Tooth whitening is big business – over 100,000 people last year opted to have their teeth whitened. Of course, all want to look younger and feel happier, and there’s nothing like having a dazzling smile to give you back that youthful confidence. But before you decide to break open the piggy bank and book yourself an appointment with a cosmetic dentist or a tooth whitening clinic, why not start with your local chemist? Perusing the shelves, you’ll find a huge choice of whitening toothpastes, all claiming to restore your teeth’s pearly white appearance. But what exactly do they do and how do they work?
Whitening toothpastes are formulated to brighten the appearance of your teeth, using either abrasives, hydrogen peroxide or enzymes. Abrasives rely on your brushing action to literally brush your teeth whiter by removing stains from the tooth’s surface. Whether this really leads to a visible improvement is a moot point. Also, the abrasive particles can wear away the tooth enamel, leaving your teeth vulnerable.
Hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent that can be used to lighten the shade of your tooth colour. There is some doubt, however, whether whitening toothpastes contain a strong enough concentration of hydrogen peroxide to actually make much of a difference. What’s more, there is concern that hydrogen peroxide may be carcinogenic and weaken teeth.
Enzymes are active chemical ingredients that remove stains from your teeth – coffee tea, red wine and nicotine being the prime offenders. For most of us, using a toothpaste is the easiest way to maintain healthy, white teeth. That said, a toothpaste cannot possibly be as effective as a dedicated dental treatment such as bleaching trays or power or laser whitening, so don’t expect your whitening toothpaste to perform the impossible.
While you make up your mind about which treatment option to choose in the longer term – whitening toothpastes, home bleaching kits or in-surgery laser whitening procedures – you may as well get started with a toothbrush. Here are our favourite whitening toothpastes:
Top 10 Whitening Toothpastes
This product has a low-abrasion formulation, and also uses an enzyme-based formulation (containing bromelain and papain, derived from pineapple and papaya) to safely remove stains from coffee, tea, wine and nicotine, whitening your teeth naturally. It’s been voted most effective whitening toothpaste by Toothbrushtalk.
Contrary to what the name might indicate, this toothpaste is not only designed for smokers. It’s suitable for anyone who has stained teeth. This product boasts rave customer reviews, with users claiming to see visible results in just one week.
Rapid White Instant Whitening Toothpaste:
Using a proprietary formulation, this toothpaste claims to whiten and brighten teeth safely and efficiently by 1 ½ shades after just one application. A whitening silica maximises whitening and cleansing, while gentle abrasive action keeps your tooth enamel safe.
A trusted and respectable brand, Blanx have been making toothpastes for a long time. This product uses ‘arctic lichen’ for a more natural whitening approach which is effective, particularly for everyday food and drinks stains.
A well-known whitening brand, this toothpaste uses baking soda as a gentle whitening agent and to provide lasting freshness and breathe protection. It does a good job maintaining the natural whiteness of your teeth.
This toothpaste uses Aquafresh’s unique active micro-fine Illumipearls™ technology, which starts removing stains and polishing dental surfaces from the first application, providing three times better whitening results.
Originally designed to be used with the accompanying 2-hour whitening system, this toothpaste can also be used on its own, boasting impressive results.
Pearl Drops Hollywood Smile uses freshwater pearl powder to help remove stains and plaque from your teeth, restoring their natural shine and lustre, while active oxygen is used to boost dental whiteness.
Luster Premium White Luster NOW! Instant Whitening Toothpaste
Should you have any questions regarding the colour of your teeth, your dentist should always be your first port of call. S/he will be able to explain all the options (and prices!) open to you, including teeth whitening kits that you can use at home, and in-surgery power or laser whitening procedures. And if you’re really lucky, you may even receive a sample of a recommended whitening toothpaste to try.