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Whitening toothpastes can lighten stains and brighten teeth over time. While they may not be as fast or effective as other options, such as whitening strips or professional dental treatments, whitening toothpastes work and can help improve your smile.

Not every whitening toothpaste on the market lives up to its claims. The ones on this list were chosen because they contain ingredients scientifically proven to whiten teeth.

We only included toothpastes that fought cavities and whitened teeth. We also looked at cost, user reviews, price, and side effects.

Colgate Optic White Whitening Toothpaste

Price point: $

Colgate Optic White Whitening Toothpaste has the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Seal of Acceptance. This provides you with confidence that the product is safe to use and lives up to its claims.

Unlike many other whitening toothpastes, Colgate Optic White removes two kinds of stains from teeth: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic stains occur on the outside of teeth. Intrinsic stains happen inside teeth, but they can be seen on the outside.

This product contains hydrogen peroxide, which is considered the gold standard for stain removal. It also contains cavity-fighting fluoride.

Colgate Optic White High Impact Whitening Toothpaste

Price point: $$

This next-generation whitening toothpaste contains more hydrogen peroxide than other Colgate Optic White toothpastes. This makes it a more effective teeth whitener for people with tough tooth stains, such as those caused by cigarettes. It’s also effective for stains caused by drinking red wine, tea and coffee.

The amount of hydrogen peroxide this product contains may make it uncomfortable for some people to use, especially those with sensitive teeth. Some users also report a burning sensation in their gums with extended use.

This toothpaste has an expiration date of 7 months, so be sure to check the label before you buy, especially if you buy in bulk.

Tom’s of Maine Simply White Natural Toothpaste

Price point: $

If you want to avoid artificial sweeteners, this whitening toothpaste may be right for you.

Tom’s of Main Simply White Natural Toothpaste gets its whitening power from silica. This is an effective product for removing extrinsic tooth stains on teeth, though it won’t lighten the appearance of intrinsic tooth stains.

It contains fluoride for cavity protection, and acts as an effective breath freshener.

Two formulations are available: cream or gel. Both carry the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

Sensodyne ProNamel Gentle Whitening Toothpaste

Price point: $

Like all Sensodyne products, this toothpaste is formulated to be gentle on sensitive teeth. The active ingredients in Sensodyne ProNamel Toothpaste are potassium nitrate and sodium fluoride. It also contains silica for gentle whitening.

This product is designed to gently scrub away stains, plus strengthen and harden tooth enamel. It also protects against cavities.

Arm & Hammer Advance White Extreme Whitening Toothpaste

Price point: $

The type of braces you have will determine how effective any whitening toothpaste will be. Traditional bracket braces may be harder to work with than removable aligners.

This toothpaste is designed to penetrate deeply between teeth and under the gumline, so it may be more effective at whitening teeth with braces than some other types. It also features a low-abrasion formula.

The active whitening ingredients are baking soda and peroxide. It also contains fluoride for cavity prevention.

Reach for the ADA Seal of Acceptance

Not every whitening toothpaste contains the ADA Seal. While this does remove a layer of protection, it doesn’t necessarily mean that products without it are unsafe or ineffective. To check to see if a toothpaste has the seal, click here.

Know which whitening method

Always look at the active and inactive ingredients listed on whitening toothpaste labels. Whitening ingredients to look for include hydrogen peroxide and silica. Silica products are usually best for sensitive teeth and gums.

The higher the hydrogen peroxide content, the more effective the toothpaste will be at whitening. Keep in mind that this could make the product more likely to irritate your gums.

Some whitening toothpastes use abrasives, such as microbeads, to remove stains. These can be very effective for tough stains and for removing biofilm dental plaque from teeth.

However, some people don’t like the feel of abrasives in their mouth. And regular use of abrasive toothpastes can wear away more than stains.

Read the ingredients

If cavity protection is important to you, only use a toothpaste that contains fluoride.

Avoid products that contain ingredients you’re sensitive or allergic to, such as flavorings or artificial sweeteners. Some people are also allergic to cocamidopropyl betaine (CAPB) and propylene glycol, two ingredients commonly found in toothpaste.

Choose a reputable brand that’s manufactured ethically in a country known for manufacturing transparency and safety. Any toothpaste that doesn’t contain an ingredients list or makes claims that seem far-fetched should be avoided.

Whitening toothpastes can remove stains from teeth, improving their appearance. While they may not provide the same amount of deep whitening that professional treatments do, they’re a good way to boost your smile’s appearance, and keep it looking bright and white.

The products on this list all come from trusted manufacturers, and have been shown to improve the whiteness of teeth.