I'm a dental hygienist. Whitening toothpastes are designed to maintain the whiteness after you have had a professional whitening done - they will not lift color.
Baking soda is very abrasive and will only remove surface stains - it can damage tissue too - I can achieve the same results by cleaning a patients teeth and not causing damage.
Whitening strips work but may take many treatments to bring the shade up. If you have tooth colored fillings or crowns none of these methods are going to work.
Most people that whiten need to do periodic touch ups to maintain the whiteness. They usually purchase the products from the dental office.
Professional products are much stronger than over the counter products. If not used properly they can cause damage to surrounding tissue.
at 7:41 AM on Apr. 29, 2009