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10 best whitening toothpastes for brighter teeth and fresher breath

We’ve tried and tested the best whitening toothpaste for pearlier whites

Amerley Ollennu
Tuesday 23 April 2024 10:02 BST
Pastes can be safer than at-home whitening kits
Pastes can be safer than at-home whitening kits (iStock/The Independent)
Our Top Picks

When it comes to oral care, along with straighter teeth, there’s a huge demand for whiter, brighter smiles. However, at-home teeth whitening can be dicey – homemade remedies can destroy enamel, while blue LED light kits used too often increase tooth sensitivity and gum irritation. This makes the best whitening toothpaste a safer option when it comes to combating stains caused by some of the best things life has to offer: coffee and wine.

Aesthetic dentist and Pärla co-founder Dr Rhona Eskander, explains that, when it comes to the shade of your teeth, “stains are either extrinsic (aka surface stains) or intrinsic (aka stains that occur inside the tooth). Toothpaste containing silica, an abrasive ingredient, removes extrinsic stains by scrubbing the surface of your teeth. Those that also contain bleaching agent hydrogen peroxide can whiten extrinsic and intrinsic stains.”

Eskander also shares that, while whitening toothpastes are designed to remove more stains than regular toothpastes that focus solely on improving oral health, there is a limit to how white your teeth can go.

“Everyone has a baseline, not to mention the actives in whitening toothpaste are not as strong as those you can get from a dentist,” she says. “Moreover, if your teeth have lost enamel, then dentine, which is the supportive structure of our teeth, that lies immediately underneath our enamel becomes visible. It’s more yellow in colour and less prone to effective whitening.”

Keeping this in mind helped us have realistic expectations while testing, so, we were pleasantly surprised by what our top picks could do.

How we tested the best whitening toothpaste

We tested each of these teeth whitening kits for a month at a time. We brushed day and night, for the recommended two minutes a session, using the Oral-B iO 9 ultimate clean electric toothbrush, to ensure consistency. When it came to our final score, we took price, taste, fresh breath factor, sensitivity, and whitening into account, helping us decide which are the best whitening toothpaste.

The best whitening toothpastes for 2024 are:

  • Best whitening toothpaste overall – Pearl drops strong polished white toothpaste: £3.50,
  • Best budget whitening toothpaste – Arm & Hammer advanced white pro: £3.49,
  • Best for fresh breath – Oral-B 3D white clinical whitening restore power fresh toothpaste: £9,
  • Best for surface stain removal – Colgate max white ultimate renewal whitening toothpaste: £33.50,
  • Best for sensitive gums and teeth – Corsodyl complete protection toothpaste whitening: £3,

Pearl Drops strong polished white toothpaste

Pearl Drops strong polished white toothpaste indybest.jpg
  • Best: Whitening toothpaste overall
  • Size: 75ml
  • Why we love it
    • Added smoothness and shine as well as whiteness
    • Impressive at removing stubborn stains

Containing perlite, a dental grade polishing agent, this toothpaste promises to make your teeth up to four shades whiter in just three weeks – and we think it delivered. It’s easy to use, lathers up nicely when brushing, and has a faint minty taste that’s just enough to leave your mouth feeling fresh and clean.

Our teeth felt super smooth after using it, and they had a nice shine to them too. In terms of how long it took to notice a difference in colour, we’d say about two weeks. By that point, our teeth looked at least a shade (if not two) whiter. However, what really impressed us was how its polishing capabilities were not just able to make our teeth whiter overall but also removed stains that had built up in an area of crowding on our lower teeth that other toothpastes had never been able to shift.

  1. £3 from
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Arm & Hammer advanced white pro

Arm & Hammer advanced white pro indybest.jpg
  • Best: Budget whitening toothpaste
  • Size: 75ml
  • Why we love it
    • No sensitivity issues
    • Tackled plaque

Minty yet mild, we found this easy to use, and, while it contains baking soda – a mild abrasive that removes surface stains – it doesn’t feel grainy. It doesn’t foam up as much as other toothpastes we’ve tested but you definitely feel like you’ve had a good clean. We noticed our teeth looked a little whiter after a couple of weeks but they also looked really shiny and bright. As a bonus, we experienced absolutely no sensitivity issues when testing this toothpaste, and we were really impressed by how well it removed plaque around the gumline.

  1. £3 from
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Oral-B 3D white clinical whitening restore power fresh toothpaste

Oral-B 3d white clinical whitening restore power fresh toothpaste indybest
  • Best: For fresh breath
  • Size: 70ml
  • Why we love it
    • Only takes a few days to notice improvements
  • Take note
    • Mint taste might be too intense for some

This grainy paste is as minty fresh as they come, which was a welcome addition to its whitening prowess, as some of the other toothpastes we tested lost points in the fresh-breath department. On top of the intense minty flavour, it didn’t take very long – just a few days, in fact – for us to notice a difference in the existing staining we had on our teeth. After just two weeks, it was clear this product worked well at reducing stain build-up from the foods and drinks we consume, namely coffee, green tea, tomato sauce, soy sauce, and balsamic vinegar. Thanks to the toothpaste’s four-step approach – loosening, lifting, polishing and protecting – our teeth feel smoother and look brighter and whiter, too.

  1. £9 from
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Colgate max white ultimate renewal whitening toothpaste

Colgate max white ultimate renewal whitening toothpaste indybest.jpg
  • Best: For surface stain removal
  • Size: 75ml
  • Why we love it
    • Battles tough stains, including red wine
  • Take note
    • Odd taste

A clinical study conducted on 76 people who had stains caused by food and drink showed this toothpaste has the ability to reverse up to 15 years of discolouration. Was that the case when we tested it? Well, ultimately, it’s hard to say how many years of staining it took off our gnashers, but it certainly made a dent.

The paste is smooth rather than grainy and is nice and thick. It cleans well, leaving teeth feeling super smooth, and the professional whitening ingredients within the formula help lift stains – red wine stood no chance against this. However, there was one area where we felt there was room for improvement, and that was the taste and subsequent fresh-breath effect.

This particular toothpaste has a rather peculiar taste, it’s not minty at all, in our opinion – while it gets rid of morning breath, it doesn’t leave a minty fresh scent in your mouth, meaning mouthwash post cleansing was absolutely necessary.

  1. £33 from
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Corsodyl complete protection toothpaste whitening

Corsodyl complete protection toothpaste whitening indybest.jpg
  • Best: For sensitive gums and teeth
  • Size: 75ml
  • Why we love it
    • Great for sensitive teeth
  • Take note
    • Not the traditional minty taste

This toothpaste has a medicinal taste to it, which meant we didn’t get that traditional minty fresh breath we’ve come to associate with clean teeth. However, it does offer a clean feeling and our teeth definitely looked whiter after prolonged use.

When it came to addressing sensitivity, we were surprised that this paste was able to lift stains while not irritating gums. It also helped reduce inflammation that we’d developed after testing other toothpastes. Overall, we noticed less sensitivity while testing this toothpaste.

  1. £3 from
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Marvis whitening toothpaste

marvis .jpg
  • Best: Stylish whitening toothpaste
  • Size: 85ml
  • Why we love it
    • Sleek branding
    • Minty and fresh finish
    • Saw noticeable difference after two days

Standing out in the sterile-looking dental world, Marvis manages to blend fashion and function, thanks to its sleek branding and efficient whitening formula. Founded way back in 1958, the Italian brand has found a surprising style status in the past decade, owing to its covetable and climate-friendly packaging.

It’s at the pricier end of the market but it’s not just a pretty face. Unlike some whitening products, Marvis’s thick formula is creamy rather than grainy or pasty, working to cleanse and condition the gums and teeth – and we found it pleasingly minty and fresh.

As well as leaving our mouth feeling thoroughly cleaned, we noticed its whitening effect within just a few days. After two weeks, our tester (an obsessive coffee drinker who is also very partial to a glass of red wine) had a noticeably whiter and shinier sheen to their teeth. Marvis’s toothpaste is not merely an attractive addition to your bathroom cabinet, it’s a very efficient one, too.

  1. £9 from Lookfantastic
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Hismile PAP+ whitening toothpaste

  • Best: Peroxide-free toothpaste
  • Size: 40g
  • Why we love it
    • Removed stains visibly in just a few days
  • Take note
    • Lacks minty taste
    • Tricky to squeeze out of the tube

For maximum whiteness, abrasives alongside teeth bleaching peroxide are generally used to get teeth as white as possible. However, Hismile uses phthalimidoperoxycaproic acid (PAP), rather than peroxides, to give a gentler – but still noticeable – whitening effect. We definitely noticed how much gentler this was than other peroxide-based toothpastes we tried.

Sensitive gums, bleeding or tooth sensitivity are all conditions that can often result from heavy-duty whitening products, even toothpaste, but, with this, we didn’t experience any of these side effects. We were pretty surprised, because this non-foaming iridescent serum-like toothpaste effectively removed stains in as little as a few days.

While we were impressed by its whitening prowess, we did think it lacked a fresh minty taste, was tricky to squeeze out of its tube and its runny nature meant we found we over-served ourselves on occasion.

  1. £11 from
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Pärla pro plastic-free toothpaste tabs

Parla indybest.jpg
  • Best: Tabs
  • Size: 62 tablets
  • Why we love it
    • Eco-friendly toothpaste and packaging
    • Adds glossy shine to teeth
    • Incredibly gentle
  • Take note
    • Tablets take some getting used to

After a lifetime of brushing with traditional paste formulas, switching to tabs took some getting used to. These dentist-formulated eco-friendly packaged tablets need to be chewed for five seconds before you start brushing, which means we had to do a little brain training to stop our natural inclination to swallow after chewing. We also had to remember not to rinse our mouths after brushing, as each tab contains B12 and vitamin E. These are vital to maintaining healthy gums, as well as a healthy immune system, so rinsing the formula away is a no-no.

When it comes to stain removal, this minty fresh, frothy formula contains hydroxyapatite, an exciting new mineral that’s the building block of natural enamel. It closes all the open pores in the teeth and, in tandem with other whitening ingredients, blocks stain formation, and adds a glossy shine to the teeth, all while being incredibly gentle.

  1. £10 from
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Polished London ultra white LMD toothpaste

Polished London ultra white LMD toothpaste.jpg
  • Best: Vegan whitening toothpaste
  • Size: 100ml
  • Why we love it
    • No sensitivity issues after use
  • Take note
    • Pricey for what it is

A naturally minty flavour derived from wild mint and peppermint leaves, combined with hero deep cleanser sodium bicarbonate, and cavity fighter fluoride, make for a toothpaste we can get behind. It’s free of SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate), too, yet still foamed up nicely and we found that, throughout testing, our teeth looked brighter and whiter. The formula is vegan-friendly, cruelty-free and pretty “clean”, and we found that there was no sensitivity from using this whitening paste, either.

Our only gripe is, for the price, we expected a little more innovation in terms of its formula – while it did leave our teeth whiter, it is pretty standard, mainly consisting of silica and sodium bicarbonate, which only physically removes surface stains.

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Selahatin amorist whitening toothpaste

Selahatin amorist whitening toothpaste indybest.jpg
  • Best: Luxury whitening toothpaste
  • Size: 75ml
  • Why we love it
    • Made teeth two shades lighter
    • Clever chemicals used to protect enamel

This mint, peppermint and menthol-infused paste is one of the most luxe toothpastes we’ve ever seen. The tube aesthetic is minimalist and resembles more of a covetable face mask or hand cream. Not only did it elevate the look of our bathroom sink, the formula has a fair few ingredients you’d see in your skincare – not so surprising when you discover this is made in Switzerland, which is a skincare mecca.

Hydroxyapatite helped protect the outer layer of our teeth, by preventing the breakdown of enamel, while anti-inflammatory actives helped boost gum health, and Swiss flower edelweiss, a potent antioxidant, worked to balance bacteria. There’s even a moisturising amino acid to relieve dryness.

The question remains, though, did it actually whiten our teeth? In short, yes. A mix of exfoliating and bleaching ingredients silica and sodium bicarbonate left our teeth around two shades lighter and a lot brighter.

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Whitening toothpastes FAQs

How does whitening toothpaste work?

When it comes to teeth whitening at home, brands use a variety of ingredients. Charcoal is popular, which draws out impurities from the enamel (the outer layer of your teeth), while some use abrasives to dissolve stains. Another common whitening ingredient is hydrogen peroxide, which whitens teeth by bleaching, and silica, which can remove surface stains.

It can take several weeks to see a difference with regular use, so, consistency is key for white, brighter teeth. You can also help maintain the whiteness of your teeth by avoiding coffee, red wine, beetroot and blueberries.

Is whitening toothpaste safe?

If you’re using a surface stain removal toothpaste that contains abrasives to dissolve stains, it can weaken your enamel, in which case it’s always a good idea to also use an enamel-strengthening toothpaste. The healthier your enamel is, the better chance you have at protecting teeth from stains.

Most whitening toothpaste is designed for use every day, unless specified in the instructions otherwise, but if you have particularly sensitive teeth, it is often recommended to alternate with your regular toothpaste.

The verdict: Whitening toothpaste

It’s best to be realistic about how white your teeth will really get when using a whitening toothpaste alone. If you smoke and/or eat and drink a lot of teeth-staining ingredients, you may have decades of stains that toothpaste alone can’t fix. Plus, social media filters and the prevalence of veneers and bonding may have also skewed your idea of how white natural teeth can really get. As long as you keep all this in mind, however, we think, like us, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much of a difference switching to a whitening toothpaste can make.

We couldn’t believe how effective the Pearl Drops strong polished white toothpaste was at removing stains that no other toothpaste had been able to. We also appreciated that the formula stuck to a traditional minty taste that left us with fresh breath, making it our favourite overall.

If toothpaste just won’t cut it, read our review of the best teeth whitening kits

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