Whitening Toothpaste: Does the ADA Seal of Acceptance Matter?

Tooth Character

While plenty of toothpaste manufacturers use the term “whitening” quite loosely, many toothpastes don’t actually do much to whiten the teeth. So don’t venture on out to the supermarket and pick up any old container of toothpaste that is touted for its whitening capabilities and think that it will make your teeth as white as snow.

Thankfully, you don’t have to conduct hours of research to figure out which toothpastes are legitimate whiteners. The American Dental Association has done the work for you. Check out the ADA Seal of Acceptance programto find out which toothpastes really have polishing and chemical agents that will make your teeth nice and white. The ADA has invested significant time, effort and resources into studying all of the toothpastes on the market to find out which really remove surface stains.

The ADA’s Seal of Acceptance program is the result of two decades worth of monitoring various tooth-whitening products. This market has absolutely exploded in recent years, so it is quite helpful to have a watchdog group oversee all of the activity to determine which toothpastes really live up to their claims. Plenty of toothpastes do not have the ability to gently polish or provide chemical chelation or other non-bleaching actions that whiten teeth. Only opt for those that are recommended by your dentist and carry the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

In a nutshell, the term “whitening” means a process that makes teeth look whiter. Toothpastes use either bleach or non-bleaching agents to accomplish this. Bleach alters the natural color of teeth with peroxide, which removes surface stains as well as stains that have settled deeply into the teeth. Non-bleaching agents cause a chemical or physical action that removes the surface stains along teeth.


Whitening products can be distributed by dentists for use at home, applied by dentists in a dental office or bought over the counter. It is prudent to wait for a one-on-one consultation with your kids’ dentist before you choose your children’s whitening toothpaste. The same is true for adult patients. A dentist’s input is especially valuable to patients who have egregiously dark stains, crowns and fillings. The dentist will advise whether bleaching is appropriate and will also help determine a properly sequenced treatment plan.

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