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The best whitening toothpaste for 2024: 9 effective whitening toothpastes, tested and reviewed

Say goodbye to stains with the 9 most effective whitening toothpastes of 2024, including top picks from Colgate, Crest, Sensodyne and Cocofloss.

The best whitening toothpaste for 2024: 9 effective whitening toothpastes, tested and reviewed

Are you on a quest for the best whitening toothpaste? In a world where first impressions matter — and white teeth have become a status symbol — the use of cosmetic whiteners is booming. In 2020, over 35 million Americans used teeth whitening products, from strips and gels to mouthwashes and toothpaste, with the global market expected to grow to over $8 billion annually by 2031.

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Whitening toothpaste can lift surface stains off your teeth and brighten your smile, says pediatric dentist Jasveen Singh. "They're not just affordable; they're super-convenient, allowing us to improve our smiles right at home, no fancy treatments needed," she said.

Whether your coffee-stained chompers need serious damage control or you want to prevent future stains, the toothpaste industry has you covered. To understand how whitening toothpastes work, we spoke to five experts. We also tested 20 popular whitening toothpastes, carefully weighing factors like flavor, whitening effects, cost and ingredients. Here are our top nine picks to help level up your smile!

Cost: $7 | Active ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide | Flavor: Mint | Size: 3 ounces

Not only is Colgate Optic White Pro Series a superior whitening toothpaste, but dentists highly recommend it. "It contains hydrogen peroxide, which is excellent at whitening teeth," said Singh. Plus, peroxide's foaming action helps whiten those hard-to-reach areas between the teeth.

A 2023 study found hydrogen peroxide more effective in removing surface stains than other whitening agents like baking soda, and only peroxide could whiten tooth enamel.

I loved Colgate Optic White's whitening effects but found it to be a little harsh — likely due to the 5% peroxide content that makes it so effective. According to the American Dental Association, gum inflammation and tooth sensitivity are commonly reported side effects of chemical tooth-whitening compounds like peroxide.

But for many, sensitivity isn't an issue. One satisfied reviewer called Colgate Optic White Pro their go-to. "If you're looking for a toothpaste that not only whitens effectively but also helps prevent future stains, I highly recommend giving this one a try." Another happy customer said, "I am a coffee drinker and my teeth have gotten stained over the years. The toothpaste really works!"

Pros
  • Visibly whitens teeth in as few as three days
  • Mild taste leaves your mouth feeling fresh
  • Gluten-free, vegan and enamel-safe
Cons
  • Hydrogen peroxide can aggravate sensitive gums
  • Pricier than other toothpastes
$7 at Target
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$12 at Amazon

Cost: $22 | Active ingredients: Baking soda, silica | Flavor: Delicious mint | Size: 3.4 ounces

Made with gentle ingredients, Cocofloss Cocoshine whitening toothpaste is an excellent option for sensitive teeth. In addition to baking soda and silica for whitening, it contains coconut oil, which limited evidence suggests may improve mouth hygiene.

The star ingredient in Cocoshine is nano-hydroxyapatite (n-HA), a compound that remineralizes enamel to prevent cavities. Bacteria on the teeth feed off of sugars in our foods and drinks, creating an acid byproduct that causes demineralization. In other words, they strip the teeth of the minerals that keep enamel strong, leading to tooth decay and small holes — cavities.

According to a 2023 research review, n-HA fills in small holes in the enamel, remineralizing teeth. This not only strengthens tooth enamel to prevent tooth decay but also reduces tooth sensitivity. While Cocoshine doesn't contain fluoride, n-HA works similarly.

I loved Cocoshine's gentle effect and its vegan and animal cruelty-free status. The biggest drawback is the cost — it isn't budget-friendly at $22 per tube. Even so, some say it's worth the price. One pleased customer remarked, "It's been great for my sensitive teeth and has been the first whitening product I'm able to use."

Pros
  • Contains nano-hydroxyapatite (n-HA) to strengthen and repair enamel
  • Helps reverse tooth sensitivity
  • TSA-friendly tube size
Cons
  • High price point
  • Left a slight film after brushing
$22 at Cocofloss
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$22 at Amazon

Cost: $4 | Active ingredients: Silica | Flavor: Mint | Size: 4.3 ounces

Crest Pro-Health Maximum Cavity Protection provides plenty of bang for your buck while fighting cavities and neutralizing plaque around the gumline. Even better, it's safe for daily use, says board-certified orthodontist Thomas Dobie.

Dobie likes that Crest Pro-Health contains stannous fluoride, not sodium fluoride (found in most toothpastes). While both types of fluoride provide cavity protection, stannous fluoride is an antibacterial agent that fights gum disease and tooth sensitivity. "If you are looking for all-around protection, then this should be your go-to toothpaste," he said.

As an added bonus, silica (the active whitening ingredient) is a mild abrasive that cleans and whitens teeth without harming your enamel.

I enjoyed the bold mint flavor of this toothpaste, which left my mouth feeling clean and fresh long after brushing. It didn't irritate my mouth or gums, and I noticed a whitening effect (although subtle). Overall, it's a great value for a whitening toothpaste that's packed with tooth-protecting benefits.

Pros
  • Contains fluoride to prevent cavities
  • Protection lasts for 12 hours
  • Bold mint flavor
Cons
  • Contains sodium lauryl sulfate (can cause mouth irritation)
  • Some reviewers disliked the texture
$4 at Walgreens

Cost: $6 | Active ingredients: Silica | Flavor: Mint | Size: 3 ounces

Colgate Total Plaque Pro-Release ranked as the top performer for Colgate. It targets plaque, the sticky film that forms on your teeth if you don't brush and floss properly. Plaque is gross (in this reviewer's opinion!) and is a breeding ground for bacteria. Over time, plaque buildup can lead to gum disease, cavities and other dental issues. It can also worsen stains, which tend to cling to the sticky stuff.

I found myself returning to this toothpaste, even though its whitening effects aren't as powerful as with others I tested. The consistency was slightly sandy but the flavor was refreshing, and I loved how clean my mouth felt after brushing. I'm big on oral hygiene, and this plaque-fighting formula delivered.

Another perk? It's family-friendly. Although, according to Singh, whitening toothpastes are generally not recommended for young children (because their teeth are still developing), this one is safe for children over 12.

After two weeks of use, one Amazon reviewer noted, "My plaque buildup is little to none and my teeth are much whiter (active coffee drinker)." 

Pros
  • SmartFoam technology helps prevent plaque
  • Protects against cavities, gum disease and sensitivity
  • Refreshing mint flavor
Cons
  • Higher cost than similar products
  • Contains sodium lauryl sulfate
$6 at Target

Cost: $5 | Active ingredients: Silica, mica | Flavor: Vibrant peppermint | Size: 3.5 ounces

A dentist favorite, Crest 3D White Brilliance has potent whitening effects that provide noticeable results quickly. "I love Crest 3D White toothpaste because I see a noticeable difference in the brightness of my smile within one to two days," said cosmetic and restorative dentist Naomi Levy Goldman.

She says that if she goes a few days without using the toothpaste, her teeth don't look as bright — something she hasn't noticed with other whitening toothpastes. Crest 3D White Brilliance also contains fluoride, which Levy Goldman recommends to her patients to prevent decay.

According to the manufacturer's website, the 3D White Brilliance formula — Crest's fastest-acting formula — can remove up to 95% of surface stains within three days. After using it once, my teeth were visibly brighter, and I definitely noticed a whiter smile within three days. I also enjoyed the cooling flavor that left my mouth fresh and minty.

And I'm not alone — thousands of satisfied Amazon customers testified to the toothpaste's whitening effects. One reviewer raved, "Crest 3D White Toothpaste is a true game-changer in the world of oral care, and it has earned every one of its five stars in my book ... delivering exceptional whitening capabilities, a delightful flavor and all-around effectiveness as a toothpaste."

Pros
  • Contains fluoride to fight cavities
  • Safe for enamel
  • Refreshing minty flavor
Cons
  • May cause teeth sensitivity in some individuals
  • Contains sodium lauryl sulfate, which can cause mouth irritation
$13 at Walmart
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$5 at Target$5 at Walgreens

Cost: $6 | Active ingredients: Baking soda, silica | Flavor: Peppermint | Size: 5.5 ounces

Among the natural options we tested, Tom's of Maine Fluoride-Free Antiplaque & Whitening stood out as the winner. It uses baking soda and silica to gently whiten teeth and leaves your mouth feeling fresh and clean. This formula is fluoride-free, which makes it a solid option for those with a fluoride allergy.

However, Levy Goldman cautions that most people should brush their teeth with a fluoride toothpaste to prevent decay. "Even for patients who are not cavity-prone at the moment, you never know when one change in medication or diet could shift the balance of the bacteria and saliva in your mouth and cause you to start seeing an increase in decay risk," she said.

I liked the mild and unsweetened mint flavor of the toothpaste and love that it's vegan and animal cruelty-free. Because it doesn't contain peroxide, it didn't irritate my mouth.

One reviewer described Tom's as "My favorite toothpaste made of natural ingredients!" Another happy customer said, "This toothpaste is a great option for fluoride-free. The mouth feel and flavor are both great!"

Pros
  • Helps prevent plaque buildup and fights tartar
  • Free of artificial flavors, sweeteners and dyes
  • Vegan and not tested on animals
Cons
  • Results are subtler than with stronger formulas
  • Contains sodium lauryl sulfate
$6 at Target
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$11 for two at Amazon

Cost: $9 | Active ingredients: Silica | Flavor: Mint | Size: 3.5 ounces

Rembrandt Intense Stain is a powerful whitening toothpaste that also strengthens enamel. Its leading whitening agent is silica, a rough substance that acts like a pumice to polish the tooth's surface and remove surface stains, explains Los Angeles dentist Ilona Casellini. It also contains fluoride, which Casellini says is integral to dental care. She notes that some stains are intrinsic (below the teeth's surface) and no amount of whitening toothpaste will change the color of the teeth.

I enjoyed the subtle foaming action and noticed a whitening effect within four days of use. I loved the flavor and how clean my mouth remained long after brushing. While it's effective and didn't aggravate my gums, it's pricier than similar options I liked more.

One satisfied Amazon customer called Rembrandt Intense Stain a great toothpaste that got his teeth a few shades whiter within a couple of days. "The taste is fantastic a mild mint (non burning) type of flavor that I am digging." Another happy reviewer said, "It is the ONLY toothpaste that actually whitens my teeth noticeably where I receive comments from my dentist."

Pros
  • Strengthens and restores enamel
  • Safe to use on bonded teeth, caps and laminates
  • Works in under a week
Cons
  • Whitening effects aren't as strong as with peroxide formulas
  • Some customers disliked the flavor
$9 at Target
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$11 for two at Amazon

Cost: $12 | Active ingredients: Hydroxyapatite, silica, calcium carbonate | Flavor: Wild mint | Size: 4 ounces

RiseWell Mineral Toothpaste in wild mint is the No. 1 mineral toothpaste we tested, thanks to its lack of harsh chemicals and its noticeable whitening effects. RiseWell swaps fluoride for hydroxyapatite (HAP). According to Casellini, hydroxyapatite, a naturally occurring mineral, is one of the main components of tooth enamel. She says it helps to rebuild and remineralize enamel by filling in microscopic cracks and smoothing the tooth's surface to prevent cavities, reduce sensitivity and promote enamel repair.

Preliminary research points to HAP as a potential alternative to fluoride. What's more, a 2023 research review found that HAP is a promising whitening agent, making it an effective ingredient in whitening toothpastes.

I enjoyed the gentle feel of the toothpaste, which provided a good cleaning despite the lack of foaming action. The mint flavor is subtle and didn't linger, and I noticed my teeth started to look whiter after a week.

One happy reviewer loved RiseWell's "clean ingredients, great taste & feel!" Another customer said, "I bought this for myself after our pediatric dentist recommended it for our daughter. I was looking for something to gently whiten my teeth without crazy chemicals. This works." However, at $12 a tube, it's spendier than many other toothpastes. 

Pros
  • Strengthens enamel
  • Reduces teeth sensitivity
  • Contains hydroxyapatite to fight cavities
Cons
  • Some reviewers disliked the taste
  • Pricey
$12 at RiseWell

Cost: $7 | Active ingredients: Potassium nitrate, silica | Flavor: Mint | Size: 4 ounces

Whitening toothpastes can be problematic for people with sensitive teeth and gums, especially if they contain harsh abrasives and chemicals that irritate gums. The good news? Sensodyne Extra Whitening is just the ticket — its gentle formula won't cause irritation. Sensodyne is specifically designed for sensitivity with lower abrasiveness and desensitizing agents, says Texas dentist Vishala Patel.

Singh says that whitening toothpastes containing potassium nitrate are good options for individuals with sensitive gums because they help to soothe and protect sensitive areas. According to a study in the Journal of the American Dental Association, potassium nitrate works by blocking pain signals from the dental nerves to the brain.

I have sensitive gums, so I appreciated the gentleness of Sensodyne Extra Whitening. It delivered a mild whiteness after a week of regular brushing, minus the discomfort of harsher formulas. The flavor, less minty than others, was the only thing I wasn't crazy about.

"I had sensitive teeth for years until my dentist gave me a sample of Sensodyne to try. Now, it's the only toothpaste I use," said one pleased Amazon customer. Another reviewer praised it, saying, "This stuff is a game-changer for folks like me who deal with the dreaded duo of sensitivity and stained teeth."

Pros
  • Gentle formula for sensitive teeth
  • Contains potassium nitrate for sensitivity
  • Contains fluoride for cavity prevention
Cons
  • Mild whitening formula may not provide as significant effects
  • Takes several weeks to experience results
$7 at Walmart
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$7 at Rite Aid$9 at CVS Pharmacy

When shopping for a whitening toothpaste, our experts recommend keeping these considerations in mind:

Ingredients: Check the product label to determine what whitening agents it contains. According to Patel, chemical whiteners like carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide are highly effective for breaking down stains on the enamel. She says abrasive whiteners like silica and calcium carbonate (chalk) are commonly used to physically remove surface stains through mild abrasion. Some natural products may contain enzymes that have a whitening effect.

Abrasiveness: Consider the RDA (relative dentin abrasivity) value. A low-to-moderate RDA rating means it's safe to use daily, says Singh. In case you're wondering, the RDA value is a measurement of a toothpaste's abrasiveness on a scale of 0 to 250.

Singh explains that toothpastes with high RDA values can wear down enamel and dentin (the tooth layer directly under enamel), leading to sensitivity and damage. On the flip side, toothpastes with low-to-moderate RDA values are safe for daily use. She advises against the use of charcoal, which is particularly abrasive.

Sensitivity: Whitening toothpastes can be safe for individuals with sensitive teeth and gums, but it is important to choose a product specifically designed for sensitivity, advises Patel. They typically have lower abrasiveness and contain desensitizing agents.

Fluoride: Check with your dentist before switching to a fluoride-free toothpaste. "Fluoride helps strengthen enamel and prevent tooth discoloration," says Levy Goldman.

Taste and flavor: Taste is often subjective, but it's a good idea to look into the flavor profile before trying a new whitening toothpaste. User reviews are a good place to start.

Price: It doesn't matter how well a toothpaste works if it's not within your budget. Compare costs and product size to ensure cost-effectiveness.

To determine the best whitening toothpastes, we tested 20 products from tried-and-trusted oral care brands and newer labels. We interviewed five dental health professionals, including cosmetic and pediatric dentists and a board-certified orthodontist. Each toothpaste was home tested and evaluated on price, flavor, ingredients, whitening effects and additional dental health benefits.

"It typically takes a few weeks to a couple of months to see noticeable results from whitening toothpaste, depending on the level of staining and frequency of use," said Singh. However, a few on our top nine list provided visible results in just days.

Moderation is key when it comes to whitening toothpastes, says Casellini. She says prolonged use may damage tooth structure; once enamel is worn away, it is gone forever. "If you notice sensitivity or abrasion on the tooth surface, immediately stop using the toothpaste and consult your dentist," Casselini recommended.

Yes, but choose a whitening toothpaste specifically formulated for sensitive teeth to minimize discomfort, advises Singh.

"Whitening toothpaste targets surface stains on the teeth, whereas professional whitening uses peroxide to penetrate through the surface of the tooth and bleach the tooth from the inside," explains Levy Goldman.

"Natural whitening toothpastes can be effective to some extent, but they are generally less potent than those containing chemical whiteners like hydrogen peroxide," says Patel.

  • Laser Glow ColorTech Purple: It was easy to use, but the whitening impact was less noticeable than with other brands tested. It's a stain concealer, not a whitener, so its stain-reducing effect won't last.

  • Dr. Sheffield's Extra Whitening: This toothpaste is a solid all-around option. However, it uses natural enzymes to whiten teeth, and they're less effective than stronger whitening agents.

  • LivFresh Whitening Gel: While this toothpaste is a great option for removing plaque and improving gum health, it doesn't contain specific whitening agents that target teeth stains like the products that made the cut.

  • Boka Charcoal Yuzu Whitening n-Ha: The earthy flavor of this charcoal toothpaste was hard to get past, and the whitening effect was less obvious than other options I tested.

  • Boka Refresh Mint Whitening n-Ha: This smooth toothpaste left my mouth feeling fresh, but due to its high price point and minimal whitening impact, it didn't stand out as a winner.

  • hello Vitamin C Whitening Toothpaste: While this bright orange toothpaste may be effective for whitening, it left a bitter aftertaste and had a stinging effect. I found other toothpastes worked as well — minus the discomfort.

  • hello Naturally Whitening Anticavity Fluoride: This toothpaste was gritty and had a bitter aftertaste. It also made my mouth sting.

  • SmileWhite Deeper White: I liked that this whitening toothpaste is sodium lauryl sulfate-free, making it less likely to cause mouth irritation. But I didn't love the chalky aftertaste or that you can't rinse it out after use.

  • Moon Stain Removal Fluoride-Free: This is a solid option if you're looking for a natural, fluoride-free toothpaste. However, I didn't notice significant whitening.

  • Before SuperMint Whitening: I liked the minty flavor of this toothpaste and the fact that it contains fluoride to fight cavities. Since the whitening effect was subtler than with other toothpastes that made our list, this one didn't make the cut.

  • Arm & Hammer Plus TheraBreath: This toothpaste has a powerful minty flavor that left my breath fresh, but I didn't love how it left my mouth dry after brushing.

  • Jasveen Singh, DMD, owner of Pediatric Dentistry and Beyond in Tewksbury, Mass.

  • Thomas Dobie, DDS, a board-certified orthodontist at Dobie Revolution Orthodontics in Connecticut

  • Naomi Levy Goldman, DMD, a cosmetic and restorative dentist and owner of Levy Goldman Dentistry in Peabody, Mass.

  • Ilona Casellini, DMD, a boutique-style dentist and owner of Swiss Quality Smile in Los Angeles

  • Vishala Patel, DDS, owner of Edge Dental Designs in McKinney, Texas