Updated on February 1, 2024
5 min read

Teeth Whitening Facts, Statistics & Myths

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Teeth whitening is all the rage these days. A quick search on Google or Amazon will yield thousands of results for tooth-whitening products, ranging from over-the-counter strips to professional treatments like laser whitening.

However, not all teeth whitening solutions are the same. With so much conflicting information, knowing what’s true and false regarding teeth whitening procedures can be difficult.

To help you navigate your options, this post covers teeth whitening statistics and facts to help enhance your pearly whites.

Teeth Whitening Facts

Here are some facts about teeth whitening that you may not have known:

Discolored Teeth May Mean More Issues

Natural teeth are light yellow or light gray. If yours appear darker, there could be various causes.

Possible causes of discolored teeth include:1

  • Rare metabolic disorders
  • Heavy smoking
  • Infections
  • Environmental elements
  • Age
  • Congenital ailments

Metabolic disorders can cause changes in tooth color and shape. Genetic disorders can also alter calcium or protein content and tooth enamel thickness, leading to discoloration.2

Fortunately, polishing and applying a bleaching agent on the top layer of enamel can correct this issue. However, it’s important to note that these procedures will permanently weaken the teeth.

How Genetics Paint Your Smile

Your genetics play a significant role, ultimately impacting the color of your teeth. For example, your tooth tone is predetermined when you’re in the womb.3

Tooth tone is based on the second layer of the tooth, dentin, which is naturally yellow. It’s also due to the brightness and thickness of your enamel.

Thinner enamel means more yellow dentin underneath shows through. For this reason, the upper front teeth tend to be more yellow than the lower front teeth, and the two upper front teeth are brighter than their neighboring teeth.

The Hidden Culprits of Discolored Teeth

Unlike extrinsic staining from drinks like red wine and coffee, intrinsic staining affects the inner layer of your teeth and can be challenging to correct. Early use of antibiotics like tetracycline or doxycycline and excessive fluoride intake during tooth development may contribute to this staining.4 

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Teeth Whitening Statistics

  1. With figures showing usage from 2011 to 2022, the number of American consumers using teeth whiteners has fluctuated, peaking at 40.24 million in 2018 while reaching a low of 35.26 million in 2022.6
    • 2011 – 39.07 million
    • 2012 – 39.63 million
    • 2013 – 39.44 million
    • 2014 – 39.52 million
    • 2015 – 39.22 million
    • 2016 – 37.8 million
    • 2017 – 38.92 million
    • 2018 – 40.24 million
    • 2019 – 38.29 million
    • 2020 – 37 million
    • 2021 – 35.86 million
    • 2022 – 35.26 million
projected growth of the teeth whitening market2022 2030
  1. In 2023 and 2024, the number of American consumers using tooth whiteners is expected to reach 35.13 and 35.22 million, respectively.6
  2. In 2017, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry found that referrals from satisfied friends and family members motivated 93% of people to seek cosmetic dentistry treatments. The abundance of online resources about cosmetic dental procedures influenced 75% of those people.7
  3. Most American adults (67%) have attempted to whiten their teeth to enhance their smile. Some seek professional assistance through dental practices, while others resort to over-the-counter options like whitening strips and toothpaste.7
  4. Teeth whitening ranks as the top dental service in the United States, comprising 32% of all in-office treatments, due to the 99.7% of Americans considering their smile as their top asset.7
  5. A 2016 survey in London found that 84% of participants believed that there was an increasing expectation to have a flawless smile. This trend was attributed to the surge in adults and celebrities seeking orthodontic treatment.7 
  6. According to a 2019 Forbes article, only 5% of influencers who give product or service suggestions hold 45% of social influence. This finding is expected to solidify the growth of the teeth whitening market.7

Teeth Whitening Market Statistics

  1. The teeth whitening market size is booming, with a size of USD 6.9 billion in 2021 and projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.0% between 2022 and 2030.7
  2. The dental industry faced significant challenges during the initial phase of the COVID-19 outbreak. Dental practices worldwide reached a standstill, resulting in decreased revenue and patient visits.7
  3. Whitening toothpaste dominated the market with a 33% share in 2021. The industry comprises several product segments, including light teeth whitening devices, whitening gels and strips, whitening toothpaste, and others.7
  4. In 2021, affordable whitening toothpaste dominated the market with support from industry leaders such as Colgate Palmolive and P&G.7 Active charcoal toothpaste has also become popular, although professionals don’t recommend them due to their abrasiveness.
  5. The teeth whitening market’s offline distribution sector dominated with a revenue share of 61% in 2021. Consumers purchased mostly whitening strips and toothpaste via physical retail outlets. 95% of global toothpaste sales come from offline channels.7
  6. Online sales are surging, growing six times faster than other avenues. This trend is apparent amongst industry titans such as Colgate and P&G, who have noted increased sales for their whitening products through online channels. Colgate experienced a 26% increase in global eCommerce sales in 2019, mainly driven by North American demand.7
  7. The teeth whitening market is on the verge of remarkable expansion, with a value of USD 7.2 billion in 2022 and anticipated revenue of USD 10.6 billion by 2030.7
projected growth of the teeth whitening market2022 2030 1

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Surprising Facts About Teeth Whitening

The Strongest Teeth Aren’t Pearly White

The enamel, while appearing blueish-white, is partially translucent. This hue allows the yellow color of the dentin beneath to peek through. Hence, natural teeth’s overall tint can range from light gray to light yellow.1

So, healthy natural teeth are not necessarily pearly white. Those experiencing tooth sensitivity should note this, as the quest for whiter teeth might exacerbate their condition.

Professional Whitening Services Aren’t Bleaching

At-home products and professional whitening services don’t make your teeth whiter. Instead, they remove accumulated stains to reveal your teeth’s natural shade.5

The process involves bonding a gel to the stains, oxidizing them, and lifting them away to restore your teeth’s natural color. However, returning to habits that caused the staining (i.e., drinking coffee, smoking) in the first place will put you back at square one.

Even the most expensive whitening services, which use hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide and lasers to enhance their effects, will not make teeth that were not originally very white much whiter.

You Don’t Always Need a Professional

You can maintain a whiter smile and healthy teeth by practicing solid oral hygiene. The main culprit of yellowing teeth is plaque buildup and hardened tartar.

This buildup looks unappealing and can also lead to decay if left untreated. Therefore, prioritizing daily brushing, incorporating mineral-rich foods into your diet, and using the proper toothpaste can help combat this issue.

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Last updated on February 1, 2024
7 Sources Cited
Last updated on February 1, 2024
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Villazon, L. “Are yellow teeth stronger?” BBC Science Focus Magazine, 2020.
  2. U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Tooth – abnormal colors.” MedlinePlus, n.d.
  3. Baxter, H. “There’s a reason your teeth are naturally more yellow.” Allure, 2023.
  4. Wakasa et al. “Fine structure of tooth enamel in the yellowing human teeth: SEM and HRTEM studies.” Wiley Analytical Science, 2015.
  5. Carey, CM. “Tooth Whitening: What We Now Know.” The Journal of Evidence-Based Dental Practice, 2014.
  6. U.S.: Usage of Tooth Whiteners 2011-2024.” Statista, 2022.
  7. Teeth Whitening Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Product (Whitening Toothpaste, Whitening Gels & Strips, Light Teeth Whitening Device), By Distribution Channel, By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2022 – 2030.” Grand View Research, 2020.
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