There are loads of whitening toothpastes available. Walk into a pharmacy or supermarket and you are confronted with shelves and shelves of toothpastes. Each will make it’s own claims and quite a lot will claim to whiten your teeth.

I have to be honest with you. No whitening toothpastes available in the UK actually whiten your teeth. The only way to actually change the colour of your natural teeth is to have professional whitening with a dentist.

How do whitening toothpastes work?

They work by being abrasive. Whitening toothpastes contain little particles that polish your teeth during brushing.

They can be effective for removing stains that are stuck to the surface of your teeth. These can be stains from tea, coffee or red wine. These could also be stains from smoking.

So there is some good news. If you want to get rid of some of the stain on your teeth then a whitening toothpaste is perfect. There is a limit to how much stain a whitening toothpaste will remove. If it’s really stuck on then you may need a professional clean with a dentist or hygienist.

Charcoal toothpaste

So what about these new charcoal toothpastes?

I am very sceptical. I don’t know very much about them but I suspect that’s because there’s not much to know. It’s the latest gimmick that someone has made up to sell us something.

There is no evidence behind charcoal toothpastes. There’s just someone with something to sell.

Oil pulling

I’m afraid this won’t whiten your teeth either. Again, this one is a bit of a fad. Please read our oil pulling article for more information.

How to whiten your teeth?

So if whitening toothpaste doesn’t work, how do I whiten my teeth?

Professional whitening is the only way to safely whiten your teeth. This can be done with an ‘in surgery’ system where you spend a couple of hours at the dentist. Or it can be done with an ‘at home’ system.

The ‘at home’ system tends to get the best results in my experience. Your dentist takes some impressions of your teeth and has some whitening trays made. You then load these trays up with whitening gel supplied by your dentist and wear them overnight for a few weeks.

Gradually, over those few weeks, your teeth gently brighten up. When you’re happy with the results, you stop. The great thing is that you are in control.

If you would like to know more about whitening, please read our article.

I’m sorry that whitening toothpastes don’t actually whiten your teeth. They are very good for stain removal because they are abrasive. But they don’t change the colour of the tooth underneath the stain.

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