The trusted dentist’s recommendation is classic canon in the toothpaste ad sales game. Sometimes, a voiceover tells us that nine out of 10 dentists prefer a certain toothpaste. Other times, a white-coated “dentist” (who may or may not be an actor) explains why a particular paste is the only one good enough for his or her own teeth. Either way, we never really know what dentists like best. It’s a worthy question that we even neglect to ask at our own dental appointments, as we become so overwhelmed by what’s about to go down in the chair that all logical inquiries go out the window.
In order to get to the bottom of what should be a NBD question once and for all, we asked top dentists to share their top pick for whitening toothpastes. As it turns out, deciding factors boil down to much more than optimal minty freshness or even overall tooth whitening ability — like with most beauty products, texture, ingredients, and technology play a big part.
Ahead, see what celebrity dentists really use to magnify their pearly whites.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.
Crest 3D White Luxe Glamorous White Toothpaste
New York-based dentist and RealSelf contributor Victoria Veytsman, DDS, calls this paste her “go to,” and says she’s noticed a difference in the brightness of her own teeth since using it. “It's removes about 90-95% of enamel stains within a couple of days and is gentle on teeth,” says the cosmetic dentist behind Karlie Kloss, Dascha Polanco, and Danielle Brooks’ smiles.
Crest 3D White Luxe Glamorous White Toothpaste, $3.78, available at Walmart
Arm & Hammer Advance White Extreme Whitening Baking Soda Toothpaste
We've all heard that baking soda can help lift tooth stains, but you don't need to DIY your own treatment. Cosmetic dentist Dr. Neil Hadaegh told Business Insider that he recommends this cheap, peroxide-infused paste from Arm & Hammer to his patients.
Arm & Hammer Advance White Baking Soda and Peroxide Toothpaste, $5.44, available at Walmart
Hello Activated Charcoal Teeth Whitening Toothpaste
Celebrity dentist and founder of byte, Jon Marashi,DDS, agrees that, as far as toothpastes go, activated charcoal is the new hotness. He recommends it because of how well it can absorb and bind the compounds that stain your teeth so once you rinse, your teeth are left bright and shiny.
hello Activated Charcoal Teeth Whitening Toothpaste, $4.82, available at Amazon
Opalescence Whitening Toothpaste
Dr. Veytsman says that she doesn't just love this formula because of the great flavor, but because it also fights cavities and buffs away stains without being abrasive. Dr. Marashi adds that, in the long run, it helps strengthen tooth enamel, too.
Opalescence Whitening Toothpaste, $10.99, available at Amazon
Tom's of Maine Luminous White Clean Mint Natural Toothpaste
No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives makes this chemical-free toothpaste a favorite of Dr. Marashi. The results may not be instant or dramatic, but its multitasking ability will make you — and your dentist — happy.
Tom's of Maine Luminous White Clean Mint Natural Toothpaste, $6.49, available at Target
Rembrandt Deeply White & Peroxide Whitening Toothpaste
Carly LeVine, DDS, has exactly the kind of A-list clientele one might imagine from a dentist who practices in the wealthy neighborhood of Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles, though she’s careful to protect the privacy of her patients. Luckily, she’s more loose-lipped when it comes to sharing her prime pick for whitening toothpastes. Her first suggestion? Don’t get fooled by shiny packaging. “Most whitening toothpastes use abrasive particles to scrub off stains and ultimately damage the enamel,” she says. “This is my favorite toothpaste because it is low in abrasiveness.”
Rembrandt Deeply White & Peroxide Whitening Toothpaste, $7.79, available at Target.com
Hello Whitening Pure Mint Fluoride Toothpaste
This whitening toothpaste is super gentle, free of any peroxides or artificial additives, and vegan and cruelty-free. It's the kind of toothpaste you can feel good about buying — plus, it makes your teeth sparkle. Bonus: It has Dr. Marashi's stamp of approval. Win-win-win.
hello Pure Mint Extra Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste, $7.99, available at Walmart
Colgate White Whitening Toothpaste
You've probably seen this vibrant red box in the aisles of your favorite grocery store — and we're here to attest to the fact that it actually works. If you use this toothpaste regularly, you'll see whiter teeth over time, sans that annoying hypersensitivity that comes with some whitening treatments.
colgate White Whitening Toothpaste, $5.08, available at Walmart
Apa Beauty White Toothpaste
Michael Apa, DDS, a New York-based dentist who treats celebrities like Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, Lea Michele, and Chloë Sevigny, wasn’t thrilled with the whitening toothpastes on the market, so he developed his own. “It's super thick and rich and, for me, texture matters,” he said.
The formula also contains micro hydroxyapatite, in lieu of fluoride, to strengthen teeth. “Hydroxyapatite is what teeth are made of. The raw ingredient is mixed into the rich paste to re-mineralize and scrub away stains for a gentle whitening effect. It also tastes like a candy cane, so that's always good.”
Apa Beauty White Toothpaste, $25, available at Apa Beauty
Luster Now! Instant Whitening Toothpaste
"This toothpaste makes teeth appear brighter instantly," NYC-based cosmetic dentist Dr. Marc Lowenberg of Lowenberg, Lituchy & Kantor tells Refinery29. "It contains technology which deposits blue micro-particles on to teeth, creating the optical illusion of a brighter smile."
Luster Instant Whitening Toothpaste, $8.99, available at Walmart
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