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Is Whitening Toothpaste Bad for Your Teeth

Coffee, red wine, soda, even an injury or medication – all these things can leave your teeth looking less than alabaster. So, it’s natural to want to get them back to their gleaming white glory, but at what cost? 

Zoom bleaching, while effective, can cost you a pretty penny and it’s not the most enjoyable process. This is why whitening toothpaste has been increasing in popularity over the years. But is it bad for your enamel? We did some digging to find out.


Whitening toothpaste is popular because people can see results. If you’ve ever used whitening toothpaste, you realize this won’t happen overnight. It takes committed, continued use to see an improvement. 

This is where many dentists chime in and advise not to use a whitening formula for more than four weeks at a time, BUT many toothpaste brands say you start to see a noticeably whiter smile after two months. 

Regardless of the advice you take – what is actually occurring when you lighten and brighten?

How Whitening Toothpaste Works

In our quest to determine whether whitening was bad for teeth, we learned how whitening toothpaste work – and it may sound simple enough, but not all whitening kinds of toothpaste are alike. 

Naturally, when we clean our teeth, something has to take all the gunky buildup off and that’s where abrasive agents come in. Consider that the foundation for all pastes. Now you add some whitening chemicals to the mix (often enzymes such as Papain or Bromelain). 

While your regular toothpaste may do a great job of removing debris and plaque, there are a lot of places your bristles can’t reach, therefore you may find more staining in certain places. That’s when the snowy white suds of whitening toothpaste come in to take on the job.

Is It Safe?

Whitening toothpaste contains such abrasive agents that it actually starts to scrub away the actual enamel of your teeth. This leads to thinning of teeth which begins to make them more translucent, and what you are left with is the yellow color in the inner layer of the tooth. Imagine how hot and cold drinks or food are going to feel after that! Sensitive!

But there are a variety of different whitening pastes out there that affect teeth differently, take charcoal for example. Charcoal paste has a lot of gimmicky buzz around it, but many dentists agree that it’s too abrasive and not only hurts your gums but also destroys the natural tooth structure. This causes little micro-abrasions on the enamel. Yowza!

Non-charcoal pastes are far less abrasive and most have been approved by the American Dental Association. But you shouldn’t always trust the ADA seal. Dentists agree, whitening toothpaste, over time, will destroy the natural layers of your teeth.

What To Do Instead

Now, if you are feeling a little defeated (because you are committed to twinkling white chops), experts actually DO recommend the in-house bleaching treatments done at your dentist. So yes, now we are back to square one. 

But consider the long game, don’t you want to protect your ever-so-precious biters? Professional care is costly for a reason – it’s both safe AND boosts brightness. 

Oftentimes, after treatment, your dentist sends you home with trays, which are custom molds for your teeth. This way you can use a high-quality product (acquired at the dentist’s office) to maintain your pearly whites.

It may seem a bit discouraging because, boy do we want to trust those tooth whitening advertisements, but remember, tooth enamel doesn’t grow back. 

Cheaper & Safe Alternatives

And if you simply cannot afford the cost of professional whitening treatment, focus on quality, non-whitening toothpaste to target the staining before it starts. Here are a few of our favorites:

  1. Sensodyne

Whether you have a sensitive bite or not, Sensodyne has a reputation for its high-quality ingredients, such as potassium which soothes your nerves through those itty bitty holes in your teeth. These are vulnerable areas that can expose your dentin (the layer underneath the enamel). 

And Sensodyne not only makes your breath minty fresh – many reviewers claim an increased whiteness of teeth. They didn’t even have to put it in the name. Sold!

  1. Tom’s of Maine

This Whole Care Toothpaste Gel might seem like it belongs to the granola, Birkenstock-wearing crowd, but hey, they may be on to something. 

The company has been developing oral care products for more than 40 years and this paste fights cavities, prevents plaque and tarter buildup AND it whitens your teeth! There aren’t any artificial ingredients and the company never uses animal products or tests on animals.

  1. Crest Pro Health Advanced Fluoride Toothpaste, Deep Clean Mint

Crest has been dominating the dental game for ages. With this product, Crest harnesses the power of stannous fluoride to fight cavities, gingivitis, and plaque. 

The paste receives rave reviews because it makes your mouth feel oh-so-clean and it is highly recommended by dentists. This can be swiped up at the grocery store, even if it is on the very top shelf.

  1. Davids Premium Natural Toothpaste

If you’re not a fan of fluoride, you may want to turn to Davids. This toothpaste is highly recommended, but it comes at a pretty steep cost. 

It’s a high-performance paste that sources clean ingredients and fans love how much it makes their teeth sparkly white. The premium natural peppermint oil flavoring makes you look forward to brushing your teeth because it feels THAT clean.

  1. Marvis Royal Toothpaste

While we are on the topic of taste, this paste contains zesty Italian lemon oil, tangerines, rose oil, nutmeg, and the Marvis signature mint. It makes your mouth water just thinking about it! It is the best tasting toothpaste you’ll find. 

Not only does it do what toothpaste is supposed to do (fight cavities, remove plaque, prevent gingivitis), it leaves you with an incredibly bright smile.


Some of these recommended toothpaste will vie for your hard-earned cash, but as highly critical toothpaste reviewers, we hitch to the old adage “you get what you pay for.” And your teeth are the marquee of your face, so consider it an investment in an inviting smile.

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