Does Whitening Toothpaste Really Work?

a girl brushing her teeth using whitening toothpaste

Can you really get sparkling white teeth from a toothpaste? It seems too good to be true, but is it?You’ve seen the ads where everyone has sparkling white teeth, but does whitening toothpaste really work that well? Many people have purchased it hoping to eliminate their discoloured teeth and keep stains at bay, but not everyone is convinced. Let’s take a closer look at whether it actually works to keep your teeth white.

How Does Whitening Toothpaste Work?

What does whitening toothpaste contain that helps it whiten your teeth? With so many options available, it’s easy to think all toothpastes are the same. However, there are two main types of whitening toothpastes.

Surface stain removers help eliminate discolouration that is on the outer layer of the tooth by polishing it away. This actually scrubs out the pigments that are causing the stains. The other type of whitening toothpaste has bleaching ingredients to amend the colour of the tooth enamel. These may cause sensitivity, however.

What to Look for in a Whitening Toothpaste

Some toothpastes are more useful than others. When you’re choosing a whitening toothpaste, you should look for one or more of the following ingredients:

Mild Abrasives

Small particles that can rub and scrub the enamel are useful in eliminating surface stains. These particles don’t alter the colour, they just remove stains.

Hydrogen Peroxide

A mild bleaching agent, hydrogen peroxide can actually change your tooth colour. Whitening toothpastes only contain a small amount of hydrogen peroxide, but over time and with consistent use, you’ll notice changes.

Carbamide Peroxide

Another bleaching agent, this breaks down into hydrogen peroxide to create whiter teeth. It’s the ingredient found in whitening treatments.

What to Consider When Choosing a Whitening Toothpaste

While you may want to brighten your teeth right away, it’s a good idea to consider some of the more common side effects. Keep these in mind as you select your whitening toothpaste and plan to stop using it if you have any adverse reactions.


First, you want to be sure you see results. Check with other people or read reviews to find out how well the product works before you buy it.

Gum Irritation

Some whitening agents may cause gum irritation, so if you notice this is happening, stop using the toothpaste. You may need to use it infrequently to allow your gums to rest.

Enamel Health

Whitening agents—those that bleach, in particular—are known to cause increased sensitivity. They can lead to issues, so if you notice this is a problem, talk to your dentist about how to strengthen your tooth enamel after whitening.


It’s important to stay safe, so if you have any adverse reactions to the toothpaste, just stop using it. You should be careful not to get it in your eyes or swallow it, either.

Are There Any Alternatives?

There may be a few reasons you don’t want to use a whitening toothpaste. It may not work for you, it may cause side effects, or you may just want faster results. There are other options for getting that gleaming grin.

In-Office Teeth Whitening

Because in-office teeth whitening is more intense, you should see some pretty drastic results. In one or two appointments, you could see teeth that are several shades brighter.

At-Home Teeth Whitening

You can also whiten your teeth at home with a more intensive method that involves whitening gel or strips to be applied for a set period of time. These can make your teeth more sensitive but often have good results.

Over-the-Counter Products

There are any number of teeth whitening products that you can find over the counter. From charcoal powder to whitening strips and gum, there are plenty of choices to try. Not all of them work as well as the others, and none will give you the same results as the dentist, but you can certainly try them.

Laser Teeth Whitening

Lasers can also be used to whiten your teeth. This is particularly effective in getting rid of stubborn stains and can eliminate discoloration. This process uses peroxide gel and a laser to give you the best effects.


If you want whiter teeth, there’s no shortage of methods you can use to get them. Not every method is right for everyone, so it’s a good idea to talk to your dentist before you try some of the more intensive methods. For the really fast and impressive results, you’ll need to talk to your dentist anyway, since they’re the one who can do the laser whitening and other faster methods.

Are you tired of coloured teeth? Contact us today to learn how we can help you whiten your teeth.

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