Best whitening toothpastes to make your teeth shine

·8-min read

When you head to the dental aisle at any supermarket or chemist, it is filled with toothpastes making all sorts of claims that it's difficult to know where to start.

Wanting white teeth is no longer considered a superficial cosmetic desire but as a necessity for general maintenance of your pearly whites. You only get one set after all.

For a brighter, and whiter smile, it is best to avoid staining foods like tea, coffee, balsamic vinegar and red wine, but if that sounds inconceivable, whitening toothpastes will come in handy in order to reduce the appearance of the stains and lighten yellowness. They won’t work as effectively or instantly as professional treatments but they are far more cost effective.

We have consulted Dr Richard Marques of Devonshire Place Dental and Sunny Sihra, Dentist and Owner of SimplyTeeth Clinic to find out everything you need to know about whitening toothpastes.

Do whitening toothpastes work?

Dr Richard Marques explains that “Whitening toothpastes do work to brighten teeth, remove stains and polish teeth.” However, he confirms that “they are not as effective as a whitening procedure performed by a dental professional.”

Sunny Sihra adds that results will vary based on the user, the brand and the ingredients, “Whitening toothpastes should work to an extent but everyone’s teeth and enamel are different. When used twice a day whitening toothpaste can take from two to six weeks to change the colour and appear whiter. This is dependent on the type of toothpaste being used and the strength of the whitening ingredient within the fluoride.”

How do whitening toothpastes work?

Sihra clarifies, “Whitening toothpastes contain agents and abrasives that polish teeth and help dissolve any stains”. They specifically target the enamel, the outer protective layer of your teeth to lighten or remove surface stains. Different formulations will do this in varying ways. Blue optic brighteners coat the teeth for an instant whitening effect, the likes of charcoal or silica act as polishing granules to remove plaque, enzyme-actions uses fruits to break down stain-causing proteins and chemicals like hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide bleach and lighten stains. The latter can be quite harsh and may cause increased sensitivity.

What ingredients should you be looking out for?

“You should be looking for whitening toothpastes with active ingredients as these make the real difference in how effectively they whiten the teeth,” Sihra reveals. “Usually toothpastes will contain one of the following: hydrogen peroxide, carbamide peroxide and mild abrasives.”

“Hydrogen peroxide is an active ingredient and can be found in many drugstore whitening fluorides, it can cause mild sensitivity but is still safe to use twice daily. Carbamide peroxide is a whitening agent that is similar to hydrogen peroxide, however it has been found to produce results much faster. Some toothpastes may contain mild abrasives such as magnesium carbonate, calcium carbonate or hydrated aluminium oxides, which help remove surface stains and keep teeth from yellowing.”

Are whitening toothpastes safe and should you use them every day?

“Yes”, says Dr Marques. “Most whitening toothpastes are fine to use every day”. But look out for heavily abrasive formulas that could "remove teeth enamel over time”.

Toothpastes fall under the ‘cosmetic product’ category and thus have to adhere to the strict EU guidelines. For those with sensitive teeth, you need to be aware of formulations that may increase your sensitivity.

“Whitening toothpastes can be used twice daily, but I would advise not exceeding this amount,” adds Sihra. “I would also not advise leaving whitening toothpaste to sit on the teeth for a long period of time. Daily whitening fluorides are safe enough as the whitening agent used will only be a small percentage. There are more potent whitening treatments available over the counter so if you are to purchase these just ensure you use properly and stick to the recommended usage.”

What else can you do to get whiter teeth?

Matthew Rose, award winning Restorative Dentist at The Implant Centre reveals that it is also crucial to have “regular hygienist appointments, change your toothbrush every two to three months otherwise all you’re doing is just transferring bacteria to your mouth and floss every day to get rid of any plaque in between the teeth as this can make them appear more yellow.”

Shop the best whitening toothpastes now

Colgate Max White Ultimate Catalyst Whitening Toothpaste

For impressive and fast teeth-whitening results, Colgate’s Max White formula is on hand. The formula contains a unique whitening technology to remove stains caused by the likes of coffee, tobacco and more, while being safe and kind to your enamel. You will start to notice yellowness and stains fading when used twice daily for two minutes.

Buy now £10.00, Boots

Sensodyne Repair & Protect Whitening Toothpaste

Known as a recommended brand by dentists, this toothpaste is designed specifically for those with sensitive teeth that still want to make the most of whitening effects. It helps restore your teeth to their natural white glory while protecting against cavities and everyday acids. The toothpaste has a minty flavour that does not feel overwhelming but will leave you with a pleasant taste.

Buy now £5.49, Superdrug

Pearl Drops Strong Polished White

Teeth whitening specialist Pearl Drops has crafted this toothpaste with a low-abrashion flouride formula that will leave you with whiter teeth in just three weeks. You may even notice the difference instantly where your pearly whites will look and feel clean all day, while your breath will taste minty fresh.

Buy now £3.50, Boots

Oral-B 3D White Luxe Perfection Whitening Toothpaste

One of the best things about Oral-B’s toothpastes is the fresh and minty taste that it leaves behind in your mouth. This expert-recommended option works to thoroughly remove stains, plaque and tartar as well as preventing cavities and enamel erosion. After brushing with this toothpaste, your mouth feels slightly tingly but super clean.

Buy now £5.00, Boots

Colgate Sensitive Instant Relief Sensitive Toothpaste with Whitening

If you have experienced sensitivity with former whitening toothpastes, try Colgate’s Sensitive Insant Relief option that uses a speciality formula to seal sensitive nerves and prevent future pain.

Buy now £2.50, Boots

Marvis Whitening Mint Toothpaste

It is not just the luxury retro packaging that has drawn us to the Marvis toothpaste. The Italian label has designed a creamy formula that works to whiten teeth while refreshing your breath with its subtle minty flavour. It uses xylitol and sorbitan to cleanse your pearlies without irritating.

Buy now £8.50, lookfantastic

Beverly Hills Formula Activated Charcoal Toothpaste

Instead of abrasive or potentially irritating ingredients, this Beverly Hills toothpaste uses activated charcoal to remove stains from your teeth. Encouraging you to get that “Hollywood smile”, the brand combines this ingredient with the stain-dissolving Pentasodium Triphosphate and the anti-tartar Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate to leave your mouth cleaner and fresher with your teeth brighter and lighter.

Buy now £2.49, Superdrug

Moon Oral Care Activated Charcoal Fluoride-Free Whitening Toothpaste

Fresh from the US, Moon’s whitening toothpaste contains activated charcoal as well as antioxidants and essential oils to leave your teeth looking fresh and pearly white. The formula leaves a pleasant taste and is free from flouride, SLS and parabens without any artificial flavouring. It is also vegan and not tested on animals. Despite the key ingredients of charcoal, the paste foams in a light grey hue so as to not leave hard-to-clean residue in your sink. The chic all-black packaging will also add style points to your oral care.

Buy now £10.99, Cult Beauty

Rembrandt Intense Stain

When you’ve got an imminent event that you want a dazzling smile for, Rembrandt can provide noticeable results after just a few uses. It can help to reduce tough stains whilst strengthening enamel so is a good choice for all the hardcore coffee drinkers out there.

Buy now £11.57, Amazon

Blanx Intensive Stain Removal Toothpaste

Containing lichens and bamboo micropowder, this toothpaste claims to restore the natural whiteness to your teeth in a gentle, nonabrasive way. Although it won’t work miracles, you’re likely to start noticing a difference if used regularly over the course of a few weeks. Not as harsh as the Rembrandt, it can be used as a regular toothpaste.

Buy now £4.33, Boots

iWhite Supreme Whitening Toothpaste

Whilst the promise of ‘instant’ results is certainly a lofty one, this toothpaste does lighten the teeth quite noticeably after a few uses, working from the inside out. The flavour is pleasantly mild and the consistency smooth. Although it’s quite pricey, you do get quite a lot for your money and a pea-sized amount is sufficient for a good clean.

Buy now £10.00, Boots

Arm & Hammer Extreme Whitening Toothpaste

You’ve got to love baking soda- it’s the miracle worker of all store cupboard ingredients. Renowned for its whitening properties, it’ll lift away stubborn surface stains. Whilst it is effective, it’s not for everyone: it works by means of mild abrasion and has a distinct chemical taste.

Buy now £3.50, Boots

Verdict

The latest Max White Ultimate Catalyst toothpaste from Colgate is boosted by enzyme for a professional-quality brushing experience with an effective whitening formula that will help transform years of discolouration into pearlier whites.

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