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The Best Whitening Toothpastes

🕚 Updated March 2022

Just because you love coffee doesn't mean your teeth have to show it. These whitening toothpastes can gently lift surface stains for a brighter, whiter smile.

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  Top Choice Best for Sensitive Teeth Best for Enamel Repair Best Natural Ingredients Professional Whitening
Total Whitening Toothpaste with Stannous Fluoride and Zinc
Whitening Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth
Gum & Enamel Repair Toothpaste
Tom's of Maine
Natural Luminous White Toothpaste with Fluoride
Extra White Professional Teeth Whitening Toothpaste
Our SummaryA solid whitening toothpaste that offers 12-hour bacteria protection.A whitening toothpaste that repairs enamel, protects against cavities, and is safe for sensitive teeth.A whitening toothpaste that also works to restore your mouth's health.An all-natural toothpaste that gently whitens without harsh ingredients.A serious whitening toothpaste that promises to lift stains and make teeth up to nine shades whiter.
ProsFights oral bacteria, prevents plaque, tartar, cavities, and gingivitis.Contains glycerin to hydrate mouth, maximum strength potassium nitrate to prevent sensitivity.Fights gingivitis, repairs gum health, restores weak enamel.Contains fluoride, all natural ingredients, free from artificial dyes, cruelty-free.Professional strength whitening, lifts by up to nine shades, protects against cavities.
ConsZinc can leave odd aftertaste, may have a gritty texture.Gritty texture, may take longer to see whitening effects.May be too abrasive for people with sensitive teeth.Small tube size, runnier texture.Expensive, may be too strong for people with sensitive teeth.
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The Best Whitening Toothpastes

A woman squeezes toothpaste onto a toothbrush.

Toothpaste is an everyday item everyone has in the bathroom cupboard or shelf to clean their teeth. Despite its widespread daily use, most people don’t put much thought into which toothpaste they buy and use.

Most buy it at the drug store or supermarket in the familiar, well-known brands, and that’s the end of the matter. However, not all tubes of toothpaste, especially ones with whitening capabilities, are created equal. There are some better suited to certain types of teeth and some with extra properties or functions, such as providing additional protection against cavities.

If you want to upgrade your toothpaste but aren’t sure what to look for, this list can give you some great recommendations.

Buying Guide for Whitening Toothpastes

Take a few key factors into consideration when shopping for the best whitening toothpaste
Bogdan Sonjachnyj/Shutterstock.com

Why buy whitening toothpaste?

A bright white smile can make a major impact on first impressions. For example, research has shown that people perceive an individual with a bright, white smile to be younger, more intelligent, and even healthier. Additionally, having a whiter smile can also improve self-esteem.

Many of the foods and drinks we consume regularly are known to stain teeth. Everything from colas and coffee to wine and even blueberries can leave stains. A good whitening toothpaste that’s used regularly can aid in quickly removing surface stains. When used consistently, it can even whiten your teeth by several shades.

What should you look for in a whitening toothpaste?

  • Protection: Some kinds of toothpaste offer certain types of protection by strengthening your enamel or preventing stains, cavities, and the like. If you’ve had any of these issues with your teeth in the past or simply want to take steps to protect yourself ahead of time, keep an eye out for toothpastes with these features.
  • Sensitivity: Some people have teeth or mouths that are very sensitive to hot or cold foods and drinks. If you’re one of these folks, consider looking for a toothpaste designed for people with sensitive teeth. They can help you build up some tolerance and protection to reduce or prevent the pain associated with consuming hot and cold foods and liquids.
  • Whitening Intensity: Some whitening toothpastes specialize in removing surface stains, while others boast about removing long-term stains. The definition of “whitening” differs among brands, so it’s important to understand what to expect from certain products.

Is charcoal a good ingredient in whitening toothpaste?

While activated charcoal is often promoted as effective at teeth whitening, there’s no scientific evidence to support that claim. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), using toothpaste with activated charcoal might actually be harmful. This is because it’s an incredibly abrasive material. And if used regularly—such as in a daily toothpaste—it can even damage your teeth by wearing down the enamel.

Our Picks for the Best Whitening Toothpastes

Top Choice

Colgate Total Whitening Toothpaste with Stannous Fluoride and Zinc

A whitening toothpaste that offers 12-hour bacterial prevention and also works to remove and prevent surface stains.

Pros: Colgate is a trusted brand when it comes to dental care. Their Total Whole Mouth Health whitening toothpaste does more than simply clean your teeth and whiten your smile; it also offers 12 hours of bacteria-fighting protection to keep your smile healthy. When used regularly, this toothpaste can aid in preventing plaque buildup, tartar, and gingivitis. Additionally, you’ll get fresher breath and stain removal with every use.

Cons: You might find that this ingredient can lead to a gritty texture which might be a deal-breaker for some people. Also note that this toothpaste contains zinc, which has a very distinctive flavor and might leave a somewhat unpleasant aftertaste.

Bottom Line: If you’re looking for peace of mind, the Colgate Total Whitening Toothpaste is designed to holistically clean your mouth and give you added protection for 12 hours. With that time span, it’s more than sufficient to reinforce dental health throughout the average person’s day.


Best for Sensitive Teeth

Colgate Whitening Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth

A whitening toothpaste specifically formulated for people with sensitive teeth.

Pros: Many teeth whitening products can be too harsh for those with sensitive teeth, leading to pain and discomfort well after you remove the strips or finish brushing your teeth. The Colgate Whitening Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth is a great alternative that gently lifts surface stains and even helps to reduce sensitivity with repeated use (ideally twice daily brushing). It contains an anti-sensitivity active ingredient that’s FDA-approved and helps to repair the enamel while also preventing cavities.

Cons: While the product promises to be gentle, a common complaint centers around the very gritty texture. Additionally, keep in mind that the whitening effects might take longer to appear as the active ingredients are present in significantly smaller quantities to help minimize discomfort.

Bottom Line: While billed as a whitening toothpaste for people with sensitive teeth, the focus is more on minimizing your dental sensitivity over whitening. You’ll still get a solid product that cleans and protects your teeth from cavities, plaque, and tartar buildup, but expect that whitening effects may take longer for you to notice.


Best for Enamel Repair

Crest Gum & Enamel Repair Toothpaste

A holistic toothpaste that not only whitens but also repairs your gums and enamel for a healthier mouth.

Pros: A healthy mouth is about more than creating a pleasing smile. There’s a direct link between oral health and cardiovascular health. The Crest Gum & Enamel Repair Toothpaste works to fortify your mouth by reversing gum problems by working below the gum line, helping to stop and reverse gingivitis and repair any weakness in your teeth enamel. The toothpaste also works to cool your gums as you brush your teeth. Meanwhile, you’ll still get whitening support to remove surface stains and prevent future stains from forming.

Cons: If you have sensitive teeth, this product might be too intense for you. The texture was often described as gritty and likely to stick to your sink like concrete.

Bottom Line: Crest Kids turned Crest Adults who want a 360-protection for their mouth along with whitening support will appreciate that this toothpaste is specifically designed to fortify and repair their gums and enamel. However, if you have sensitive teeth, this might be too intense for you.


Best Natural Ingredients

Tom's of Main Natural Luminous White Toothpaste with Fluoride

A natural toothpaste free from artificial and harsh ingredients that still gently whitens your teeth.

Pros: For people committed to avoiding harsh ingredients, weird additives, or hard-to-pronounce ingredients, Tom’s of Maine is a lifesaver when it comes to personal care products. Their Natural Luminous White Toothpaste with Fluoride is no exception. It’s free from artificial flavors, colors, fragrances, and preservatives. It’s also certified cruelty-free. You’ll like that it gently whitens your teeth by removing surface stains while also being safe for your enamel and everyday use.

Cons: While this is a solid product, the smaller size of the tubes can make this a questionable pick for someone trying to get the biggest bang for their buck. Coupled with the runnier texture, it’s easy to end up using more product than intended with every brushing session. It has a bland flavor, which might be an issue for those who love that powerful minty aftertaste usually associated with brushing their teeth.

Bottom Line: Conscious shoppers who also want a brighter smile will appreciate Tom’s of Maine as a certified B Corporation that doesn’t include artificial ingredients in their products. Just know that the smaller tube size, runnier texture, and minimal minty flavor may not be enough to woo some shoppers from traditional dental brands.


Professional Whitening

Supersmile Extra White Professional Teeth Whitening Toothpaste

A professional whitening toothpaste that promises to lift teeth by up to nine shades.

Pros: If you’re not quite ready to book a tooth whitening session at your dentist’s office, then Supersmile Extra White Professional Teeth Whitening Toothpaste is the next best thing. Promising to whiten your teeth up to nine shades, this is one of the strongest at-home whitening toothpastes you can choose. This pick relies on the proprietary formula Calprox, which relies on calcium peroxide to re-mineralize and restore enamel. It’s also free of harsh abrasives and doesn’t contain charcoal, sulfates, parabens, silica, dyes, allergens, BPA, bleaching agents, or animal byproducts. This pick also works on cosmetic dentistry appliances such as veneers, caps, and dentures.

Cons: Considering that this product is billed as professional strength, the biggest issue will center around sensitivity. Even though Supersmile promises that it won’t cause sensitivities, a product that can lift stains and whiten your teeth up to nine shades is quite powerful. Additionally, this is one of the pricier options when you consider the cost of a single tube.

Bottom Line: While cheaper than a single whitening session at your dentist’s office, the Supersmile Extra White Professional Teeth Whitening Toothpaste might be a serious splurge for some people. But with the allure of boosting your smile by as much as nine shades, this may be a smart investment for those who prefer an at-home whitening treatment.

Final Thoughts

Thankfully, you don’t have to head to your dentist just to get whiter teeth. Most whitening toothpastes are designed to gently and gradually whiten your teeth so that it’s not as obvious as an in-office treatment. And thankfully, you can also find whitening toothpastes that are still effective at helping to prevent cavities and protecting your gums for better oral health.

Meghan Herlihy Meghan Herlihy
Meghan Herlihy is a full-time writer for LifeSavvy and How-To Geek and has written across a wide variety of topics, genres, and formats, including radio talk shows, local sports journalism, and creative original fiction. She received her bachelor's degree in communications from Ithaca College and a master's in writing from Johns Hopkins University. When she's not writing, you're most likely to find her reading a book, petting every dog within eyesight, and indulging in her love of travel. Read Full Bio »
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