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10 Things to Eat After Teeth Whitening and What to Avoid

Dale King
What To Eat After Teeth Whitening And What To Avoid
Using an at-home teeth whitening kit is a great way to get your pearly whites sparkling and looking their best. Your teeth are more sensitive after being whitened, though, and certain foods are known to stain your teeth more than others.

After investing in a teeth whitening kit, you want to make sure your teeth stay white for as long as possible. For this reason, it’s important to know which foods you should eat and which to avoid. Read on to learn which is which, and how to keep your teeth looking their best and brightest. 

What to avoid after teeth whitening

Here are the main foods and drinks you’ll want to avoid after whitening your teeth: 

1. Coffee or tea—hot and cold

Coffee and teas (especially dark teas, like black tea or chai tea) are known to stain your teeth. In fact, despite its typically lighter color, tea is actually a more powerful staining agent.

After whitening with a kit like Snow or HiSmile, your teeth are also more sensitive to temperatures, which means very hot or cold drinks may be painful to drink in the first few days following teeth whitening, which is another good reason to avoid them. If you can’t imagine getting through the day without your morning tea or coffee, try adding more milk to limit the staining effect, or drink it through a straw.

2. Wine

The acidity of red wine and its dark color make it a high-risk drink for staining tooth enamel - not only immediately after teeth whitening treatments, but in general. While white wine won’t stain teeth, the acidity will weaken tooth enamel, making your pearly whites more vulnerable to other foods that stain.

3. Fruit juices

Like wine, fruit juices contain high levels of acidity. Even light-colored fruit juices should be avoided for this reason. Fruit juice is also packed full of sugar, and the bacteria that cause tooth decay and cavities thrive in sugar-rich environments. 

4. Fizzy drinks

These acidic drinks are full of artificial coloring and best avoided in general, if at all possible. Like fruit juice, they also tend to be very high in sugar. Even white fizzy drinks, like lemon-lime sodas, should be avoided for these reasons. 

5. Dark condiments

Tomato ketchup, balsamic vinegar, and soy sauce all carry risks of staining tooth enamel because of their color and high acidity. Do your best to avoid dark condiments, and even white condiments that are high in acidity, like white vinegar. If this is too tall an order, just remember that it’s not forever, and your patience and restraint will be rewarded with beautiful, white teeth!

6. Dark chocolate

While studies have shown dark chocolate can improve your health and lower the risk of heart disease, it isn't healthy for your teeth immediately after teeth whitening. Try to avoid all chocolate and candies in the 72-hour window.

7. Curry

You can't have failed to notice how curry stains your wooden spoons, pots, and pans, so just imagine what it can do to newly whitened teeth. Avoid curries and the spices that give them their rich colors, like turmeric and paprika. 

8. Dark fruits

Dark berries like blueberries and blackberries should also be avoided due to their dark color and high acidity levels. If you’re really craving dark fruits, blend them with water to make a smoothie and drink them through a straw. 

9. Tobacco

While tobacco isn’t a food or drink, it is a significant cause of tooth discoloration and should be avoided for your health and teeth. If you can't quit for good, refrain from smoking for two to three days following teeth whitening.

10. Beets

If you’ve ever worked with beets in the kitchen, you’ll know how powerful a staining agent they are. Fingers, cutting boards, and dish towels all end up dark purple. The same will happen with your teeth, so beets should be avoided at all costs. 

While giving up some of your favorite foods and beverages may be challenging, remember it’s only for 48-72 hours after whitening your teeth with a home-kit like . After that, most can be taken in moderation. 

Foods you can eat after teeth whitening

The following foods are free from tannins, staining agents, and acids and are primarily white. This means they’re safe to eat in that critical 48-72 hour waiting period after whitening your teeth. 

1. White rice - Rice may seem like a strange option to put at the top of the list of foods you can have after teeth whitening treatments, but it’s exactly what you should be eating. Rice may not feature much in your regular diet, but it’s an excellent choice to help keep your whiter smile staying that way.

Remember the white diet we mentioned earlier on? It’s soft, filling, and easy to chew if your teeth are feeling sensitive - plus, it makes an excellent accompaniment to the meat and fish below. 

2. Chicken and turkey - Both form part of a healthy diet, are light in color and free from acid. Chicken and turkey are incredibly versatile and tasty to eat - not just after teeth whitening, but in general. Be careful not to smother them in spicy tannin or acid-rich sauce. 

3. Light-colored fish - Grilled fish such as haddock, cod, pollock, and bass are fine to eat, but don’t be tempted to add a slice of lemon to squeeze over it, as lemons are acidic. 

4. Cheese - Sure, cheese may get stuck between your teeth, but it shields them from acids. And because it’s rich in calcium, it also helps rebuild weakened enamel. 

5. Natural yogurt - Yogurt is good after teeth whitening if you fancy a tasty snack. Try pouring it over a sliced banana for a nutritious treat. Avoid colored yogurt as this could contribute to stains. 

6. Pasta - This is another good food to eat after teeth whitening, but avoid jazzing it up with green pesto or tomato sauce, which can both cause stains. 

7. Porridge - Go on, add milk to your oats for a delicious hug in a bowl. If you like sugar on your porridge, we suggest you use a sweetener during the 72-hour window to protect your teeth. 

8. Onions - Well, to be specific, white onions. Red onions could stain your tooth enamel.

9. Potatoes - We recommend peeling the potatoes first and only eating regular white versions, which are delicious mashed. 

10. White bread - Perfect for breakfast, but be sure to cut the crusts off to avoid the risk of staining.

Conclusion

Your teeth are at their most vulnerable to staining immediately after whitening. Therefore, it’s essential that you know which foods you can eat after and which to avoid. If food or beverages can stain a white shirt, they can also stain tooth enamel. If you want your smile to remain white for as long as possible, it’s worth adopting the white food diet. 

Other ways to keep your teeth whiter involve maintaining good oral hygiene with regular brushing and flossing. It’s also important to visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and professional cleaning.

Dale King
Dale King has 12+ years' experience as a professional dental writer and has worked with companies like Colgate, Invsalign, and Adin Dental, in addition to dozens of private dental practices. He is the founder of DentalWriters, a group of dental professionals and writing experts dedicate to creating simple, informative articles that help readers better understand how to best care for their teeth.

The author of this article has been paid by Natural Intelligence to write this article. Neither the author nor Natural Intelligence provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or your local emergency number immediately.