A great way to try whitening for the first time is with whitening toothpastes. This is especially helpful if you know that you have stain build-up on your teeth. Everyone has jumped on the teeth whitening bandwagon and there is a wide variety of whitening toothpastes to choose from.

I will detail below how to know if whitening toothpastes will work for you and the different types that are available. The search is on for teeth whitening toothpaste that works!

What Does She Mean by Sort Of?

If you have been following my previous posts, you already know that at-home whitening products can target stains or the natural colour of your teeth. Some of them will even target both.

Whitening toothpastes are primarily designed to target surface stains on teeth. You will see a noticeable difference in the colour of your teeth if this surface stain is removed.

If your teeth are relatively free of stains, you may not notice a difference when you start to use a whitening toothpaste. In this case, you are better served by trying an at-home product such as whitestrips or blue-light systems.

How To Tell If You Have Surface Stain

Not sure if your teeth are stained? If you have the habit of consuming any items in the list below on a regular basis, you likely have some staining related to it. Photo by Mikael Kristenson on Unsplash

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Wine
  • Smoking
  • Chewing Tobacco
  • Foods spiced heavily with yellow-coloured spices
  • Pop – especially Coke, Pepsi, Root Beer (think dark brown in colour)

These stains can be shades of yellow, brown, and gray. Stains tend to concentrate in the grooves between your teeth and near your gum line.

Different Types of Whitening Toothpaste

You may be under the impression that all whitening toothpastes are the same. If that is the case, you are incorrect my friend. There are many ingredients that are added to toothpastes to categorize them as whitening. I will detail the 3 most common used types below.

Activated Charcoal

I would be surprised if you hadn’t heard about this raging trend in the toothpaste world. I have listed this type of toothpaste first as it is the most currently talked about toothpaste trend. However, as a dentist, and therefore a specialist in the health of your teeth, I must place a warning here.

I am not suggesting that you do not try this trend, but you must do so with caution. The American Dental Association has not placed their seal of approval on a single charcoal toothpaste. There is currently no scientific evidence that this method is effective and we know that it can be detrimental to the long-term health of your teeth.

Please speak to your dentist before trying charcoal toothpaste. If you already have significant wear of your enamel, you will not be a good candidate for this product.

The biggest worry with charcoal is too much abrasion on your teeth. A fine powder should be used in the formulation and a soft bristle brush should be used to apply it. I have also heard of simply smearing it onto the teeth instead of brushing to reduce abrasion.

Charcoal works by binding to the stain on your teeth so the stain washes away with the charcoal.

Mild Abrasives Such As Baking Soda

The vast majority of whitening toothpastes will have a mild abrasive added in order to aid in the removal of surface stains. Think of this as a good scrub for your teeth. Much as you would exfoliate your skin to let it glow from beneath, you can do that same thing for your teeth.

Most of the abrasives used in ADA (American Dental Association) approved toothpastes are safe to use each and every day. It is actually encouraged that you do so in order to see results. Daily use of a whitening toothpaste should yield results in 4-12 weeks.

Whitening Agents Such As Peroxide

I know, I know, I stated at the beginning that whitening toothpastes are only to remove surface stain from your teeth. However, many brands of whitening toothpaste add an agent such as peroxide to enhance results. Just my personal opinion, but I am not sure if this will make a significant difference.

It is known, through scientific study, that peroxide is safe to consume daily at the concentration used in toothpastes. If it makes you feel better that more than one agent is working towards whiter teeth, by all means, go for it!

How To Pick

Now that you know the basics of whitening toothpaste, how do you choose the one that is right for you? I think it comes down to personal preference. If you have a brand you know and trust, run with it. All the major toothpaste manufacturers have a whitening toothpaste line.

I really struggle with flavours when it comes to toothpaste and you might as well. If that is the case, you might find that you have to try several brands before you find one that you are happy using daily.

Good luck on your toothpaste search. If you have a favourite already, please comment below.

Dr. Jen

1 Comment

  1. Reply

    Thank you for this post. I found it very informative and helpful. I never really paid attention to the ingredients in the toothpaste. Next time I get a whitening toothpaste, I will know what to look for. Thank you so much for sharing.

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