Whats The Best Teeth Whitening Toothpaste?

You’re cautious, we get it. Hear of a shark sighting and you cancel your beach trip, even though you hadn’t planned on getting in the water.

Chance of showers?

You bring a raincoat. It’s just smart planning, right?

So instead of going with a full-on expensive teeth whitening kit, you want to start small, dip your toe in the water to test it out.

You’re looking for the best teeth whitening toothpaste and want to see how it works before you drop 50 or 100 bucks on some fancy kit.

We understand, and we’re here to spell things out for you.

The Basics of Teeth Whitening Toothpaste

​Going into most supermarkets will provide the uninitiated consumer with a dazzling and dizzying array of toothpaste choices.

From the top brands to the smallest outfit, you’ll get a myriad of options: whitening, plaque reducing, tartar reducing, minty, fruity, citrusy, baking soda, naturally flavoured, you name it and it’ll probably be there.

Here’s the problem you’re going to come up against: despite the many options, the toothpastes available in Australia really don’t differ that much from each other.

There are some differences which we’ll discuss shortly, but in broad strokes, the choices are strikingly similar, despite the best marketing hype.

Brushing teeth

You’re looking for your toothpaste to do two things: keep your teeth clean and get them white. With the first requirement, you’re in luck: pretty much any toothpaste will do that. The second requirement is not so easy.

In a groundbreaking report a few years ago, Choice.com.au showed that most toothpastes are essentially the same.

The whitening toothpastes were hit the hardest: Choice claimed the whitening toothpastes were essentially smoke and mirrors, promising the world but delivering little.

The Sydney Morning Herald did a follow-up piece a bit after Choice.com’s report hit the airwaves.

They were a little kinder, but the question remains: how much of the claims by the toothpaste companies is truth and how much is marketing hype? To get to the answer, we need to take a closer look at whitening toothpaste and how it works.

Two Choices

Toothpaste in general contains many of the same ingredients: humectants to keep it from drying out when exposed to air, fluoride, abrasives to clean your teeth, dyes to make the colours, flavours to make them palatable and a number of other things.

But what we’re looking at is whitening toothpaste. It does its job through one of two ways: abrasives or chemical whitening agents such as peroxide. We’ll take a quick look at both.

Abrasives: like most toothpastes, whitening toothpaste has abrasives designed to really scrub the gunk off your teeth. Usually the ingredients used are calcium carbonate or hydrated silica, but a variety of other things can be used.

The products are generally regulated to limit the amount of abrasives in the toothpaste because it’s possible to wear away the enamel on your teeth with too aggressive brushing.

Chemicals: the other ingredient that can be present in whitening toothpaste to help make your pearlies a little whiter is some sort of whitening agent, typically hydrogen peroxide.

However, because the chemical is damaging to the soft tissues in a person’s mouth, the amount present in a given toothpaste is going to be small.

Why Neither Is Best

Whitening your teeth through brushing is a risky venture.

​WARNING

​​​Get a toothpaste with too high of a chemical whitening agent and you could hurt your gums and tongue. Get something too abrasive and you could actually make your teeth worse by thinning the enamel.

Get a toothpaste with too high of a chemical whitening agent and you could hurt your gums and tongue. Get something too abrasive and you could actually make your teeth worse by thinning the enamel.

Add to this the fact that the government does a pretty good job of regulating companies to keep us from doing too much damage to ourselves, and you’ll quickly realize the hard truth of the matter.

The Hard Truth

Whitening toothpaste by itself will do little to whiten your teeth. What it will do is give you a renewed sense of purpose in your brushing.

By paying extra for a whitening toothpaste, you’re likely to do an extra good job of brushing your teeth like you should instead of a quick once over before bed or after breakfast. You’ll also be more aware of the foods you eat and how they can stain your teeth (coffee, tea, wine, acidic foods, etc.).

But just by using whitening toothpaste your teeth are unlikely to magically get 12 shades whiter, no matter what the package promises you.

And don’t paint all teeth whitening products with the same dirty stick if you get disappointed with the whitening toothpaste. There are some legitimate and price-worthy products out there (cough cough teeth whitening strips and kits cough cough).

Just don’t expect your teeth to get as white as the clouds from whitening toothpaste.

Our Picks for the Best Teeth Whitening Toothpaste

We’ll be honest, this was a tough call.

Not because there are so many effective choices in the marketplace.

But rather the opposite: there are lots of choices but few are truly effective at whitening your teeth. While they may do a fine job of cleaning your teeth, keep in mind that by law they are limited to the amount of bleaching agent they can use, often as little as .01 percent.

So if you see an effect, it’s often either because you’ve scrubbed the hell out of your teeth and now they’re cleaner than they have been in ages or it’s more in your mind than on your teeth.

Be that as it may, here are the best teeth whitening toothpastes we can recommend.

COMPANY

WHY

OUR RATING

Pearl Drops

Long term teeth whitening, great for coffee and cigarette smoke stained teeth

Oral-B 3D White Luxe

Those who need quick results, great for tartar build-up prevention

Aquafresh Extreme Clean Whitening Action

Perfect for gradual whitening and overall everyday use


Sensodyne Pronamel Gentle Whitening

Great toothpaste for everyday use, ideal for fruit, wine and soda acid removal, and protects against acid erosion

Tom’s of Maine Simply White

A high impact whitening toothpaste, great for everyday use, ideal for coffee stain removal.

Pearl Drops

  • Type of abrasive: Hydrated Silica
  • Bleaching Agent: none
  • Type of Fluoride: Sodium Monofluorophosphate

Pearl Drops offers a number of different whitening toothpastes, all with similar ingredients. Whether their Extra White Specialist, Extreme White Specialist or Professional Intensive toothpaste, not one of them contain a bleaching agent of any kind.

What they do contain is the abrasive hydrated silica. It’s commonly found in toothpastes and will do as good a job as any in scrubbing your teeth as shiny clean as possible.

Oral-B 3D White Luxe

  • Type of abrasive: Hydrated Silica
  • Bleaching Agent: Sodium Hydroxide (maybe)
  • Type of Fluoride: Sodium Fluoride

Oral-B has a whole range of 3D White toothpastes, whitening strips, mouthwash and yes, even toothbrushes. Their Luxe toothpaste promises to remove up to 90% of surface stains in 5 days.

Exciting, right? How do they do that?

By using Hydrated Silica, same as Pearl Drops and lots of other toothpaste manufacturers.

3DWhite Luxe also has sodium hydroxide in it. Which is also known as lye or caustic soda. Useful in bleaching paper. Apparently important in getting your teeth clean as well.

Here’s the problem – the toothpaste doesn’t contain any known bleaching agents, other than sodium hydroxide, which isn’t recognized by any regulatory or dental organization as a bleaching agent. So other than get your teeth cleaner, this toothpaste will not scrub away stains that have built over time, but will make your teeth whiter in a few weeks.

Aquafresh Extreme Clean Whitening Action

  • Type of abrasive: Hydrated Silica
  • Bleaching Agent: none
  • Type of Fluoride: Sodium Fluoride

AquaFresh’s entry in our reviews shows up many of the same ingredients: hydrated silica for the abrasive, sodium fluoride to protect your teeth, titanium dioxide to keep the toothpaste looking nice and white. It’s got micro foam to get everything clean.

But for whitening? It’s the same story — scrub away the surface stains well with an abrasive, but no other process to get your teeth whiter.

The Result

Honestly, we could go on, but we think you get the picture. While dentists and newspapers and online sources claim there is little benefit to whitening toothpastes, companies keep making them.

Why?

Because consumers keep buying them. Getting your teeth shiny and white is huge business in Australia and around the world, and when consumers keep buying a product despite little benefit on paper, companies will continue to make them.

But there’s the issue — consumers generally are happy with the results from whitening toothpastes. 

While the results may not be shocking, they do appear to be real, or at least real to the consumer.

So, what’s a wise individual to do?

​PROTIP

​​Find a whitening toothpaste you like. Buy it. Before using, take a before picture. Then use the toothpaste as directed. At the end of the 5 days or 2 weeks or whatever timespan the company touts, take another picture of your teeth at the same time under the same lighting conditions. Compare the two.

If your teeth are noticeably whiter and you are happy with the results, then awesome. You’ve found a good one.

Don’t use it every day, but keep up on your brushing and use the whitening toothpaste for touchup.

If nothing’s changed, you might be better served by using regular toothpaste and trying out some of the more advanced teeth whitening methods, such as whitening strips.

​Because while you can continue trying to find the best teeth whitening toothpaste for you, there are other more cost- and time-effective options available to you.

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