Having ultra-white teeth can give you a mega-watt smile in pictures, but that kind of whiteness isn't super easy to achieve. There are a number of factors that can make it difficult to have totally white teeth, from lifestyle habits (like drinking too much coffee, one of the leading causes of tooth discoloration) to not using one of the best whitening toothpastes, many of which can make a big difference in terms of how much shine your teeth have.
"Unlike other whitening products that rely on peroxide, whitening toothpaste simply uses abrasives and enzymes to remove surface stains from teeth," says Dr. Samantha Sacchetti, a general dentist at Chicago-based Village Dental.
For some, if that means quick results, that's not a bad thing. According to Dr. Sacchetti, it's important to keep in mind that a dentifrice (the technical name for toothpaste) should be ADA-approved for use if you're trying to whiten teeth, and to be ADA approved, that means a toothpaste delivers a certain amount of fluoride, which helps with cavity prevention.
While it's always important to consult with a dentist first if you have any questions or concerns about your dental health, there are a number of things you can on your own to do to help get whiter teeth. Teeth whitening isn't for everyone, and for those with sensitive teeth, using abrasive toothpastes or kits to whiten teeth could lead to irritation. But if you're eager to have whiter-looking teeth, the toothpastes on this list may be the key. From charcoal-activated toothpastes to ones specially formulated for sensitive teeth, here are seven of the best whitening toothpastes.