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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.