Teeth whitening is a minimally invasive procedure that involves the application of a whitening agent that works to lighten your natural teeth. The whitening gel breaks down the discoloured molecules in the teeth, refreshing your smile quickly and effectively. Many tooth whitening patients that leave our surgery at Ringway Dental are pleasantly surprised with their results – and they ask us: How can I make this last?
For a long-lasting smile, there are some aftercare tips we recommend you follow in order to maintain these results. Specifically, many of these involve understanding what you can and can’t eat after teeth whitening.
For the first 3 days and during the whitening process, your teeth will be particularly susceptible to staining. During this time (and beyond), it’s best to avoid any colourful foods and drinks that might leave a mark. So, what can you eat after teeth whitening?
Our guide to what you can eat after teeth whitening has been developed so you have the answers to these questions.
First and foremost, it is important to avoid any food and drink with strongly pigmented colours. These are likely to stain your freshly whitened teeth.
Many of these foods will inevitably stain the natural tooth enamel when consumed anyway. That’s without the additional vulnerability that comes with the first few days after whitening, when your teeth are more susceptible to absorbing pigment.
A general rule of thumb is to think of your teeth like a white shirt – or some other relatively absorbent surface. Would the food you’re eating stain that shirt? If the answer is yes, you should avoid it immediately after your teeth whitening. Your teeth are effectively more like a sponge during and right after the whitening procedure.
A few examples of foods and drinks to avoid after teeth whitening include:
You can’t beat a glass of red or a pint of beer on a Friday night after a long week. But if you’ve just had your teeth whitened, it’s worth switching to something else. Red wine is a fairly obvious addition to this list, as it contains certain natural dyes and acids that can alter the colour of our teeth…But what about beer?
Darker beers will stain your teeth more, so try to opt for something lighter for the time being. If you do want to drink alcohol that can potentially stain your teeth later, make sure you flush residue with water after each sip.
We need our coffees in the morning, but they can stain our teeth. The dark pigments in coffee beans and granules do make contact with our teeth as we drink them, which can cause staining.
Smoothies are healthy, and an efficient way to consume plenty of vitamins in one go. However, it’s easy to forget these ingredients are bright, colourful vegetables that have their own natural pigments. While boosting your health, you may be staining your new teeth.
If you do still wish to enjoy some of the drinks within this list, using a straw after the immediate period post-treatment can help prevent direct contact between the substance and the front of your teeth.
Tomatoes are so versatile, they’re used in plenty of recipes – in both foods and drinks. But they do stain. Tomatoes are also very acidic, so their ‘staining power’ is somewhat increased. Try to limit your intake of tomato-based sauces and smoothies for a week or so after you have your teeth whitened.
We all know berries are healthy antioxidants that flush toxins from the body. However, it’s worth weighing up the pros and cons before indulging in a berry-based breakfast right after you have had a tooth whitening treatment.
Spinach and beets are some of the tastiest additions to a salad – but they are also used as natural dyes. Just one slice of beetroot can turn an entire salad pink. If you expose your teeth to this in their most vulnerable stages of absorption, the results may fade quicker than you imagined.
Variety is the spice of life – and spicing up our food to add variety is a must. However, many spices can incidentally stain and leave residue on teeth. Turmeric especially. Consider avoiding heavily-spiced foods or curries after whitening. They may look relatively ‘safe’, but these pigments do leave their mark.
Red meats do, often, however unsavoury it sounds, contain traces of blood. This can stain your teeth without even knowing you have eaten something that can contribute to discolouration. Steak is one to watch out for right after you’ve had your teeth whitened.
Is that all? Remember, this is not an exhaustive list! The key point to consider when eating or drinking after you’ve had your teeth whitened is to be mindful of what you consume, and how you consume it. You don’t need to avoid
In addition to pigmented food and drink, it is also vital to avoid acidic, greasy, and sugary foods. The whitening process weakens the tubules (pores) of your teeth which would only be further weakened by sugary and acidic foods. This can potentially cause decay-causing bacteria which can result in irritation and staining.
Some examples of these foods to avoid after whitening include:
Maintaining oral hygiene should aid in preventing damage from the above foods post-whitening (after the initial post-treatment period). Using an electric toothbrush and brushing after every meal, for example, helps brush away surface stains before they can settle in. It helps to remove any food debris and acids left on your teeth that can damage the enamel.
Overall, it is generally best to avoid these foods and stick to white or lighter foods that contain less sugar. This is recommended for the first few days after the procedure. After the initial two to three-day period post-treatment, the pores of the teeth will begin to ‘close’. This means you can start eating and drinking as usual!
However, it would benefit your dental health further if you could commit to maintaining some of these eating habits long-term.
Generally, it is best to focus on eating foods that are light in colour when considering meals after having your teeth whitened. Think of it like introducing a bright red pigment (red wine or beetroot) to a freshly poured amount of white paint. Even the slightest amount of that added pigment will alter the colour of the paint. It may not be too noticeable at first, but gradually the impact will deepen.
White and lighter foods that lack acidity and strong pigments are best during the first few days post whitening to avoid teeth staining or damage while they’re in such a vulnerable state. Below are a few suggestions:
Teeth whitening is a simple and safe procedure that can have a massively positive effect on our confidence and appearance. However, there is no magic treatment that will retain these impressive effects if we don’t consider our eating and drinking habits – as well as how these are reflected in our teeth.
The process of having our teeth whitened can be rewarding, in terms of body image and enjoying that sense of self-care. It’s worth knowing how you can prolong the results of your treatment so you can enjoy the enhanced confidence you feel for longer.
At Ringway Dental, we believe in delivering positive dental experiences. Not only for patients that leave the surgery pleased with their treatments, but also for those visiting us for regular check-ups. We have skilfully combined our team’s general and cosmetic dentistry expertise to cultivate a welcoming practice – right in the heart of Greater Manchester.
Our commitment to delivering positive dental experiences aims to work beyond restrictions. We think equality matters, and our dedication in providing dental health to all is brought to life by our 0% finance option. Finances shouldn’t be a barrier to great dental care, and this is something we firmly believe at Ringway Dental.
Whatever your concerns about teeth whitening or treatments involve, we can help. If you are interested in teeth whitening in Manchester, get in touch with our team. You can call us on 0161 437 2029. Our online contact form is another useful option if you’d like to ask any questions.