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  • Writer's pictureDr. Pearl E. Whites

The Truth About Whitening Toothpastes: Do They Really Whiten Your Teeth?

Updated: Apr 26

What if you found out that whitening toothpastes don't work as you thought they did?

How You Think Whitening Toothpaste Works Is Wrong!

How you think whitening toothpaste works is wrong

Nine out of 10 whitening toothpastes on the market actually do NOT change the internal yellow color of your teeth to a Hollywood-white shade. These toothpastes rely on coarse, abrasive ingredients that remove the discoloration caused from external stains. This is grime collected particularly from coffee, tea, blueberries, wine, tobacco, etc. Once the grime is removed your teeth will appear whiter but these toothpates do NOT change the natural color REGARDLESS what the box says.


What Whitening Toothpastes Actually Work as I Expect?

The clamoring demand to whiten teeth drives the toothpaste market. Nearly half of all toothpastes sold in the USA are catered to "whitening." Of those whiteing toothpastes, only 9% contain hydrogen peroxide, which is the most effective ingredient in toothpastes found to remove intrinsic discoloration and whitens teeth. Whitening strips are more effective than the toothpaste but both work--strips whiten within days while toothpastes within weeks.


Best Whitening Toothpastes:

Feel comfortable picking any one of thse prodcuts below to truly whiten teeth:

Best Whitening Toothpastes that ACTUALLY work and not just remove stain


Tips to Whitening Toothpastes

  • Whitening toothpastes may take 2-4 weeks for visible results if done daily.

  • Continuous use of toothpastes with hydrogen peroxides is most effective in removing the intrinsic yellow color and extrinsic stains

  • Minimize your intake of coffee, tea, wine, tobacco, blueberries, and beets.


What About Charcoal Toothpastes and Oil Pulling?

does charcoal toothpaste actually work and is it safe?

Charcoal is a craze right now. Overwhelming dental articles say there is insufficent evidence that oil pulling or charcoal products truly whiten or are effective. Overuse can cause teeth to turn yellow from their overly abrasive characteristics. Though we agree with the literature, our office has noted some patients who brush with charcoal do appear to have whiter teeth. This may be because those types of patients also make extra efforts to care for their teeth.


What About DIY Whiteing Toothpastes?

DIY whitening toothpastes usually include forming a slurry of essentail oils, abrasives like baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, etc. Hydgrogen peroxide is sold in the brown bottle at 3% concentrations, 1.5-5% in brand toothpastes, and 10% in whitening trays. Avoid DIY hydrogen peroxide of 6% concentrations or greater in toothpastes! Prolonged use of DIY hydrogen peroxide have more complications than brand toothpastes. These are sloughing of gums, burning, erosion, abrasion, enamel wearing away making teeth more yellow, and heightened sensitivity. A big risk of DIY extended use is that it disrupts the normal bacterial count in your mouth causing the natural bacteria in the mouth to offset and cause more issues over time.



whitening toothpaste does it work?

All whitening toothpastes work. The majority function differently than you may think though. Whitening toothpastes will make your teeth whiter from the abrasive action that removes the grime and stains. DIY toothpastes, charcoal, and oil pulling can work but have less upside and more risks--we recommend sticking with a proven product. If you are wanting to actually change the internal color of your teeth to a whiter shade by using toothpaste then use any of the above recommended toothpastes that contain hydrogen peroxide.

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