Best Whitening Toothpastes

What is Whitening Toothpaste?

Whitening toothpaste has been shown to whiten teeth slightly. These products are ideal for people with minor tooth discoloration. 

For example, if you have surface stains caused by coffee, tea, or cigarettes, consistent use of whitening toothpaste can help reduce this discoloration. 

Deeper discoloration (that extends below the tooth’s surface) will likely not lighten with whitening toothpaste alone. These stains are typically caused by certain medications, tooth injuries, and excessive fluoride use, among others. Professional whitening treatment, which uses higher bleaching concentrations, is best in these cases.

How Does Whitening Toothpaste Work?

Whitening toothpaste contains specific ingredients that gradually lift stains, including:

  • Peroxide, such as hydrogen or carbamide peroxide, helps break down and remove stains. The most effective whitening products contain peroxide as an active ingredient.1, 2 Peroxide has been proven to penetrate tooth enamel and reach the discolored molecules inside of teeth. ​The discolored teeth molecules interact with the whitening agent's oxygen molecules, gently lifting stains. 
  • Other ingredients and special abrasives like silica, fluoride, and baking soda. Silica and baking soda cause a whitening effect on tooth surfaces and gently polish teeth. Fluoride protects against plaque buildup and cavities.
  • Some products also contain blue covarine, which has been shown to reduce yellowing. However, the pigment does not actually remove stains; it just sticks to the surface of teeth, making them appear less yellow.3

How to Use Whitening Toothpaste

Whitening toothpaste is easy to use and can be a great addition to your oral care routine. 

You’ll apply a small amount of the toothpaste to your toothbrush and brush for two minutes. How often you should use whitening toothpaste depends on the brand. 

Some products can be used twice daily until results are achieved, while others contain high peroxide concentrations and should be used less frequently. 

Read the instructions before using any whitening product, as overuse can lead to tooth enamel damage and gum irritation over time. 

Does Whitening Toothpaste Really Work?

With proper use, whitening toothpaste is generally an effective teeth whitening option for lifting surface stains. However, it will not do anything to intrinsic stains. Many dentists recommend using whitening toothpaste in combination with another whitening treatment, such as LED whitening kits, whitening strips, or professional whitening treatment to enhance the effects.

Certain whitening toothpastes on the market contain activated charcoal, which some companies claim ‘detoxifies’ the mouth while also removing stains quickly. 

However, activated charcoal has no evidence to support that it is entirely safe to use in the mouth.3, 4 It may do more harm than good by removing enamel and increasing the risk of tooth decay (due to its abrasive properties).4

Until more research comes out, many researchers and dentists recommend avoiding charcoal toothpaste. Only use peroxide-containing whitening toothpaste for best results.

Pros and Cons

The pros of teeth whitening toothpaste include
  • Inexpensive bleaching option
  • Easy-to-use and incorporate into your daily routine
  • Many products and brands to choose from 
  • Effective way to maintain a white smile before and after professional whitening treatment
  • Can help prevent stains before they appear
  • Causes less sensitivity than stronger whitening treatments
The cons of teeth whitening toothpaste include:
  • Can cause issues such as enamel erosion, sensitive teeth, and gum irritation with consistent (or improper) use
  • Does not provide long-lasting whitening results and must be used consistently
  • Only remove shallow surface stains on teeth
  • Will not whiten restorations like crowns, fillings, or veneers (still safe to use on them)

Why Trust Us? How We Judge Whitening Products

All medical content on this site, including this guide and other product reviews, is written by our team of experienced writers and researchers. 

All NewMouth writers vet products that are recommended and reviewed in the industry. In cases where this is not possible, our team will:

  • Compare positive and negative reviews on the products
  • Talk to company leaders to ensure their products are safe and effective
  • Look into costs to ensure customers are getting the best quality products at reasonable prices
  • Read research studies to compare the pros and cons of each product

Every piece of content is heavily reviewed before publication. All content on NewMouth is also medically reviewed by a licensed dentist, specifically any content where we recommend products. Our dentists are specifically instructed to flag any recommendations they don’t agree with. Any products that don’t meet their professional standards are removed.

6 Best Whitening Toothpastes of 2021 (That Actually Work)

Based on our research, the best whitening toothpastes of 2021 are:

Colgate optic White Advanced

Colgate Optic White Toothpaste

This whitening toothpaste claims you’ll have noticeably whiter teeth after just three days of consistent use. It can also lighten teeth up to four shades after brushing twice daily for four weeks.

The product contains 2 percent hydrogen peroxide, which dentists recommend for whitening. Colgate’s hydrogen peroxide formula is patented and provides long-lasting cooling to keep your breath fresh longer. 

The enamel-safe teeth whitening formula is also safe for daily use and contains fluoride to protect against cavities. 

Crest 3d White Brillance

Crest 3D White Brilliance Toothpaste

This toothpaste uses Crest’s most advanced bleaching formula, removing up to 95 percent of surface stains with consistent use. The micro-cleansing teeth whitener polishes away stains and provides a gentle foaming action to clean hard-to-reach areas. 

When paired with daily brushing (twice a day), this toothpaste provides 24-hour active stain prevention. It is also safe to use on sensitive teeth and gums. 

The formula is enamel-safe and has a vibrant peppermint flavor to freshen your breath. It also contains fluoride to help protect your teeth from plaque buildup and cavities. 

Arm and Hammer Advanced White

Arm & Hammer Advance White Extreme Whitening Toothpaste

This toothpaste uses Crest’s most advanced bleaching formula, removing up to 95 percent of surface stains with consistent use. The micro-cleansing teeth whitener polishes away stains and provides a gentle foaming action to clean hard-to-reach areas. 

When paired with daily brushing (twice a day), this toothpaste provides 24-hour active stain prevention. It is also safe to use on sensitive teeth and gums. 

The formula is enamel-safe and has a vibrant peppermint flavor to freshen your breath. It also contains fluoride to help protect your teeth from plaque buildup and cavities. 

Sensdoyne Pronamel Gentle

Sensodyne Pronamel Gentle Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste

This whitening toothpaste is specially formulated for sensitive teeth and gums. It helps reharden and strengthen tooth enamel damaged by acidic foods and drinks. For best results, brush twice a day for two minutes. 

The toothpaste also protects your teeth from pain triggers like temperature changes, sweets, acids, and contact. Fluoride is included to protect against cavities and improve enamel health. 

Native Toothpaste

Native Whitening Toothpaste with Fluoride

Best Deep Clean Option

Native is a newer and more expensive brand of teeth whitening toothpaste. However, this product has tons of five-star reviews across multiple websites. Many customers mention that it provides a deep clean, freshens breath, and gradually whitens teeth with daily use. 

Native’s fluoride whitening toothpaste contains 0.24 percent sodium fluoride and silica, a gentle abrasive that helps polish teeth, remove plaque/tartar, and lift stains. 

The formula also contains ingredients like glycerin to retain natural moisture and xylitol to help remove bacteria and freshen bad breath. 

Toms of Maine Flouride free Antiplaque Whitening

Tom's of Maine Fluoride-Free Antiplaque & Whitening Toothpaste

Best Fluoride-Free Option

Tom’s is a popular brand of natural and cruelty-free oral care products. This mint toothpaste doesn’t contain fluoride, artificial dyes, preservatives, flavorings, or sweeteners. The ingredients are vegan (and 100 percent naturally derived) to provide a non-toxic, fresh whitening experience.

Tom’s fluoride-free toothpaste also contains zinc citrate, xylitol, and other antiplaque substances. These ingredients work together to freshen breath and remove surface stains without harming your teeth.

Resources

(1) Basting, RT, et al. “Clinical Comparative Study of the Effectiveness of and Tooth Sensitivity to 10% and 20% Carbamide Peroxide Home-Use and 35% and 38% Hydrogen Peroxide In-Office Bleaching Materials Containing Desensitizing Agents.” Operative Dentistry, Allen Press, 1 Sept. 2012. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22616927/

(2) Tao D;Smith RN;Zhang Q;Sun JN;Philpotts CJ;Ricketts SR;Naeeni M;Joiner A; “Tooth Whitening Evaluation of Blue Covarine Containing Toothpastes.” Journal of Dentistry, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29233260/.

(3) “Is Whitening Toothpaste Worth the Extra Money?” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 24 Feb. 2021, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/whitening-toothpaste/faq-20058411.

(4) Brooks, John, et al. “Charcoal and charcoal-based dentifrices.” The Journal of the American Dental Association, 1 Sept 2017, jada.ada.org/article/S0002-8177(17)30412-9/fulltext.

(5) Brooks, John K., et al. “Charcoal and Charcoal-Based Dentifrices: A Literature Review.” The Journal of the American Dental Association, Elsevier, 7 June 2017, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0002817717304129.

(6) BJ;, Kleber CJ;Putt MS;Nelson. “In Vitro Tooth Whitening by a Sodium Bicarbonate/Peroxide Dentifrice.” The Journal of Clinical Dentistry, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9835828/.

(7) CP;, Hara AT;Turssi. “Baking Soda as an Abrasive in Toothpastes: Mechanism of Action and Safety and Effectiveness Considerations.” Journal of the American Dental Association (1939), U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29056187/.

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