The 5 best whitening toothpastes, according to dentists

Whether you're a coffee addict, ex-smoker, or just want to brighten your smile, virtually everyone wants whiter teeth. There are all kinds of intensive options available from whitening strips to in-office dental treatments. But for most of us, the easiest way is to switch up our toothpaste and ask it to do more than just fight plaque and cavities.

Whitening toothpaste generally works by using enamel-safe abrasives to physically remove surface stains. Many also contain other active ingredients, like peroxide, to dissolve stains and bleach teeth.

But since not every ingredient is equal and some teeth whitening products notoriously cause tooth sensitivity, we spoke to four board-certified dentists to learn which whitening toothpaste really works. They shared the top brands they recommend to patients, as well as some tips for what to look for when shopping, and we personally tested several top brands ourselves.

The 5 best whitening toothpastes, according to dentists

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Best overall: Colgate Total Whitening Toothpaste, $6.99 on AmazonColgate Total Whitening Toothpaste is a top pick among our dentists as it's a budget-friendly and effective way to whiten and protect the overall health of your teeth.

Best natural toothpaste: Tom's of Main Simply White Clean Mint, $5.29 on AmazonFrom a trustworthy natural personal-care-products brand, Tom's of Maine Simply White Clean Mint Toothpaste delivers on its whitening promises without any harsh chemicals.

Best for sensitive teeth: Crest Pro Health Gum and Sensitivity Gently Whitening, $6.99 on TargetThe best Crest whitening toothpaste, Pro Health Gum and Sensitivity Gentle Whitening, is a science-backed plaque remover and a rare combination of sensitivity relief and whitening power.

Best for intensive whitening: Colgate Optic White Advanced Sparkling White, $5.49 on TargetColgate Optic White Advanced Sparkling White is formulated with hydrogen peroxide and abrasives to provide a double-whammy whitening effect.

Best eco-friendly: Bite Toothpaste Bits, $30 on BiteIf you're looking for a whitening toothpaste that has a clean ingredient list and ditches the plastic tube, Bite's toothpaste bits are what you seek.