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It’s pretty safe to say that we all want whiter teeth. While there are several natural tricks you can try for improving your smile, chances are, at some point, you’ll also want to start brushing with a whitening toothpaste. Unfortunately, many of the options on the market today contain abrasive ingredients that can actually be damaging to our pearly whites and should be used with caution.
The best whitening toothpastes, while not always available at your local supermarket, will get the job done with non-abrasive enzymes. Keep reading to find out which ones made our list — and where to find them.
What are the best whitening toothpastes?
When you’re trying to figure out what type of whitening toothpaste to buy, you’ll want to take its ingredients and labels into account. A 2014 study found that “whitening toothpaste with abrasive action” and those that use enzymes, which naturally occur in saliva, are both “equally effective in removal of extrinsic stains” — but it’s the latter type that is the safest.
Whats more, according to the research, those icky harsh chemicals aren’t actually whitening your enamel, but removing stains from plaque to give you the appearance of a whiter smile. Low abrasive toothpastes, by comparison, may take longer to see results (between four to six weeks, but who’s counting?), but are every bit as efficient when it comes to stain removal, getting rid of “considerably more tooth [stains]” than regular toothpaste would.
If you must use a high abrasive toothpaste to get teeth white in a hurry, researchers suggest discontinuing use after four weeks to avoid dental damage.
In addition to these guidelines, there are several other factors to consider when choosing a whitening toothpaste. Do you have sensitive teeth? Are they weak? What’s your ideal price point? These factors and more will all play a role in helping you decide which of the many products you should choose for maximum teeth-whitening results.
We’ve waded through the wide world of whitening agents to help you find the best toothpaste for you, based on your particular wants and needs. Keep reading for Woman’s World’s comprehensive list of the nine best whitening toothpastes on the market today.
See more of our best product recommendations
Best Enzyme Whitening Toothpaste
INTELLIGENT Natural Enzymes Toothpaste
Where to buy: From $23, Amazon
This formula, which is made in Taiwan and has a 70 percent five-star rating from Amazon customers, uses four major enzymes in place of abrasives to turn your stained chompers into pearly whites. It's sourced from imported enzyme materials and ingredients found in our own saliva, including lactoperoxidase (an anti-bacterial agent), lysozyme (antimicrobial), lactoferrin (anti-inflammatory), sorbitol, and glucose oxidase. Together, these work to fight tooth decay, while glycerin hydrates and pearl powder fight stains safely and effectively. Sounds like a winning combo to us!
Best Whitening Toothpaste for Seniors
Curapox Black Is White
Where to buy: $24.95, Amazon
Not only is this charcoal-based paste a non-abrading stain remover, one of its ingredients, hydroxyapatite, coats your tooth enamel in a layer to help strengthen it as it fills in tiny holes and protects against future erosion. This makes the lemony-fresh paste an ideal pick for elderly shoppers. It’s also free of foaming agent sodium laureth sulfate (SLS), antibacterial triclosan, which has sparked some health concerns in recent years, bleaching agents, and plastic particles.
Best Natural Whitening Toothpaste
Hello Naturally Whitening
Where to buy: $3.97, Walmart
If you’re concerned about any potentially harmful ingredients you may be ingesting with your toothpaste, consider Hello’s Naturally Whitening. This paste's name says it all: Its calcium mineral formula is vegan and cruelty-free, with no peroxide, dye, SLS, parabens, triclosan, preservatives, gluten, artificial sweeteners, or artificial flavors. So what does it include? Peppermint and tea tree oil (all the better to freshen breath) and coconut oil to help moisturize, for starters. Silica, meanwhile, acts as a whitening agent.
Best Teeth Whitening Toothpaste With Charcoal
CaliWhite Activated Charcoal + Coconut Oil
Where to buy: $9.99, Amazon
This US-made product, which features activated charcoal and baking soda for whitening, peppermint oil for flavor, plus tea tree and coconut oil for their antiseptic and remineralizing properties, is a powerful nature-based cleaning agent. Though it’s free of harsh, teeth-damaging chemicals, reviewers report that they noticed a difference in the color of their teeth as soon as four days after their first use.
“If my … teenager daughter [noticed] a difference without [me] asking her, then this product is legit,” wrote one happy purchaser. “GET IT NOW.”
Most Effective Whitening Toothpaste
Where to buy: $6.29, Amazon
According to a 2000 study out of The Pharmaceutical Journal, UK-based paste Macleans Whitening — aka the only whitening toothpaste to be accredited by the British Dental Association (BDA) at the time — demonstrated dental health benefits and ranked as one of just two whitening toothpastes to show real effectiveness.
Best Cheap Whitening Toothpaste
Where to buy: $2.99, Amazon
Aquafresh Whitening — the other whitening toothpaste shown to be effective at removing stains in the aforementioned 2000 study — also just so happens to be one of the most affordable brands on the market. It contains fluoride for keeping teeth healthy and strong, and customers report that it has a great minty-fresh taste that will leave your mouth feeling nice and clean.
Top Rated Whitening Toothpaste
Crest 3D White
Where to buy: $9.97 (Originally $12.59), Amazon
With more than 3,000 reviews and an "Amazon's Choice" ranking, this trusted whitening formula has to be doing something right. It boats removal of up to 80 percent of surface stains and strengthens enamel with fluoride.
“It kept my teeth white,” confirmed one purchased, while another buyer raved about its radiant mint flavor: “This is the most perfect tasting mint toothpaste to my buds; not too sweet or bitter.”
Best Whitening Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth
Smile Box Whitening Foam
Where to buy $19.98, Amazon
Though you’re likely most familiar with Sensodyne, which has an extra-whitening formula available ($17.16), we prefer Smile Box’s whitening foam. It’s extremely gentle (almost like brushing with a non-abrasive mouthwash, explained one Amazon reviewer), and uses micro-foam technology to get pesky, persistent stains off your teeth.
Take it from this buyer, who wrote, “Their schtick is that you use this over time and it will make your teeth white and keep them white. They have nailed it, and you see the results quickly. You can drink coffee, tea, coke, or red wine. Smile Box will pull the stains off of your teeth.”
Best DIY Whitening Toothpaste
GO Smile Teeth Whitening Gel
Where to buy: $28.99, Amazon
If you must use abrasive-yet-effective hydrogen peroxide to get your teeth shining bright, at least opt for GO Smile’s teeth whitening gel. It promises whiter teeth after one use and can be added to any toothpaste you already use. That way, you know exactly how many chemicals you’ll be using for a more-controlled way to get the job done.