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Teeth Whitening Toothpaste: Does It Work?

Published date field Last Updated:

Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

You’d like to make your teeth a little whiter. You’re standing in the toothpaste aisle thinking about switching it up. Perhaps a new toothpaste will do the trick. You’re wondering, “do whitening toothpaste's work?” They sure can. Here’s what you’ll want to know.

What's in Whitening Toothpaste

Regular, non-whitening kinds of toothpaste are made to improve your oral health and help remove some surface stains as they clean teeth. Whitening toothpaste is designed to make your smile brighter. How does whitening toothpaste work? It includes ingredients to remove more surface stains than regular non-whitening toothpaste.  

Stains are either extrinsic (on the surface stains) or intrinsic (occur inside the tooth). There are different formulas used to address each stain problem. Toothpaste containing silica, an abrasive ingredient, remove extrinsic stains by scrubbing the surface of your teeth. Products with hydrogen peroxide can whiten intrinsic stains by bleaching. Hydrogen peroxide actually removes surface stains and whitens. Whereas silica only removes the stain.

Here are some tips to consider when choosing your whitening toothpaste. Also, look for one that has earned a seal of approval from the American Dental Association.

Getting the Most From Your Toothpaste

So, you’re going to make the switch to a whitening toothpaste. How long does it take to see results? It can take several weeks for you to see a difference in your smile. That said, if you’re still doing the things that stained your teeth to begin with, you may be undoing your newly found results or not seeing the results you expected. Here are some of those things:

  • drink coffee
  • drink red wine
  • smoke or use smokeless tobacco products
  • eat beets or blueberries

We get it. You don’t want to give up things you love for whiter teeth. Instead of avoiding those things (except for tobacco, you really should quit that), remember to brush after eating and drink plenty of water during your meal to rinse your mouth. It’s good to brush after coffee and wine too.

Other Whitening Options

If you are looking for more dramatic whitening results, you may need something more. If you want an even whiter smile, there are other options. Some are done in your dentist’s office; your dentist prescribes some for home use and, others are available at your local drug store. The best thing to do is to start with your dental professional for a consultation. Here are some of the options that might come up.

  • A teeth whitening treatment, which typically involves the use of bleach and a special light.
  • At-home whitening products, such as a whitening pen, to bleach your teeth. Tell your dental professional if you have sensitive teeth or gums.

Other things to consider

If you have gray or yellow teeth, you may not achieve a perfectly white smile. Also, whitening treatments won't change the color of fillings, veneers, or crowns.

Whitening toothpaste is an inexpensive, easy way to remove stains. It will take a little time, and you may need to make some lifestyle changes (like how much coffee you drink), but you can get good results. If you want to make your smile even brighter, have a conversation with your dental professional about options. A white bright smile is a great way to make someone’s day, especially your own.


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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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