Undergoing a teeth whitening process is a great way to transform your smile, giving you lighter, brighter teeth and more self-confidence every time you show off those pearly whites. However, in order to get the best results out of the process, you need to be careful with what you eat.
Certain foods could undo part of the whitening process and re-stain or irritate your teeth. So, in the short period after whitening, it's best to monitor your diet and choose your foods with care. In this guide, we’ll cover several foods you can eat and those you should avoid after teeth whitening.
Why and How Long Wait to Eat After Teeth Whitening?
Why do you need to be so careful with the things you eat after having your teeth whitened? Well, there are several reasons to this, and in order to understand the risk, you have to understand how teeth whitening typically works. So, let’s first take a quick look at what the process involves and what it actually does to your teeth.
A lot of whitening treatments will involve the use of hydrogen peroxide which bleaches the stained areas of the teeth to lighten them up and make the stains fade away. This is a safe and effective method, but it can also make your teeth more sensitive by temporarily exposing part of the teeth called dentin, which is the secondary layer that sits underneath the enamel.
Enamel is like the outer shield of each tooth, guarding it against decay and other problems, and the dentin layer underneath tends to be more sensitive and at-risk of bacteria and erosion. When you undergo whitening the dentin may be exposed for a little while, and if you eat certain foods or drinks during that time, you may find that your teeth feel more sensitive than usual.
This can lead to unpleasant sensations. Not only that, but certain foods or drinks may stain the dentin and undo a lot of the whitening process, leaving you with teeth that are a lot less whiter and brighter than you expected. This might mean that you have to have another whitening treatment all over again, which can cost more money and leave you frustrated.
Foods to Avoid After Teeth Whitening
In order to give your teeth time to recover after the teeth whitening procedure with minimal risk of any unwanted sensitivity or staining, it's best to avoid the following foods for around 48 to 72 hours after the treatment.
- 1. Coffee - Coffee is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to staining teeth and causing yellowness and discoloration. It may be tough to forego your usual cup of joe, but it's best to avoid this drink, if you can. If you insist on drinking coffee, try to make it milky to reduce the risk of stains, and try to limit yourself to 1/2 cups per day, maximum.
- 2. Tea - Tea is just as bad, if not worse, than coffee when it comes to staining teeth. Black tea, in particular, can be a very undesirable drink to consume after a tooth whitening procedure.
- 3. Red Wine - Red wine can also stain teeth quite badly, even when teeth are in their healthiest and strongest state. After a whitening procedure, with weakened enamel and exposed dentin, there's a very high risk of staining.
- 4. Dark Sauces - In general, you’ll want to avoid any foods that are particularly dark in color. Such foods may have a mixture of natural or artificial coloring that can stain your teeth. Examples include tomato ketchup, soy sauce, and certain pasta sauces, too.
- 5. Dark Fruits - Fruit might seem like a healthy and smart choice to eat, but a lot of fruits can contain strong acids that may damage your dentin and lead to sensitivity. Plus, dark fruits like berries and cherries can also cause staining. So, try to avoid them.
- 6. Candy and Chocolate - You might feel like enjoying a sweet treat after your tooth whitening treatment, but it’s best to avoid any candy, chocolate, and other sugary products, like cookies and cakes, for a little while. Too much sugar can cause tooth decay, and decay is faster when the dentin is exposed after a whitening session.
Food You Can Eat After Teeth Whitening
Fortunately, even though there are several foods and drinks to avoid after tooth whitening, there are still plenty of tasty and healthy things you can eat and drink that won’t pose much or any risk to your teeth. Here are some key ingredients to include in your post-whitening diet:
- 1. Lean Meats - If you're a meat-eater, try to focus on lean meats like chicken and turkey after your procedure. Darker meats, like beef, may cause stains, but light and lean poultry shouldn't cause any problems.
- 2. Fish - Fish also works well as a post-whitening food to enjoy. Focus on white and lightly-colored fish, as darker varieties of fish can cause some stains on your dentin layer.
- 3. Dairy Products - Most dairy products are safe and useful to eat after tooth whitening. You can eat most cheeses, for example, especially white cheese, and yogurt is also a terrific choice to boost your calcium levels. Again, try to focus on light yogurts, rather than those with deep red colorings or fruits mixed in.
- 4. Pasta - Pasta is fine to eat after teeth whitening, too. It's a good source of energy to keep you feeling full and active, even when your diet is restricted. Just be careful to avoid mixing your pasta with any dark or rich sauces.
- 5. Bread - You can also enjoy bread after your treatment, and it's easy to make safe sandwiches with light and white ingredients, like white bread, light cheese, white onions, eggs, and so on.
Follow the Right Diet to Avoid Any Complications
As we can see, it’s crucial to choose your food and drinks carefully after teeth whitening. It can be a little frustrating to avoid some of your favorite foods and drinks, but it’s only for a few days, and it will massively help you get the best value and most impressive results from your tooth whitening procedure.