The Best Whitening Toothpastes of 2023, Tested By Our Editors

Burt's Bees Deep Clean Whitening Toothpaste is our testers top pick for removing stains with natural ingredients.

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Whitening toothpaste is a simple way of getting even more out of the twice-daily habit of brushing your teeth. While you brush away plaque and debris and prevent cavities, the addition of whitening ingredients like hydrogen peroxide can also remove stains caused by things like drinking coffee, tea, red wine, or even smoking. “Most toothpastes, whether they're labeled whitening or not, have some kind of a mild abrasive in them to safely remove surface stains from the teeth,” says Edmond Hewlett, DDS, professor at the UCLA School of Dentistry and consumer advisor for the American Dental Association (ADA).

Tested & Approved

Featuring fluoride for cavity protection, silica for whitening, and a vegan formula, Burt's Bees Deep Clean Whitening Toothpaste is our top choice for whitening toothpaste. If you have sensitive teeth, our testers like Crest Gum and Sensitivity Gentle Whitening Toothpaste for it's gentle, fine foam that cleans and protects.

When shopping for whitening toothpaste, it's important to check the ingredients. Sodium fluoride is a key ingredient in any toothpaste for preventing cavities and strengthening teeth. Key whitening ingredients include hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide, as well as more abrasive whitening agents such as silica, which works to rub stains off the surface of your teeth. And while you won't find a Relative Dentin Abrasivity (RDA) score for your toothpaste on the label, this number gauges the toothpaste's potential erosive effects on your teeth. Because whitening toothpastes go beyond simply cleaning your teeth—they work to remove staining—they are often more abrasive than their non-whitening counterparts.

According to Steven Morgano, DMD, the chair of the Department of Restorative Dentistry at Rutgers School of Dental Medicine, whitening toothpaste will work if you follow the instructions. But don’t expect whitening toothpaste to work miracles—he says toothpaste won’t whiten your teeth lighter than their natural shade; only bleaching (in a professional setting) can do that. To determine the best whitening toothpaste, we spoke to dentists and home-tested dozens of products from the leading oral care brands. We evaluated each toothpaste for its active ingredients, effectiveness, comfort, taste, and before and after teeth color according to the VITA guide. Based on our testing, here are the best whitening toothpastes. 

Best Overall

Burt's Bees Deep Clean Whitening with Fluoride Toothpaste

5
Pros
  • Pleasant mint flavor

  • No artificial flavors or sweeteners

  • Cruelty free

Cons
  • May have an unpleasant aftertaste to some

This toothpaste from Burt's Bees, a company known for natural ingredients and no animal testing, received five out of five stars for effectiveness and comfort and has a pleasant minty taste which is why we selected it as our best overall whitening toothpaste. This toothpaste uses silica rather than chemical whitening agents, and our tester noted a significant whitening of teeth even after a single use. Our tester also noted that they didn't feel any sensitivity while using this product.

The toothpaste has a fresh mint flavor that doesn't overpower and is a significant improvement over other natural toothpastes that often have a baking soda-like taste. Our tester noted that this toothpaste had a slight aftertaste that may be unpleasant for some people, but it wasn't too bad. It also has no artificial flavors, sweeteners, or dyes, so you're just getting a fresh, clean flavor.

"I would absolutely recommend Burt's Bees Whitening Toothpaste to everyone I know! It's effective and tastes amazing compared to other natural brands on the market." — Brit Haines, Associate Editor, Verywell Health

Price at time of publication: $5

Key Ingredients: Sodium fluoride, Hydrated silica | Size: 4.7 ounces | Flavor: Mint

What Our Testers Say

"I would absolutely recommend Burt's Bees Whitening Toothpaste to everyone I know! It's effective and tastes amazing compared to other natural brands on the market." — Brit Haines, Associate Editor, Verywell Health

Best for Sensitive Teeth

Crest Gum and Sensitivity Gentle Whitening Toothpaste

4.6
Pros
  • Helps relieve sensitivity

  • Mild mint flavor

Cons
  • Whitening may be slower than other brands

One downside of using whitening toothpaste and treatments is that it sometimes causes increased sensitivity to the teeth. This sensitivity can make it uncomfortable to eat or drink food because of the discomfort it causes in the mouth. Crest Gum & Sensitivity Gentle Whitening Toothpaste is our choice for helping to remove stains while minimizing the discomfort of sensitivity.

"This Crest toothpaste was amazing with my sensitive teeth and gums and left my mouth feeling clean and refreshed. I can't say that the results were very drastic; perhaps with longer-term use, I might see a more noticeable change, but I liked this toothpaste better than my regular toothpaste, so I might just switch to this brand permanently." — Hildara Araya, Commerce editor, Verywell Family

This toothpaste may not whiten as fast as some others on our list but protecting your teeth from sensitivity and pain is worth it. Our tester noted that this toothpaste didn't irritate their gums or make their mouth feel dry compared to other whitening toothpastes which is why it earned a five out of five stars for comfort. It also has a light mint taste that isn't too strong, and our tester noted the foam was finer than regular toothpaste, which helped coat teeth better and get into hard-to-reach places.

Price at time of publication: $7

Key Ingredients: Sodium fluoride, Hydrated silica | Size: 4.1 ounces | Flavor: Mint

Best Flavor

Crest 3D White Brilliance Toothpaste

4.5
Crest 3D White Brilliance Toothpaste

Walmart

Pros
  • 24-hour stain protection

  • Peppermint flavor

Cons
  • Whitening may not be as significant as other brands

Not only do you want your toothpaste to work as it should (and help noticeably whiten your teeth), but you want it also to taste good when brushing twice a day. That's why we like this Crest 3D White Brilliance toothpaste in vibrant peppermint flavor. Our tester noted that the flavor tasted good and wasn't too bitter or too strong compared to other toothpastes. Additionally, the toothpaste is formulated with sodium fluoride, which works well to strengthen the enamel and prevent cavities.

Along with five out of five stars for flavor, this toothpaste earned five out of five stars for comfort for its smooth and gentle feeling. It contains silica and mica, which can remove stains in as little as five days, and it offers 24-hour stain prevention when used twice daily. Our tester noted that the difference in tooth color was not significant with this whitening toothpaste but felt this was a good option if you want an everyday toothpaste that tastes great and also has a whitening component.

Price at time of publication: $7

Key Ingredients: Sodium fluoride, Silica | Size: 3.9 ounces | Flavor: Peppermint

Best Colgate

Colgate Baking Soda and Peroxide Whitening Bubbles Toothpaste

4.7
Pros
  • Features both chemical and abrasive whiteners

  • Oxygen bubbles provide deep clean feeling

Cons
  • Bubbling action may be too much for some users

What makes Colgate Baking Soda and Peroxide Whitening Toothpaste one we recommend is that it combines both chemical and abrasive whitening agents. It features peroxide and hydrated silica. Fluoride is another active ingredient included in the product to help protect the teeth from cavities. This unique formula releases oxygen bubbles as you brush for a fresh, clean feeling.

Our tester noted that the mint flavor was mild and pleasant, and the baking soda didn't create a harsh taste or feeling, which is why this toothpaste earned five out of five stars for comfort and taste. They also noted that the whitening doesn't take effect quickly but that regular use over time of the toothpaste resulted in a definite difference in teeth color.

"I didn't experience any discomfort. My teeth are not particularly sensitive, but my gums can be. The toothpaste went on smoothly and its texture was smooth. The mint did not burn, but had a pleasant minty feel." — Elie Levine, Social Media Editor, Verywell Health

Price at time of publication: $2

Key Ingredients: Baking soda, Peroxide, Silica, Fluoride | Size: 6 ounces | Flavor: Mint

"I didn't experience any discomfort. My teeth are not particularly sensitive, but my gums can be. The toothpaste went on smoothly and its texture was smooth. The mint did not burn, but had a pleasant minty feel." — Elie Levine, Social Media Editor, Verywell Health

Best Crest

Crest 3D White Professional Enamel Protect Toothpaste

4.6
Pros
  • Mild flavor is not overpowering

  • Easy-to-use flip-top cap

  • Removes surface stains in as little as three days

Cons
  • Only comes in 3oz tubes

This cream toothpaste is our best choice from the trusted brand Crest and has a gentle feeling that doesn't cause sensitivity and a mild mint flavor that isn't overpowering. This toothpaste features hydrated silica to remove stains and has the key ingredient sodium fluoride to prevent cavities and strengthen enamel. It also has ingredients that help prevent new surface stains in as little as three days.

"I do think this toothpaste will do a good job of helping to maintain whiter teeth after using a whitening treatment. I did notice my teeth were whiter immediately after brushing, so it would be good to use right before an event or before taking photos." — Ashleigh Morley, Director of Commerce, Health Group

Our tester noted that this toothpaste has a mild gritty feeling but is not uncomfortable, and they also noted a mild whitening of their teeth after just a single brushing. This toothpaste comes in 3oz tubes which makes it small but travel-friendly.

Price at time of publication: $7

Key Ingredients: Sodium fluoride, Hydrated silica | Size: 3 ounces | Flavor: Mint

Best Natural

Tom's of Maine Simply White Toothpaste Gel

4.5
Pros
  • Free of sulfates, dyes, and preservatives

  • Vegan

  • Cruelty-free

Cons
  • May not whiten as effectively as others on this list

The Tom's of Maine Simply White Toothpaste is our top choice for whitening teeth if avoiding certain ingredients is important to you. The formula is peroxide-free, cruelty-free, and vegan. It's packed with silica to whiten teeth, so it features a more natural, abrasive whitening agent instead of relying on chemical whiteners. 

This toothpaste also features fluoride to prevent cavities and strengthen enamel. Our tester noted that this toothpaste is gentle and didn't cause any sensitivity but noted that the whitening effect was only minor, which is why it only received a 3.6 out of 5 stars for effectiveness. The fresh mint flavor is not overpowering, and our tester noted that it didn't linger after brushing as some stronger toothpaste flavors can.

"I would definitely recommend Tom's of Maine Simply White Toothpaste. Its subtle flavor and gentle mouthfeel make it easy to use day and night. If you're looking for dramatically whiter teeth, this may not be your best option, but it will help with stains accumulated throughout the day." — Ally Trapp, Contract Editor - Verywell Health

Price at time of publication: $6

Key Ingredients: Sodium fluoride, Hydrated silica | Size: 4.7 ounces | Flavor: Mint

Best for Protecting Enamel

ARM & HAMMER Advance White Baking Soda & Peroxide Toothpaste

4.2
Arm&Hammer Advance White

Amazon

Pros
  • Combination of chemical and abrasive whiteners

  • Neutralizes acid

  • Mild mint flavor

Cons
  • Has a strong baking soda flavor

  • Has a grainy texture

This toothpaste capitalizes on a kitchen staple ingredient that works well as an abrasive agent at removing stubborn stains from the teeth: baking soda. This ingredient, combined with the chemical whitening agent carbonate peroxide, works to remove stains from the surface of the teeth and brighten the smile after use. It also packs a second abrasive whitener: silica. Additionally, the toothpaste is formulated with sodium fluoride, which works well to strengthen the enamel and prevent cavities.

"I have sensitive teeth (I usually use Sensodyne) which is usually most noticeable with cold food and beverages. I didn't notice any issues with this toothpaste. It was comfortable to brush with if a bit grainy." — Elizabeth Theriot, Food Commerce Methodology Writer

The baking soda neutralizes the acid in your mouth so it's gentle on your enamel. Our tester noted that this toothpaste was a bit grainy but still comfortable to use and didn't cause any sensitivities. Our tester also noted that the taste was initially slightly bitter, but they got used to it after continued use.

Price at time of publication: $5

Key Ingredients: Sodium fluoride, Baking soda, Silica | Size: 4.3 ounces | Flavor: Mint

Best for Preventing Cavities

Moon Anticavity Whitening Toothpaste with Fluoride

4.2
Pros
  • Vegan

  • Cruelty-free

Cons
  • Difficult to squeeze out of the tube

  • More expensive than others on this list

Brushing your teeth removes plaque buildup and bacteria to help prevent cavities. This toothpaste from MOON helps you do just that while also whitening your teeth. Our tester noted that there was no sensitivity at all when using this toothpaste and it had a nice texture which is why it received a five out of five stars for comfort. However, it's whitening effect wasn't as effective as some others on this list.

"I had a good experience with this toothpaste: it didn't cause any sensitivity, it had a good texture, and the packaging itself is really aesthetically pleasing." — Michelle Parente, Commerce writer, Verywell Fit

This toothpaste is vegan, cruelty-free, free of parabens and has hydrated silica as an abrasive whitener. It also contains a proprietary blend of antioxidants and essential oils. It has a mild mint flavor that our tester noted didn't leave their mouth feeling as fresh as other toothpastes but tasted fine. It contains sodium fluoride and is accepted by the ADA for preventing cavities.

Price at time of publication: $8

Key Features

Key Ingredients: Sodium fluoride, Silica | Size: 4.2 ounces | Flavor: Mint

How We Rated

4.8 to 5 stars: These are the best whitening toothpastes we tested. We recommend them without reservation.

4.5 to 4.7 stars: These whitening toothpastes are excellent—they might have minor flaws, but we still recommend them.

4.0 to 4.5 stars: We think these are great whitening toothpastes, but others are better.

3.5 to 3.9 stars: These whitening toothpastes are just average.

3.4 and below: We don't recommend whitening toothpastes with this rating; you won't find any on our list.

How We Tested

When determining the best whitening toothpastes to test, we spoke with dentists and reviewed dozens of toothpastes from the top oral care brands. We selected fifteen whitening toothpastes for home testing. Our testers evaluated and recorded their pre-test teeth color using the VITA Guide, brushed with the toothpastes as directed for several weeks, and then reevaluated teeth color.

Our testers rated each toothpaste on effectiveness, comfort, and taste, using a scale of 1-5, with five being the highest rating. Testers considered how quickly the toothpaste made a difference in their teeth color, the texture and foaminess of the toothpaste, and the strength of the flavor. Testers also noted if they would recommend the product to friends and family and why.

What to Look For in Whitening Toothpastes

Key Ingredients:

One of the most important characteristics to look for when shopping for whitening toothpaste is the types of ingredients that are included in the formula.

  • Chemical whiteners: Hydrogen peroxide is a common chemical whitening (or bleaching) agent often found in whitening kits and whitening toothpaste because of its ability to remove stains. “Peroxides, when used the way they're designed to be used, can whiten teeth,” Dr. Hewlett says. He warns, though, that for best results, this ingredient needs to remain on the teeth for longer periods to remove stains. So if you are finding that peroxide-based toothpaste is not giving you the results you want, you might want to consider a whitening kit or professional whitening treatment. Chemical ingredients have a leg up on abrasive ingredients: They can continue to work after you finish brushing—as long as you don’t rinse your mouth out after.
  • Abrasive whiteners: Silica is an abrasive whitening agent that removes stains on the teeth' surface. “Generally, the abrasives are silica or chalk, which are harmless to enamel,” Dr. Morgano says. 
  • Fluoride: When selecting any toothpaste—whitening or not—fluoride is an important ingredient. “Toothpaste should also contain fluoride, which doesn’t whiten the teeth but fights cavities,” Dr. Morgano says. 

Ingredient to Avoid:

  • One ingredient to avoid is charcoal because of the harm it can cause to the teeth. “Charcoal can be used as an abrasive, but it should be avoided [because it is] too abrasive,” Dr. Morgano says.

Comfort

Toothpastes typically come in paste or gel form but they can have different textures depending on ingredients. Some whitening toothpastes have abrasive ingredients that can make a toothpaste seem gritty or grainy. You'll want to consider the feel of the toothpaste to make regular brushing as comfortable as possible.

Taste

Another thing to consider when choosing a whitening toothpaste is the taste or flavor. The flavor of a toothpaste often contributes to the fresh feeling you have when you're done brushing. Some toothpastes have a strong mint flavor that can be overpowering for some. Toothpastes that contain baking soda can have a harsh flavor or aftertaste that is unpleasant for some people.

Relative Dentin Abrasivity (RDA)

Every toothpaste available online or at your local drugstore has abrasives; those ingredients are necessary for effectively cleaning your teeth. Abrasives also work to remove stains from teeth, and whitening toothpastes often feature more of them or feature them in greater quantities.

An RDA score reflects how erosive a toothpaste can be. Lower RDA scores reflect gentler toothpastes, while higher RDA scores reflect higher levels of abrasive ingredients. This is why whitening toothpastes may cause or increase sensitivity for some—highly abrasive toothpastes can erode your enamel and even expose the dentin (middle layer) of your tooth.

If you've never heard of RDA before this, that's because toothpaste manufacturers don't have to disclose this measurement on their labels. However, they must report it to the FDA for approval. RDAs below 250 are safe for regular use. Here is the RDA scale and what the numbers mean:

  • 0-70: Low abrasion
  • 70-100: Midrange abrasion
  • 100-150: Highly abrasive
  • 150-250: Considered harmful to teeth

A number of factors can impact tooth wear, which makes RDAs an imperfect gauge for determining the best toothpaste. Other factors such as your diet, whether you grind your teeth, whether you brush too hard or too softly, GI conditions, and more can have an impact on how your teeth respond to abrasive ingredients.

The Limitations of Whitening Toothpaste

Whitening toothpaste can only accomplish so much when it comes to removing stains from the teeth. “Whitening toothpaste removes superficial staining on the teeth (such as from coffee or red wine) by using an abrasive in the toothpaste,” Dr. Morgano says. “These toothpastes do not make the teeth lighter than their natural shade.” Using whitening kits or professional treatments from a dentist improves the results. “Bleaching can make teeth lighter than their natural shade,” Dr. Morgano says. “There are OTC bleaching kits found at the pharmacy that can be used, and there are professional bleaching kits that can be obtained from a dentist.” 

Dr. Hewlett adds that using whitening toothpaste in conjunction with other treatments could help extend the whitening results: “In general, the longevity of the treatments are enhanced by good oral hygiene: brushing twice a day and flossing once a day.”

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do you need to use whitening toothpaste to start seeing results?

    For those who want to see instant results, whitening toothpaste might not be for you because these products tend to take more time to work. “If the patient brushes twice per day for two minutes each time, it will take two to six weeks to show an effect,” Dr. Morgano says. “The most common mistake people make is that they don’t brush long enough.” If you find you are not brushing for long enough, then Dr. Morgano recommends investing in an electric toothbrush. These devices often include a self-timer to inform the user when the two minutes for brushing are up.

  • Can whitening toothpaste damage enamel?

    “No, the products that you typically find over the counter that are branded as whitening toothpaste are safe,” Dr. Hewlett says. “If you have any questions, your dentist is always your best source of advice and direction about that.”

  • Does whitening toothpaste work on crowns/veneers?

    Whitening toothpaste works by removing the stains that sit on the surface of the teeth, so it should also work for anyone with crowns or veneers. “These toothpastes remove superficial staining, so they work on ceramic crowns and veneers,” Dr. Morgano says. “Bleaching gels do not work on ceramic crowns and veneers.”

  • How much does whitening toothpaste cost? Are more expensive brands better?

    Whitening toothpastes range in price from $4 to $12. Generally, more expensive brands do contain a higher concentration of active ingredients that can help whiten teeth. However, it is important to read the ingredients and reviews carefully to ensure that the whitening toothpaste you choose works well for you.

Why Trust Verywell Health

As a seasoned health writer, Danielle Zoellner knows the importance of finding just the right product to fit your medical needs. Throughout her career, Danielle has interviewed a variety of experts in the medical and health fields while reviewing dozens of products. Her experience and knowledge in the field work together to help readers like yourself find the best products for your daily life.

1 Source
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  1. Protected by a safe RDA: Setting the record straight about toothpaste abrasivity. Registered Dental Hygienists. Published December 13, 2016.