8 Whitening Toothpastes That Actually Work

Spruce up those pearly whites.

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You'd be hard pressed to find someone willing to turn down a megawatt smile. The fastest way to get one is with a professional whitening treatment at the dentist's office, but those sessions can be costly and even painful for some. For a whiter smile, over-the-counter whitening toothpastes are a good ​runner up, and they’re also great for maintenance. They can tackle surface stains, reduce yellow tones, and brighten your smile with continued use.

Give one of these whitening toothpastes a try. 

Best Overall: Crest 3D White Brilliance Toothpaste

Crest 3D White Brilliance Toothpaste
Courtesy of Target

In just three days, this toothpaste can remove up to 95% of surface stains. That is pretty impressive. And that’s what makes it Crest’s most advanced formula. The toothpaste also prevents future stains with its 3X Stain Fighting Power. Though powerful, it's safe even for those with sensitive teeth and is safe on enamel. Plus, it contains fluoride to fight cavities.

Best Budget: Arm & Hammer Advance White Extreme Whitening Toothpaste

Arm & Hammer Advance White Extreme Whitening Baking Soda and Peroxide Toothpaste
Courtesy of Walmart

This toothpaste whitens with peroxide and baking soda for double the effectiveness, lifting stains and bringing a brighter smile. It contains fluoride to prevent cavities, removes plaque in tough-to-reach spots, controls tartar, neutralizes harmful acids that can erode and weaken enamel, delivers a deep clean by penetrating between teeth to reach the gum line, and has a low abrasion formula that won’t hurt enamel. The Stain Defense technology prevents new stains from forming, too, all in a clean mint flavor. Plus, with the low price, you can stock up without your wallet noticing.

Best for Fresh Breath: Colgate Total Fresh + Whitening Gel Toothpaste

The freshness won’t go away as soon as you put your toothbrush down. This toothpaste keeps breath super fresh for up to a whopping 12 ​hours, and will fight germs for that timeframe, too. It tastes good, too: The formula contains an added flavor booster. Over time, it will help prevent plaque, gingivitis, tartar build-up, bad breath and cavities. Now that’s something to smile about.

Best Splurge: Supersmile Professional Teeth Whitening Toothpaste

If you have already invested in a professional whitening treatment, you’ll want to make another splurge on this toothpaste. It’s designed to maintain the results of bleached or bonded teeth. The ingredient spotlight is on Calprox, which gently dissolves a protein called pellicle that can attract stains, and also prevents bacteria growth. And the Original Mint flavor keeps you feeling fresh.

Best Flavor: Marvis Whitening Mint Toothpaste

Marvis Whitening Mint Toothpaste
Courtesy of Sephora

Nothing elevates a shelfie like a tube of Marvis toothpaste. Based in Florence, Italy, like many other Italian brands, they are famous for their design. Marvis is equally known for its beautifully packaging as its intriguing flavors. (A couple of unique flavors include Amarelli Licorice and Jasmine Mint.) The creamy formula doesn’t include peroxide and uses silica to whiten instead. The toothpaste protects teeth while brightening and helps prevent tartar, decay and plaque. The crisp mint flavor keeps breath fresh long after you’ve brushed.

Best Charcoal: Hello Activated Charcoal Teeth Whitening Toothpaste

No, it’s not your imagination—activated charcoal really is popping up in everything these days. It’s beloved for pulling out impurities, and that goes for your teeth as well. By removing the compounds that stain your teeth, it leaves you with a brighter smile. Hello’s charcoal toothpaste is formulated with sustainable bamboo, which naturally detoxes and removes odors, making it great for polishing and whitening.

To leave you with fresh, minty breath, this formula also contains coconut oil, mint, spearmint and peppermint. Plus, it fights plaque and is free of fluoride, sulfates, artificial sweeteners and flavors, microbeads, parabens, gluten, and triclosan. It’s a product you can feel good about, since Hello is Leaping Bunny certified, vegan, cruelty-free, made in the U.S. from globally sourced ingredients and comes in a BPA-free tube. And to prove that it’s chock full of charcoal, the toothpaste is actually black. That means it can be a little messy for your sink, but good for your teeth.

Best for Sensitive Teeth: Sensodyne Extra Whitening Toothpaste

Sensodyne Extra Whitening Toothpaste
Courtesy of Target

Behold: One of the best whitening toothpastes for sensitive teeth. There's a reason Sensodyne's Extra Whitening toothpaste is the best-selling toothpaste in the country. It contains Potassium Nitrate to quickly help relieve sensitivity, and it keeps working to prevent pain for 24 hours. While getting your pearly whites at their peak by removing surface stains, it also delivers cavity protection.

Best Natural: Tom's of Maine Antiplaque & Whitening

Tom's of Maine Antiplaque & Whitening
Courtesy of Target

There’s no need to worry about icky ingredients with Tom’s of Maine. Packed with natural ingredients, this multitasker whitens teeth, prevents plaque and tartar build-up, and freshens breath, all without artificial dyes, sweeteners, flavors, or preservatives. It contains zinc citrate, a naturally occurring mineral sourced from zinc, and xylitol, which organically comes from birch trees or corn. The toothpaste is fluoride-free and has a refreshing natural peppermint flavor. Plus, the brand doesn’t test on animals, so it’s cruelty-free and vegan.

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