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The 12 Best Whitening Toothpastes, Tested By Dentists And Beauty Editors

Feb 27, 2024

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Whiter teeth coming right up.

You know what nightmares are made of—someone telling you you have to choose between your morning coffee and white teeth. Luckily, that's a decision you never have to make if you keep your medicine cabinet stocked with a whitening toothpaste.

Like whitening strips which you've likely used before, whitening toothpastes are a budget-friendly way to lift stains caused by daily activities—like eating—off your (hopefully soon) pearly whites, except they can be used daily. "Whitening toothpastes are ideal for people who have yellow undertones to their teeth and have minor staining from food such as coffee, tea, or wine,” says Shokofeh Tabaraie, DDS, PLLC at Lakeside Dental Center.

To find the best whitening toothpastes, we interviewed a panel of three dentists and two Women's Health editors who have been brushing their teeth ... well, for their entire lives ... to dish on the toothpastes' efficacy, strength, and taste. So if you're ready for whiter teeth, grab your electric toothbrush and load it with these dentist-approved options below. Read on to learn more about the best whitening toothpastes from brands like Colgate, Crest, and Opalescence, according to dentists and Women's Health editors.

Best Teeth Whitening Strips | Best Mouthwash | Best Electric Toothbrushes | Best Toothpastes | Best Natural Toothpastes

When it comes to teeth whitening, Colgate is top tier, says Kansas City Chiefs Team Dentist and founder of TeamSmile Bill Busch, DMD, MAGD. "As someone who enjoys a daily coffee (or two) and occasionally indulges in red wine," says Busch. "I've always struggled with stubborn stains on my teeth, and this toothpaste has been a game-changer. Most of my patients feel the same." The toothpaste is also formulated with a clean, mint taste, which makes it easy to add to one’s brushing routine, he adds.

Rave Review: "I am a coffee drinker and have tried many whitening toothpastes, and this was the first one that actually made a difference. My teeth weren't movie star gleaming-white, but they did brighten up enough for me to notice the difference."

When it comes to teeth whitening toothpaste, Crest is another reputable brand, says Fatima Khan, dentist and co-founder of Riven Oral Care. The 3D White Brilliance paste is formulated with fluoride to fight against cavities, and hydrogen peroxide to aid whitening. In addition to whitening, it also leaves a film of protection from stains for up to 24 hours.

Rave Review: "This toothpaste will leave your mouth feeling clean and fresh. It really does whiten your teeth. It takes about a week to see the difference, but then you can really tell that it’s improving with each use. I won’t be without this item in the future."

If you're looking for an option that's gentler on gums and teeth, Pronamel's whitening toothpaste is a solid choice, says Dr. Khan. It has an RDA value of 37, which means it's minimally abrasive or much less than some other options on this list. The formula is designed to re-harden enamel and prevent cavities.

Rave Review: "This brand of toothpaste has a pleasant flavor and taste, and it seems to help desensitize teeth that are somewhat sensitive to pressure."

Dr. Brite's mint natural whitening toothpaste is a more natural option if you're looking for one. "This toothpaste is free from harmful chemicals like sulfates, parabens, and artificial flavors," says Busch. But, it may not be as powerful as other whitening toothpaste formulas. "The stain-removing properties (like activated charcoal and baking soda) could possibly help to lessen surface stains, but won’t remove them altogether," Busch says.

Rave Review: "This product tastes really good and I find it works well with consistent use. I also appreciate its clean ingredients. This toothpaste does lead to a bit of tooth sensitivity. My dentist reported whitening toothpastes are more abrasive than non. So, if I had to choose between a whitening toothpaste with clean ingredients or a conventional one, I'd choose Dr. Brite every time."

Lumineux's whitening toothpaste uses a blend of potent essential oils to lift stains instead of chemicals like peroxide. While this is another great option for sensitive teeth, Khan points out that the toothpaste is made without fluoride or hydroxyapatite, so it's not great for remineralizing teeth (aka returning minerals to teeth to strengthen enamel). Still, it has over 10,000 five-star reviews on Amazon from people who say it excels at whitening.

Rave Review: "I was skeptical at first because nothing works on my teeth! But after just a few washes, you can totally tell a difference! And it’s more on the natural side of toothpastes."

Though the Advance White Toothpaste has an RDA value of 117, meaning it's highly abrasive, Khan says the paste has a potent brand of whitening agents, including peroxide and fluoride. The formula is also designed to remove plaque, leaving you with a super clean feeling after brushing.

Rave Review: "Teeth are getting whiter...little by little. I had braces for a long time and it made it hard to brush, so my teeth got brown where they were not covered with braces. Almost normal now!"

Another gentle option, Busch says he has plenty of patients who enjoy using Tom's of Maine's whitening toothpaste because of its pleasant taste. It's also eco-friendly and formulated with natural ingredients, like zinc and peppermint oil, that help whiten teeth. "Since it doesn’t contain any artificial flavors or sweeteners, it also makes a great choice for my younger patients, too," Busch says.

Rave Review: "We subscribe to this product because it doesn’t have all the chemicals like other brands. There are no artificial colors or flavors, and it’s still very minty from real peppermint. No harsh whitening, which I prefer because of dental work that can't be whitened."

If you're looking for a fluoride-free option, Khan says this is a great one. "Boka uses nano-hydroxyapatite instead of fluoride to remineralize the enamel and decrease sensitivity. Hydroxyapatite restores minerals and brightens teeth," she explains. The toothpaste is also safe for kids, so it's one the entire family can use.

Rave Review: "I had developed severe dental sensitivity on one tooth due to gum recession. After a few months of consistent use of this toothpaste directly on the area, the sensitivity slowly improved and has now completely resolved."

Winning in the oral care category for our 2022 Beauty Awards, this toothpaste from Davids is made with a special ingredient that was developed by NASA. This formula works overtime to repair enamel and plug up nerve passageways that are exposed from receding gum lines, minimizing sensitivity and pain. Plus, one of our editors found that using this consistently for a month helped reduce the appearance of coffee stains on his teeth.

Rave Review: "I can’t say it enough—this toothpaste is amazing! After using it on my teeth, my mouth feels so clean and feels clean for much longer then ever before. It’s got a great flavor and no chemical taste like the name brands I’ve used in the past. Really happy I made the switch to Davids!"

Read more: Women's Health 2022 Beauty Awards

A favorite of our fitness editor Jennifer Nied, the Opalescence whitening toothpaste has a sweet minty flavor. "It keeps my teeth white even though I love my daily latte and occasional glass of wine," Neid says. The paste is designed with fluoride and xylitol to protect against cavities and has an RDA value of 90, which means it's moderately abrasive but can deliver great whitening results.

Rave Review: "This does exactly what it says. It keeps teeth white while between bleaching sessions. Tastes and feels like a professional clean."

When it comes to whitening toothpastes, commerce editor Jasmine Gomez is a fan of Hello's Activated Charcoal Toothpaste. "Not only is it fun to brush with black toothpaste (try it!), but my teeth always feel clean and brighter after a cleaning sesh," she says. The activated charcoal in the toothpaste works to polish, clean, and remove stains from teeth, all while freshening breath.

Rave Review: "It truly leaves your breath smelling fresh. It whitens your teeth for a LONG time, and has no harsh chemicals; a win-win product, for sure."

Before's Whitening Toothpaste was a 2023 Women's Health Beauty Awards winner for its ability to deliver results without irritation. The oral care winner is free of hydrogen peroxide, so it gives you results with minimal abrasion. Our tester said she noticed the whitening effects after only a few days.

Rave Review: "Love how fresh and super minty this toothpaste is! It also makes my teeth feel super smooth. My new go-to toothpaste for sure!"

Read more: Women's Health 2023 Beauty Awards

For the past few months, Women’s Health editors, including commerce editor Jasmine Gomez, vetted the bestselling, top-rated whitening toothpastes. Our team consulted several experts, including three dentists, for opinions, and then evaluated thousands of customer reviews and ratings to narrow down the best whitening toothpastes for a wide range of needs and preferences.

First things first, check for an American Dental Association seal (ADA). "When choosing whitening toothpaste go with one with the ADA seal because it has been tested for safety and efficacy," says Khan. You can also ask your dentist what they carry at their office if you're looking for suggestions, says Tabaraie.

Next, you should look for ingredients, like fluoride and hydroxyapatite. "Hydroxyapatite is another ingredient that helps remineralize your teeth and remove extrinsic staining," says Khan. "It restores mineral density and therefore makes teeth appear whiter and less translucent." Fluoride can help control cavities and strengthen your tooth enamel.

There is a downside to these ingredients, though, Khan says. "These ingredients can lead to enamel-wear, which can cause sensitivity and affect overall aesthetics due to their abrasive nature," Khan says. If you lose enamel, your teeth in turn will appear more yellow. To combat this, opt for toothpastes with a low abrasion level or with lower concentrations of ingredients, like peroxide.

If you regularly drink beverages like coffee or wine or eat colorful foods, like berries, you may have noticed your teeth don't look as pearly white as they used to. "Whitening toothpastes usually remove extrinsic stains with the use of mild abrasives," Khan says. "Mild abrasive ingredients include activated charcoal, baking soda, silica, dicalcium phosphate, and calcium carbonate."

Whitening toothpastes also provide a gentler alternative to bleach gels. “They are ideal for patients with minor to moderate teeth sensitivity," says Tabaraie. Unfortunately, they don't work as well for heavy staining or patients with grey, brown, or blue undertones, she adds.

When using a whitening toothpaste, you pretty much use it like you would any other paste. "The majority of whitening toothpastes state they have been tested and are safe to use twice a day for two minutes," says. Khan. If you do start to notice any sensitivity, she recommends then switching to a desensitizing toothpaste with one of these active ingredients—potassium nitrate, stannous fluoride, or strontium chloride to help with the sensitivity.

You should also be cautious of using multiple whitening products at once, since this can disrupt the enamel and cause more sensitivity. Lastly, some whitening toothpastes are more abrasive than others. Higher abrasion can mean more irritation for those with sensitive gums or teeth.

To determine a toothpaste's abrasion, you should check its RDA value, Khan says. An RDA value of 0-70 means low abrasion, 71-100 is medium abrasive, and 101-150 is highly abrasive. Anything higher than that may be harmful, but the maximum amount approved by the FDA is 200, Khan says.

If you want to DIY your own whitening paste, you probably have the ingredients in your cupboards.

"Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide are among the oldest at-home teeth whitening remedies," Keith Arbeitman, a dentist at New York-based Arbeitman and Shein, previously told Women's Health. "People have found real results from rinsing with diluted hydrogen peroxide for a few seconds."

For the right stain-fighting formula, Abreitman recommends adding a few drops of three percent hydrogen peroxide to plain baking soda and mix until it forms a paste. Then put it on your toothbrush and use it like any other whitening toothpaste.

Though be warned: doctors say you shouldn't use this DIY remedy regularly. Because hydrogen peroxide and baking soda are abrasive, dentist Gerry Curatola, of New York-based Rejuvenation Dentistry, recommends only using this homemade paste for up to five days, then waiting at least three months before using it again.

Read more: DIY Teeth Whitening Guide

Jasmine Gomez is the Commerce Editor at Women’s Health, where she cover the best product recommendations across beauty, health, lifestyle, fitness, and more. When she's not shopping for a living, she enjoys karaoke and dining out more than she cares to admit. Follow her @JazzeGomez.

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