By Shelly Fesler, RDH, BSDH
The best whitening toothpaste is one that will remove stains and make teeth whiter without removing enamel.
Will a non abrasive toothpaste do the job? Click here for my recommendation.
Teeth whitening products are everywhere. Many toothpastes claim to whiten, brighten, or extreme whiten your teeth.
Here's the part that may be misleading:
Whitening toothpastes remove surface stains from your teeth and make stained teeth whiter.
Some teeth are just yellow or discolored and don't have surface stains.
Whitening toothpastes won't change the color of those teeth.
If your teeth have surface stains from smoking or drinking coffee, tea, or sodas, a whitening toothpaste might help.
For discolored teeth there are more effective ways whiten your teeth.
Whitening strips, whitening trays, or a professional whitening procedure will improve the color of your teeth.
Here is how to find the best whitening toothpaste for you.
The stain removing ingredient is the grit or abrasiveness in your toothpaste. Whitening toothpaste manufacturers use a variety of ingredients in toothpaste to add grit.
Calcium phosphates, alumina, calcium carbonate, hydrated silica, silica gel, and amorphous silicon dioxide are some commonly used toothpaste ingredients.
About whitening toothpastes with extra grit...
They remove stain but don't remove dental plaque better than non abrasive toothpastes.
Plaque is more harmful to your teeth and gums than stain.
Stain is not pretty, but is mostly harmless to your teeth and gums.
Using a toothpaste with too much grit can damage your teeth.
Is your toothpaste is too abrasive?
Luckily, a test has been developed to measure the abrasivness of a toothpaste. The RDA (relative dentin abrasiveness) of a toothpaste tells you how abrasive it is.
Most toothpastes don't include this information on the label, but it is easy to find by calling the consumer contact number on your favorite toothpaste. I have listed the RDA for some popular toothpastes below.
0-70 low abrasive
70-100 medium abrasive
100-150 highly abrasive
The FDA limit is 200 for approval. The ADA limit is 250 for approval.
Arm & Hammer Dental Care 35
Tom’s of Maine Sensitive toothpaste 49
Arm & Hammer Peroxicare 49
Rembrandt Original 53
Closys toothpaste 53
Colgate Total 70
Sensodyne toothpaste 79
Tom’s of Maine Regular 93
Crest toothpaste Regular 95
Mentadent toothpaste 103
Crest Extra Whitening 130
Ultra Brite 132
Pepsodent toothpaste 150
Crest pro-health toothpaste 189
Pearl Drops toothpaste Extra 227
Topol toothpaste Spearmint 256
Topol toothpaste Peppermint 276
What should you do?
Know the RDA of your toothpaste.
If you love one of the more abrasive brands, don't use it every day. Try alternating it with a non abrasive one.
Plain baking soda has an RDA value of 7...very safe!
Try dipping your wet toothbrush in baking soda and brush just the stained areas of your teeth.
The taste? Well...it's not minty fresh and takes a little getting used to, but it works for some stains and won't harm your enamel.
Don't use Topol, Pearl drops, or any other abrasive toothpastes they will do more harm than good. These products will remove stain but they also remove enamel and shine from your teeth over time.
To really whiten your smile, my favorite professional whitening product is Zoom. Here's why.