Aging, genetics, and bad habits can have both invisible and visible effects on your oral health, increasing your risk of developing cavities, gingivitis, and less-than-pearly-white teeth. If you can’t afford the cost of Professional Whitening Toothpaste your dentist and don’t want to mess with OTC kits, a daily whitening toothpaste might seem like an acceptable substitute.
But you should know they don’t help in all situations and rely on you using them correctly. It’s also important to temper your whitening expectations.
“Most take-home whitening procedures involve 15 to 30 minutes of using a whitening solution [but] when you use whitening toothpaste, you are applying this solution for two minutes at most,” says Casey Lau, DDS, co-founder, and chief dental officer of soon-to-launch sustainable oral company ELIMS.
That doesn’t mean that a Professional Whitening Toothpaste won’t do the trick for your surface-level stains, but you’re not going to see the same dramatically brighter results you would with a more in-depth treatment, says Dr. Lau. Instead, you can expect a whitening toothpaste to help if you already have white teeth and want to maintain that appearance, or if you want to counteract your coffee or red wine habit with a good scrubbing.
Here are the best whitening kinds of toothpaste on the market today.
If you have surface stains on your teeth but an otherwise-healthy mouth, you can feel comfortable using a vibrant whitening toothpaste like Crest 3D White in Radiant Mint. Not only will your mouth feel fresh after using it, but you might also see up to 80 percent of your surface stains fade over time—and using the toothpaste regularly can even prevent future stains from developing on your teeth.
But that’s actually not why we chose this toothpaste as our best overall pick; sure, that much whitening power is great, but there are a few other benefits built into Crest 3D White that make it our top choice. It’s safe for your enamel, making it less irritating to sensitive mouths, strengthens your teeth, and protects against cavities. Basically, it gives you whiter teeth plus a healthier mouth, and we can’t find anything wrong with that!
If you’ve ever felt the zaps and zings around your teeth and gums that are ubiquitous with sensitive teeth, you’ve probably switched over to Sensodyne toothpaste: the brand is known for making products that build a protective layer around your touchy nerves so you can eat and drink without cringing in pain.
This is especially useful when you’re trying to whiten your teeth with toothpaste since the whitening process can cause sensitivity even in people who have no prior sensitivity issues.
“Typically, I don’t recommend whitening toothpaste for patients with sensitive teeth, especially if it contains hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide,” says Dr. Todd Bertman, the owner of Advanced Dental Arts in New York City.
Thankfully, Sensodyne White doesn’t contain any peroxide ingredients, so it remains an option for people with already-sensitive teeth. It removes surface stains, protects against cavities and tartar buildup, and decreases sensitivity all at the same time, making it a standout choice for a whitening toothpaste that won’t irritate your mouth.
If you think it’s no big deal that your gums bleed when you floss or brush your teeth, think again this is called gingivitis, and it’s an early sign of gum disease, or periodontitis, a serious oral condition that can lead to eventual tooth loss.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that you can reverse signs of gingivitis, improve your oral health, and whiten your teeth with Paradontax, one of the only whitening toothpaste available that protects the seal between your teeth and gums, preventing the bleeding that’s so often a symptom of gingivitis. Paradontax uses stannous fluoride, a special antibacterial kind of fluoride, to not only fight cavities but kill the bacteria that cause plaque, gingivitis, and sensitivity.
It does all of this while gently whitening teeth, ultimately revealing a much brighter, healthier smile overall.
One way that many whitening kinds of toothpaste actually whiten is by scrubbing your teeth with harsh abrasives. However, this can cause other problems, says Misty Mattingly, RDH, BSDH, vice president of hygiene operations at Sage Dental.
“You should avoid pastes with abrasive ingredients, such as baking soda; it’s a common misconception that baking soda is good for teeth whitening when in reality it can abrade your enamel,” she explains.
If you’re looking for a natural alternative to the harsh ingredients in many whitening kinds of toothpaste, the Naturally Whitening option from hello might be just what the dentist ordered. It uses a calcium mineral blend to whiten your teeth and includes ingredients like coconut oil, aloe vera, tea tree oil, and farm-grown mint to freshen your breath and prevent cavities.
Even better than the ingredients hello toothpaste uses are the ones it doesn’t: the brand doesn’t contain any sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), artificial sweeteners, dyes, or parabens, and is vegan, gluten-free, and cruelty-free.
Braces are a drag, but it’s even worse if you have yellow teeth and can’t have any whitening treatments done.
That doesn’t mean you’re stuck with those yellow teeth until your braces come off, though: using a Professional Whitening Toothpaste, says Dr. Bertman, is the best solution for removing surface stains when you have braces.
“Because whitening toothpaste doesn’t actually bleach your teeth, you can use these products to maintain the original shade of your teeth prior to having your braces put on, with the added bonus of the enamel strengthening properties these products offer,” he explains.
For this, we love Colgate Total Whitening Toothpaste formulated with stannous fluoride and zinc. Your teeth need a little extra TLC when you have braces, and the antibacterial properties of the stannous fluoride will keep them free of cavities while the zinc controls plaque and reduces bad breath. All that bacteria- and tartar prevention goes a long way toward helping your teeth stay pearly white (so you can reveal a super straight and bright smile when those braces finally come off).
For a Professional Whitening Toothpaste that doesn’t damage your teeth, Crest 3D White Toothpaste Radiant Mint (view at Amazon) brightens but is also easy on your enamel. People with sensitive teeth should use caution with whitening kinds of toothpaste, but generally, the extra whitening formulation of Sensodyne’s Toothpaste for Sensitivity (view at Amazon) is a more pain-free solution. If you’re extra worried about cavity prevention, Tom’s of Maine Whole Care Natural Toothpaste (view at Amazon) whitens while fighting dental decay.