What is the Difference Between Teeth Whitening Toothpaste and Mouthwash?

Are they equally effective?

Doctor Answers 3

Whitening Toothpaste and Mouthwash Help Maintain Your Smile

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There are many whitening products on the market.  If you have whitened or have cosmetic dentistry, there are toothpastes like SuperSmile Toothpaste that help maintain your dentistry.  They work by preventing stain around the cosmetic margins of your dental work and I think they keep whitened teeth whiter.  I do not think they are effective as your only cosmetic whitening treatment.  Hope that helps.

Bellevue Dentist

Whitening toothpastes & mouth rinses are not very effective

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Unfortunately for the people looking for a quick and easy whitening treatment, whitening toothpastes and mouth rinses are not very effective.  In order to whiten teeth, the "contact time" between the tooth and the whitening agent is critical.  Simply brushing or rinsing teeth, even if for a few minutes, is not enough to achieve results.

If you were trying to bleach a dark shirt, you need to soak the shirt in bleach for a relatively long time.  

In a similar fashion, when trying to bleach teeth, the bleaching agent must be in contact with the tooth for a significant amount of time.  The bleaching agent (hydrogen peroxide) is most effectively delivered in a sticky gel which adheres to the tooth.  A toothpaste or mouth rinse does not have the "stickiness" or a high enough peroxide content to be effective.  

A whitening toothpaste can be very abrasive, so we always caution people to not overuse this type of toothpaste as it can actually cause a slight loss of tooth structure.  Anyone with cosmetic dental work, such as bonding, porcelain veneers, or porcelain crowns should also avoid whitening toothpastes because the abrasive ingredients can remove the polished finish.  

Kristen Berning, DDS
Dubuque Dentist

Teeth Whitening and Toothpaste

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When talking aboujt teeth whitening, toothpastes are actually not vedry affective.  What is actually happwning is the tooth paste has "pumice-like_ particles in them which help to remove stain on teeth.  They actually do to whiten teeth as do professional bleaching agents.  In my office at Ponte Vedra Dental, we only used American Dental Association approved products including bleaching products.  Mouthrinses are typically the same as the toothpastes except there is not an associated brushing action. If you have sensitive teeth, whitening toothpastes can make them more sensitive.  The roughness of the toothpastes and the brushing action can cause tooth wear and slight gum recession.  If you are keeping up with your dental cleanings then you should not have a problem.


Keith Blankenship, DDS
Jacksonville Dentist

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These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.