For the most part, there are two main alternatives to conventional toothpastes for people who are looking for an alternative to a traditional minty-fresh and luminously coloured toothpaste tube, one is familiar to a lot of people whilst the other is a more unconventional earthpaste.
The benefits of bentonite clay are primarily seen in the form of face masks that help to absorb dirt, oils and sebum from the skin, and the principle behind clay toothpastes is that the same principle will apply.
It will pull bacteria and toxins out of the mouth and reduce the acidity of an area of the mouth that is often affected by the types of food and drink that goes into it, as well as being mildly abrasive.
By contrast, activated charcoal works primarily through abrasion, and provides its whitening effect by physically scraping away layers of plaque and creating a brighter, better look.
However, whilst it does technically work, charcoal is not recommended by dentists for use on teeth for a variety of reasons, and regularly using charcoal toothpastes and tooth powders can cause permanent harm to your teeth.
Charcoal’s effects are largely limited to scraping away at your teeth and because of how rough charcoal can be, this includes layers of enamel. On its own, with no fluoride or remineralisation, this can leave your teeth in a far worse position.
As well as this, charcoal is primarily used to stop medication and poisons from being absorbed by the stomach, so it can be potentially harmful to people on regular prescriptions.
By contrast, bentonite and kaolin clays are far less abrasive and contain calcium which is a mineral associated with teeth and bone health. Its primary action as well is less about scraping and more about absorbing, which makes its effects more gentle on your mouth.
More research needs to be undertaken, but compared to activated charcoal alone it is a clear favourite.