Do whitening toothpastes really work?

Many of our patients ask us whether whitening toothpastes really whiten their teeth, so we asked Dr. Peters for clarification on this question.

photo of Dr. Jacob Peters
Jacob M. Peters, D.D.S.
Family Dentist Tree

“They can to a limited extent. Whitening toothpastes have mild abrasives in them that help scrub away surface stains. The key here is that whitening toothpastes only work on the surface of teeth. They won’t whiten the inside of the tooth where most of the pigment is. You may notice a mild whitening of your teeth when you first switch to a whitening toothpaste, but after the surface stain is removed, you probably won’t get any additional whitening results. Also, the abrasive in whitening toothpastes can cause increased tooth sensitivity over time, so we don’t usually recommend using them long term. A good strategy is to use a regular toothpaste routinely, then use a whitening toothpaste every once in a while to remove any surface stains. To truly whiten your teeth you’ll need to bleach them with a peroxide based product.”

At Family Dentist Tree we offer a take-home Opalescense whitening system. We make custom trays for your teeth and you can whiten while you sleep! For more information on take-home professional whitening, visit our site at

whitening results
Ask us about take-home whitening at your next appointment!