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Updated on August 11, 2022

Can You Whiten Your Teeth in One Day?

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Quick Teeth Whitening

Do you wish your smile was brighter? You’re not alone. 80% of Americans aged 18 to 49 want whiter teeth.1 And they’re willing to pay for it. Collectively, they spend over 1 billion dollars on whitening each year.1

There are several options for teeth whitening treatments. But for those of you in a rush for whiter teeth, you’ll want to know which ones are the fastest (and safest). 

top view of wooden tooth brushes and comb

Professional whitening treatment from your dentist will give you the fastest, safest results in one or two sessions. However, it will cost you around $400 to $1,500 per treatment session. 

For those who want to whiten their teeth at home, the options include over-the-counter whitening products and DIY remedies. 

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What Causes Tooth Discoloration?

Here are some common types of tooth discoloration and their causes:

Extrinsic Stains

Extrinsic stains are on the surface of your tooth. They are caused by substances coming in contact with your teeth. Often, plaque will build up on your teeth, giving these substances a sticky surface to stick to.

The most common causes of extrinsic stains are from certain foods and drinks, including:

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Red wine
  • Soda
  • Tomato sauces
  • Curries
  • Berries
  • Apples
  • Potatoes
  • Beets 

This is not a complete list.  Smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco are also common causes of extrinsic stains.  

Extrinsic stains are easier to remove than intrinsic stains. They can be removed via mechanical whitening (i.e. brushing and cleaning your teeth) or chemical whitening.

Intrinsic Stains

Intrinsic staining happens inside the tooth. It can be caused by:

  • Genetics
  • Certain antibiotics
  • Mouth trauma
  • Over-fluoridation
  • Some medical conditions
  • Certain medical treatments such as chemotherapy

Intrinsic staining is harder to get rid of. Chemical whitening is the only way to get rid of this discoloration. 

Worn Enamel (Age-Related)

As you age, the outer layer of enamel on your teeth wears down. This exposes the second layer of your teeth, called dentin. Dentin has a yellowish tint and gives your teeth a discolored appearance. 

Unfortunately, dentin cannot be whitened. If the cause of your discolored teeth is worn enamel, neither mechanical nor chemical whitening will help. You’ll need to explore other cosmetic treatments, such as veneers

5 Ways to Whiten Teeth Quickly at Home

If you want to change the appearance of your teeth quickly, here are some popular options:

1. LED Teeth Whitening Kits

At-home whitening kits are surging in popularity. They are affordable, easy to use, and produce great results in less than two weeks.

These kits include a mouthpiece with LED lights and a whitening gel. Be sure to choose one with a hydrogen or carbamide peroxide-based serum. 

If your teeth are prone to sensitivity, use a lower concentration of hydrogen peroxide (5 percent hydrogen peroxide or 20 percent carbamide peroxide).

If you do not experience sensitivity, or want faster results, use a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide (up to 15 percent hydrogen peroxide or 45 percent carbamide peroxide.

2. Teeth Whitening Strips

Teeth whitening strips are another affordable and effective at-home whitening treatment. If used correctly, they are safe and produce minimal side effects.11, 12, 13 

Whitestrips are made from a thin, flexible plastic coated with a tooth bleaching agent. They are less expensive than LED whitening kits.

However, we recommend LED kits because whitening strips are difficult to place on your teeth. They cannot cover the tight spaces between your teeth. This can result in uneven whitening results.

3. Whitening Toothpastes

Whitening toothpastes with an ADA Seal of Acceptance can help remove extrinsic (surface) stains from your teeth.14

However, they do not remove intrinsic stains and are much less effective than LED kits, whitening strips, and in-office treatment. 

4. Whitening Mouthwashes

Whitening mouthwashes containing hydrogen peroxide can also help remove or prevent extrinsic stains. However, they are not as effective as LED kits, whitening strips, and in-office treatment.14, 15 

Whitening toothpastes are best used in addition to another whitening method such as an LED whitening kit, whitening strips, or in-office treatment to help prevent new stains on your teeth.

Read our review of the 9 Best Teeth Whitening Products.

5. DIY Baking Soda Paste

Baking soda-based pastes are effective and safe for tooth stain removal and whitening. Many clinical studies have shown that baking soda pastes are more effective in stain removal than some highly abrasive, non–baking soda whitening mixtures.5

Mix 1 tablespoon baking soda with 1 tablespoon of water, and then apply it to your teeth with a toothbrush. Leave it on for 2 to 3 minutes. Rinse your mouth thoroughly. Your teeth should look brighter.

Note: Baking soda can only remove superficial stains (extrinsic). Deeper stains (intrinsic) typically require professional teeth whitening. 

Other DIY Teeth Whitening Methods

The majority of DIY whitening home remedies lack any scientific backing. Most of the “evidence” is anecdotal, meaning someone has shared their personal experience. This is an opinion, which is not the same as scientific evidence. 

DIY home whitening remedies that do not have any scientific evidence supporting their effectiveness include:

Can You Whiten Your Teeth in One Day?

The best, safest, and most effective way to whiten your teeth in one day is with professional teeth whitening treatment. Some options include:

  1. Zoom! Chairside whitens teeth quickly and effectively (up to 90% of their maximum brightness). This office whitening treatment is also FDA-approved and takes one hour to complete. 
  2. Opalescence Boost uses a chemically activated gel to brighten teeth within one hour. This treatment does not involve using a light to speed up the whitening process. 
  3. KöR Whitening uses a refrigerated, high-potency gel. This gel is combined with a scientifically designed application system to deliver visibly whiter teeth after just one use. KöR also claims to provide less tooth sensitivity than leading brands like Zoom.
  4. Sapphire Teeth Whitening is a quick, easy, and pain-free experience that takes about 15 minutes to set up. The entire whitening process only takes an hour. 

While these treatments are effective and produce instant results, they are expensive (up to $1,000 per treatment). However, you only need to undergo professional whitening every six months to a year.

Summary

Professional in-office whitening treatment is the only way to see significant whitening results in one day.

At-home whitening treatments, including LED whitening kits and whitening strips, will give you the same results as professional treatment, but it will take up to two weeks to see significant results

Whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes are best used as a preventative treatment once you have achieved your desired whitening results.

DIY treatments such as charcoal, acidic fruits, vinegar, fruit peels, and coconut oil have no scientific research behind them and aren't recommended.

Baking soda may have whitening effects but is not as effective as hydrogen or carbamide peroxide.

15 Sources Cited
Last updated on August 11, 2022
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Takesh, Thair, et al. “Effects of a Novel Whitening Formulation on Dental Enamel.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Apr. 2017. 
  2. Zekonis, Ruta, et al. “Clinical Evaluation of in-Office and at-Home Bleaching Treatments.” Operative Dentistry, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2003.
  3. Basting, RT, et al. “Clinical Comparative Study of the Effectiveness of and Tooth Sensitivity to 10% and 20% Carbamide Peroxide Home-Use and 35% and 38% Hydrogen Peroxide In-Office Bleaching Materials Containing Desensitizing Agents.” Operative Dentistry, Allen Press, 1 Sept. 2012.
  4. Mokhlis, G R, et al. “A Clinical Evaluation of Carbamide Peroxide and Hydrogen Peroxide Whitening Agents during Daytime Use.” Journal of the American Dental Association, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Sept. 2000.
  5. Féliz-Matos, Leandro, et al. “Dental Bleaching Techniques; Hydrogen-Carbamide Peroxides and Light Sources for Activation, an Update. Mini Review Article.” The Open Dentistry Journal, Bentham Open, 6 Jan. 2015.
  6. Heymann, H O. “Tooth Whitening: Facts and Fallacies.” Nature News, British Dental Journal, 23 Apr. 2005. 
  7. Gerlach, RW, et al. “A Randomized Clinical Trial Comparing a Novel 5.3% Hydrogen Peroxide Whitening Strip to 10%, 15%, and 20% Carbamide Peroxide Tray-Based Bleaching Systems.” Compendium of Continuing Education in Dentistry, Europe PMC. 
  8. Li, Yiming. “Stain Removal and Whitening by Baking Soda Dentifrice: A Review of Literature.” The Journal of the American Dental Association, Elsevier, 19 Oct. 2017.
  9. Ghassemi, A, et al. “Effectiveness of a New Dentifrice with Baking Soda and Peroxide in Removing Extrinsic Stain and Whitening Teeth.” Europe PMC, The Journal of Clinical Dentistry, 1 Jan. 2012.
  10. Kleber, CJ, et al. “In Vitro Tooth Whitening by a Sodium Bicarbonate/Peroxide Dentifrice.” Europe PMC, The Journal of Clinical Dentistry, 1 Jan. 1998. 
  11. Gerlach, Robert W., and Paul A. Sagel. “Vital Bleaching with a Thin Peroxide Gel: The Safety and Efficacy of a Professional-Strength Hydrogen Peroxide Whitening Strip.” The Journal of the American Dental Association, Elsevier, 30 Dec. 2014. 
  12. Oliveira, Gustavo M., et al. “Safety and Efficacy of a High-Adhesion Whitening Strip under Extended Wear Regimen.” Journal of Dentistry, Elsevier, 7 Dec. 2012.
  13. Kugel, G, and S Kastali. “Tooth-Whitening Efficacy and Safety: a Randomized and Controlled Clinical Trial.” Europe PMC, Compendium of Continuing Education in Dentistry, Jan. 2000.
  14. Department of Scientific Information, Evidence Synthesis & Translation Research, ADA Science & Research Institute, LLC. “WhiteningOral Health Topics, American Dental Association, 30 Oct. 2020. 
  15. Karadas, Muhammet, and Omer Hatipoglu. “Efficacy of Mouthwashes Containing Hydrogen Peroxide on Tooth Whitening.” The Scientific World Journal, Hindawi, 30 July 2015.
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