion, people with sensitivity should be extremely careful to only lightly graze their teeth with charcoal powder in order to prevent any scratching or chipping on the surface.
Additionally, a news report from Fox News revealed that many medical professionals are against the use of DIY activated charcoal teeth treatments because they haven’t been evaluated or approved by the American Dental Association, and that the abrasiveness of these products is currently untested.
While the doctors in the report conceded that activated charcoal could whiten teeth for many patients, they expressed concern for the long-term health of their teeth if used incorrectly. Instead of turning to home-whitening kits like activated charcoal powders, the dentists recommended that those interested in whitening their teeth visit with their dentists first.
Also, while activated charcoal can remove surface stains on teeth, it might inadvertently stain other surfaces. Why? Charcoal is known for staining fabric and grout surfaces, so it's important to protect your workspace before doing a teeth whitening treatment. In the same way, activated charcoal might stain porcelain veneers, caps and crowns, which can lead to uneven tones in your mouth.
How Much Does Active Bright Cost?
At this time, Active Bright can only be ordered through the product website. Each canister costs $19.99 with free shipping, and comes with a tooth whitening Shade Guide. For an additional $9.99 fee, you can get a second canister as well.
Each order is covered by a 60-day money back guarantee, and customer service can be reached at 866-772-9561. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the $9.99 fee for a second canister is nonrefundable.
According to the website, each order will be shipped within 30 days of your order.
How Does Active Bright Compare to Other Teeth Whitening Strategies?
There are a wide variety of DIY teeth whitening products on the market today, including whitening gels, strips, toothpastes, trays, and rinses. Every system has its advantages and disadvantages for giving you whiter looking teeth, and activated charcoal is advertised as a more natural solution to mainstream peroxide-filled whitening products, as they can cause tooth sensitivity and irritation for some users.
According to what we saw on the ingredients list of different activated charcoal products, there isn’t a lot to differentiate them from Active Bright, besides price. Some, like Active Bright, have flavor additives like mint to make them stand out from the rest.
Others are certified organic or advertised as being ground to an "ultra-fine" texture. In any case, the active ingredient of activated charcoal remains the same, and several other products are also infused with coconut shells and fibers as well.
Compared to some of these other options, our research revealed that Active Bright doesn’t currently have any customer reviews on their website, and we also couldn’t find any reviews online from verified buyers.
Specifically, one of Active Bright’s competitors (chosen at random) is Dental Duty Activated Charcoal. Instead of coming in a canister, Dental Duty is an activated-charcoal infused toothpaste that can be used like normal toothpaste.
Like Active Bright, this product is manufactured in the United States, and it retails for about $12. It had 80 reviews on Amazon that were almost all five stars at the time of our research.
Another coconut-derived activated charcoal product on the market is Coal-Conut, which retails at $23 for 8 ounces. (Active Bright is $20 for a “60-day supply”).
This product is advertised as an ultra-fine grind and is organic approved, which might be a selling point for those that are worried about protecting their enamel and staying away from nonorganic ingredients in their whitening products.
In order to make the best teeth whitening purchase, it’s important to carefully review the claims made for different products and see how they correspond to the available clinical studies.
Because no activated charcoal products have been evaluated by the American Dentist Association, as well as some of the potential damage that can occur to your teeth’s enamel when applying any abrasive product, it might be best to talk to your dentist before investing in any of these products yourself.
Our Bottom Line About Active Bright
Our online research into tooth whitening options has shown us that activated charcoal might be a viable solution for scrubbing surface stains from your teeth and getting a whiter smile. As reported by sites like Fox News, while many dentists are concerned about the abrasive effects of charcoal on your enamel, it seems likely that taking care to not rub the substance too vigorously on your teeth might reduce this risk.
While we haven’t tested this product for ourselves, Active Bright appears to be similar in formulation, and its promised results of brighter teeth, as other activated charcoal teeth whitening products. For a 120-day supply, its cost is similar to many competitors, and it has the same active ingredients as other activated charcoal teeth whitening products, with a minty flavor.
For the amount of product you get (if you take advantage of the two-for-one deal on the Active Bright website), this product seems more affordable than many other activated charcoal options, and it comes with a 60-day money back guarantee. While some brands are advertised at a lower price, they typically contain less than three ounces of charcoal.
For this reason, those that are looking to try a new way to whiten their teeth might find Active Bright to be a good product to try. We just recommend that you talk to your dentist first.