Teeth whitening toothpaste, despite its name, doesn’t do much when it comes to giving you a whiter smile.
But don’t let this diminish your use of these kinds of toothpaste entirely.
Instead, let’s talk about what these marketing promises actually mean and what you can realistically expect from over-the-counter teeth whitening products.
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Does Teeth Whitening Toothpaste Actually Work?
Teeth whitening toothpaste can help remove stains, but only a little.
However, many toothpaste brands claim that you can get your teeth 2-3 shades lighter with their product. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. What these toothpastes actually do is maintain your tooth’s color.
That’s why if you recently had your teeth professionally whitened, your dentist might recommend one of these products— so you can keep them white. Or, if you drink coffee, red wine, or soda on a daily basis, this kind of toothpaste will ensure your favorite drink won’t cause tooth discoloration.
The reason your teeth may seem more yellow than you remember can be due to a number of reasons. Besides the foods and drinks you consume, the shade of your teeth changes due to:
- Dental trauma
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What Science Says
Let’s look at the science. One study of 24 people indicated that whitening toothpaste might have some advantage over the conventional paste at removing stains, but the difference is minuscule.
On the other hand, another study that tested about 28 toothpastes determined that three of them could remove 100% of stains in just 5 minutes. However, these toothpastes really only removed 25% of the stain after brushing if you had extensive tooth staining.
“Only a small number of the whitening toothpaste products have good chemical stain removal potential; the majority are unlikely to achieve their claimed benefits through chemical stain removal.”
If this all seems contradictory, it’s because it is. That’s why this question gets asked so often (and can be pretty controversial in the dental world).
Yet another clinical trial concludes their study of testing whitening toothpaste resulted in effectively whitening teeth when compared to a toothpaste without added whitening agents.
5 Best Teeth Whitening Toothpaste That Work
So what can we learn from all this?
It’s worth adding a teeth whitening toothpaste into your oral hygiene routine to maintain your teeth’ current shade. You may even be able to see actual whitening results when combined with OTC gels and mouth rinses.
With that being said, here are 5 of the best teeth whitening toothpaste recommended by Dr. Lasry, owner of Lasry dental Clinic in Los Angeles, California.
#5: Burt’s Bees Whitening Toothpaste
Right now, the big thing in over-the-counter teeth whitening is charcoal toothpaste. And while Burt’s Bees does sell this product, dentists will never recommend it.
Charcoal powder and toothpaste contain ingredients that are abrasive on your teeth. Over time, this can damage or thin your tooth’s enamel, which actually causes tooth decay and yellowing.
Instead, try something like their natural whitening toothpaste.
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) Free
- No Artificial Flavors & Sweeteners
- No Plastic Microbeads
- Protects against cavities
- Some users have complained about an unfavorable gel consistency
#4: Arm & Hammer Advance White™ Extreme Whitening Toothpaste
If you want a way to naturally maintain your tooth shade, Arm & Hammer’s Advance White™ Extreme Whitening Toothpaste is one that won’t break the bank.
- Low-abrasion formula to protect your enamel
- It helps remove plaque in between the teeth and along the gum line
- Uses simple ingredients for whitening (sodium carbonate peroxide a.k.a baking powder)
- Customers have reported irritation after using the product
- It may not be suitable for those with sensitive teeth and gums
#3: Crest Pro-Health Advanced Deep Clean Mint Toothpaste
This toothpaste is recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA) for stain removal.
In addition to reducing surface stains (using bleaching agents like titanium dioxide), it’s highly effective at preventing cavities, reducing the risk of gingivitis, and can help eliminate bad breath.
- Effective at treating overall oral health
- It helps reduce tooth sensitivity
- It helps prevent or reduce enamel erosion from dietary acids
- It contains artificial sweeteners and flavor (sodium saccharin)
- Contains plastic
#2: Tom’s of Maine Fluoride-Free Antiplaque & Whitening Toothpaste
This is another ADA-approved teeth whitening toothpaste with promises to help “prevent tooth decay, and to whiten teeth by removing surface stains when used as directed.”
The only claim that Tom’s Fluoride-Free Antiplaque & Teeth Whitening Toothpaste makes is that this toothpaste can help prevent cavities and help prevent surface-level stains if used twice a day (preferably after every meal).
- 92% Natural Ingredients
- Contains SLS
- Mixed Reviews
#1: Hello Naturally Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste
Another ADA- approved product, this brand formulates their toothpaste with a calcium mineral blend that whitens and brightens your smile.
The reason it’s dubbed one of the best teeth whitening toothpaste is because of its natural and vegan-friendly ingredients. Made with coconut oil, calcium, silica, fluoride, and tea tree oil, Hello‘s whitening toothpaste helps fight cavities and remove surface stains.
- Farm-grown mint for a great taste
- Great reviews
- It contains fluoride (may also be a pro to some!)
- More expensive
- Only 4 oz.
What products can I use to get whiter teeth at home?
Eating foods that are good for your teeth and maintaining a strict oral hygiene routine will help reduce the number of stains your enamel absorbs.
However, if you already have stains or your teeth are a bit more yellow than you would like, you may want to have them professionally whitened first. From there, you’ll be able to effectively maintain their brightness just with teeth whitening toothpaste.
Here’s the difference between professional teeth bleaching by a dentist versus the results you see from OTC products.
What ingredients should I look for in teeth whitening toothpaste?
The whitening ingredient that we dentists use and the ones you’ll find in whitening products are:
- Hydrogen peroxide or
- Carbamide peroxide
Carbamide peroxide is not as potent or abrasive as hydrogen peroxide, so you may want to look for this ingredient if you have sensitive teeth and gums.