Whitening toothpaste won’t change the color of your teeth, but it can help lift stains that tend to build quickly and cause unwanted discoloration. This method often gives a brightened effect that many people consider teeth whitening, but if you want to do an actual teeth whitening treatment, you need to use whitening strips, a gel system or a professional in-office session.
If you’re looking to brighten your smile and you’re looking for a simple, non-invasive, and affordable way, whitening toothpaste is your number one option. Whitening toothpaste is ideal for people who have minor tooth discoloration that commonly results from dyes in foods and beverages or cigarettes. Some people have great results with whitening toothpaste and don’t require any other whitening treatments, while others require an in-office professional whitening product for a more dramatic result.
Whitening toothpaste is not designed for deeper tooth discoloration that is caused by trauma, fluorosis, congenital defects, or medication. This is because whitening toothpaste does not contain hydrogen peroxide that fights deeper stains.
The Pros and Cons of Whitening Toothpaste
There are several benefits of using teeth whitening toothpaste, which is why it is one of the most highly sought out oral health products online and in stores.
Some pros of using whitening toothpaste include:
- Easy-to-use for most people
- Effective and inexpensive option to bleach teeth
- Can help prevent stains prior to them developing
- Less sensitivity than stronger whitening products
The cons of using a whitening toothpaste include:
- Less dramatic results than professional whitening
- Short-term results
- Will not whiten deeper discolorations
- Can cause gum irritation if improperly used
Does Whitening Toothpaste Really Work?
Whitening toothpaste is an effective option for people looking for gradual results. Toothpaste that contains ingredients like baking soda or peroxide derivatives are successful in lifting minor to moderate stains and giving a whiter or brightened appearance.
A toothpaste that contains blue covarine is often marketed as a whitening product because blue covarine helps reduce a yellowing hue of teeth. Studies show using toothpaste with blue covarine immediately gives a whiter appearance than using toothpaste without blue covarine, but it is important to recognize that the pigment does not actually lift stains.
Some whitening toothpaste features charcoal, which is thought to give people a dramatic whitening effect. It is a controversial topic and not currently recommended by the American Dental Association due to its abrasive properties.
How to Use Whitening Toothpaste
Use whitening toothpaste as if you would a traditional toothpaste. It is a great addition to your oral care routine and can really make a difference with the shade you see for a very affordable price.
You’ll need to apply a small amount of the toothpaste to your toothbrush and brush for two minutes. Remember to never swallow any toothpaste! The whitening toothpaste brand you choose will determine how often you should use it because some have more abrasive properties than others.
Some teeth whitening products can be used twice daily until desired results are achieved. If you experience sensitivity, take a break or decrease the frequency you use the toothpaste.
Always remember to read the instructions to any whitening product to avoid gum irritation and tooth enamel damage.
How Does Whitening Toothpaste Work?
Whitening toothpaste contains carbamide peroxide which effectively breaks down and removes stains. Peroxide can be present in one of two forms, hydrogen or carbamide peroxide. Both help lift stains by penetrating into enamel and interacting with deep stains.
Hydrogen peroxide is a commonly found household item and is a natural oxidizer, which is why it is successful as a teeth whitening agent. Carbamide peroxide is composed of carbamide (also known as urea) and hydrogen peroxide. There is 3% of hydrogen peroxide for every 10% of carbamide peroxide.
Other common ingredients in whitening agents include baking soda, fluoride, and blue covarine. Most of these agents don’t actually change the color of the tooth, instead, they have a whitening effect because they gently polish teeth and reduce darkened appearances.
Since whitening toothpaste does not contain higher concentrations of peroxide, it does take a bit longer to see results than a professional whitening treatment. Most times there are not instant results, but over the course of a few weeks, whitening toothpaste is known to cause minimal to moderate brighter smiles.
Recommended Whitening Toothpastes
With so many toothpastes marketed, it is difficult to make a decision on which is the best product for you. First, you should always consult with your dentist about the most appropriate toothpaste so that you’re not using a product that could cause any damage or sensitivity. Second, choose a toothpaste with the ADA seal because it is proven effective and safe.
Many people want to make their own whitening toothpaste at home using baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Dentists do not recommend applying this type of paste directly to your teeth because in order for hydrogen peroxide to be considered safe for teeth, it must be properly diluted to 1-3%. If not diluted, it can cause severe damage like tooth erosion, sensitivity, and tooth decay.
- Arm & Hammer Advance White Extreme Whitening Toothpaste: Recommended because of its gentle properties using baking soda. It effectively removes surface stains at a super affordable price tag. Baking soda is also beneficial because it helps neutralize acids that are responsible for tooth decay and enamel erosion.
- Colgate Optic White Toothpaste: Is a popular product because of the well known and respected company that is ADA approved. Many people quickly notice a shade change because it contains 2% hydrogen peroxide to help maintain long lasting results. It also contains fluoride, which is recommended by dentists to keep enamel safe and strong.
- Sensodyne Pronamel Gentle Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste: For people with sensitivity issues, but still want to whiten, this is your best option. Sensodyne is designed for sensitive gums and teeth by containing ingredients that fight those uncomfortable feelings when teeth are exposed to temperature changes.
There are numerous options for teeth whitening depending on your needs and budget. However, if you are looking for a cost-effective and non-invasive way to brighten your smile, whitening toothpaste is the way to go. Whitening toothpaste does in fact very little to actually whiten your teeth compared to other professional options like bleaching gels and LED systems. Yet, whitening toothpaste is a productive way to remove extrinsic stains that are commonly caused by dyed foods and beverages.