Teeth whitening is one of the most affordable cosmetic dental procedures in the world. It’s also extremely popular among people of all ages because it can have a significant impact on the appearance of your smile and level of confidence. One common concern, though, among people who have successfully whitened their teeth is that the effects might not be long lasting. So what should you do, or not do, to maintain your pearly whites for the longest time possible?
After teeth whitening, it is easy to overlook the fact that you are in a post-treatment stage because the procedure is rather simple and straightforward. Some people believe that professional teeth whitening can make your teeth even more discolored. This assumption is based on the idea that people who have used whitening before often require subsequent treatment to maintain the result.
Fact is, your teeth will be more vulnerable to discoloration from foods and beverages with dark color pigments, in the period immediately following your teeth whitening procedure. This is because the dentist uses a high-strength whitening gel while opening the “pores” (or tubules) in your teeth during the teeth-whitening operation. This gel bleaches the tenacious stains on your teeth while penetrating the tooth enamel.
So after the whitening procedure, you must be careful about what you consume, especially for the first couple of days when your teeth are still newly treated for whitening. At this point, these pores will be more susceptible to discoloration.
There are different types of patients who often opt for tooth bleaching including:
- Individuals with yellowed or stained teeth
- Individuals whose outer layer is eroded or stained by medications like tetracycline
- Those whose teeth were subjected to excess fluoride resulting in fluorosis
Before you start your teeth whitening process, it is important that you first schedule a teeth cleaning procedure. This is because the build-up of plaque can limit the success of the whitening process. Plaque is dangerous because it not only contributes to gum disease and tooth decay, but also promotes the accumulation of bacteria and stains that cause your teeth to discolour. Failure to sufficiently remove the plaque will lead to uneven teeth whitening.
While most people are suitable candidates for whitening their natural teeth, the results and duration the effects of whitening last vary from person to person depending on the bleaching method used and carious lifestyle factors. Generally, you can expect the results to last for at least 6 months, and up to 3 years before noticeable discoloration.
Some of the things that may stain your teeth and shorten your whitening results include consuming dark liquids and staining foods, as well as chewing or smoking tobacco products.
What to (not) do after teeth whitening
Many people, who successfully get their teeth whitened by whatever method, often get concerned about getting their teeth stained again. Here are a few things to help you keep your teeth white and bright for longer:
1. Proper Daily Care
The easiest and most effective way to maintain the results of teeth whitening is through proper daily oral hygiene. This includes:
- Brushing and flossing after meals to remove surface stains and any food debris in between your teeth
- Brushing your teeth with toothpaste immediately after consuming sugary, colourful, or acidic items to remove acids and sugars
- Consider using teeth whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes; brushing with baking soda, or cleansing your mouth with a hydrogen peroxide solution
2. Foods to avoid after teeth whitening
The following foods and drinks contain natural or synthetic colors that can accumulate over time and cause teeth discoloration. These foods don’t have to be eliminated from your diet completely. Most dentists advise simply avoiding these items for around two days when your teeth are most sensitive. They include:
Both white and red wines might be bad for your teeth’s color and enamel. Red wine has a high acid content and is likely to leave stains due to its dark hue. Despite its lighter hue, white wine can nonetheless damage enamel.
b. Black tea & Coffee
For a few days, it could be challenging to break your coffee or tea habit, but doing so will help you prevent one of the main sources of stains. Tannins found in coffee and tea can accumulate over time and darken the color of your teeth. When your teeth are most porous, right after a professional whitening, tannins can discolor them much more quickly. After getting your teeth whitened, cut back on your coffee and tea consumption for a few days. If you have to have your morning brew every day, consider drinking it with milk via a straw to reduce contact with your teeth.
c. Soft drinks
You might want to avoid anything that fizzes. The acid and sugar content of carbonated beverages can erode dental enamel. Surface stains can also appear if you take dark-colored colas. Even if you are not on the White Diet, avoiding soft drinks can help you have whiter, healthier teeth.
d. Chocolate and candies
Refined sugars can cause erosion, discolouration, and damage, especially if your teeth are still sensitive from teeth whitening. After your procedure, make sure you stay away from chocolate and candy with artificial colors.
e. Nuts and Fruits
Fruits with dark hues contain a lot of pigments that can discolor your teeth. Fruits that are highly acidic might also cause enamel degradation. Avoiding fruits with dark juices, such as raspberries, cherries, pomegranates, blackberries, and blueberries, may be of assistance. Avoid the juices made from these fruits as well, at least for first 48 hours after teeth whitening. You can include them in your diet later, but make sure to take precautions, such as brushing your teeth immediately after.
Some spices can stain your teeth, like turmeric, curry, cumin, paprika, saffron, and cayenne pepper. So you should avoid them for at least the first 48 hours after whitening.
3. What to eat after teeth whitening
You may need to change your eating habits, as well as some other things that you are used to. Foods that are healthy to eat following teeth whitening are generally white in color, low in acidity, and free of the colors and chemicals that can cause stains, just as the name implies. They include:
a. Fresh, crunchy vegetables and fruits
The White Diet includes a lot of fruits and vegetables that are light in color. Fruits and vegetables like cauliflower, potatoes, and apples, as well as pears, bananas, and bananas, are not only wonderful for your overall health but also for your teeth. Carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, and celery should also be added to your diet to help keep your teeth white. The crunch in these foods stimulates the release of saliva, which makes them natural whiteners.
Apples, in specific, are a great fruit option because they contain malic acid, which is found in many professional and over the counter tooth whitening products, and dissolves stains on your teeth.
b, Chicken, fish, and tofu
Light, lean proteins are ideal after getting your teeth whitened and are generally healthy. Just be careful when using any colorful seasonings or sauces with your meal; stick to white sauces instead.
c. Pasta, bread, and rice
The vast majority of grains are acceptable on the White Diet. Watch out for bread and pasta that contains molasses or food coloring, as these are frequently used to give bread and pasta an unnaturally darker tint that can transfer to your teeth.
d. Yogurt with White Cheese
The best foods for a white diet are simple yogurt and white cheese. Avoid yogurts with added sugar and cheeses that are artificially colored.
The finest beverage for hydration, oral health, and a bright smile is water. Water should be your primary beverage choice while following the White Diet because it has no chance of discoloring your teeth or wearing down your enamel.
4. Things to avoid after teeth whitening
a. Cigarettes and other smoking products
One of the most common causes of teeth darkening is tobacco usage, including cigarette smoke and other forms of tobacco. They pose a greater risk of darkening your teeth immediately following tooth whitening procedures. Patients who use tobacco products often need more frequent touch-ups to their teeth whitening procedure. The easiest way to stop teeth stains if you smoke or chew tobacco is to stop using tobacco products. In addition to prolonging the lifespan of your pearly whites, doing so will help you avoid numerous other health risks associated with smoking.
b. Products for oral hygiene that could cause stains
Some dental hygiene solutions have the unexpected potential to discolor teeth. In the first few days following your teeth whitening process, you might want to avoid using colored toothpaste or mouthwash if you normally do. The dental product may leave stains in the following colors: blue, red, purple, orange, or black (in coal toothpaste). For the greatest outcomes at this time, it would be safe to stick with white or neutral-colored dental items. Fluoride may be something else to check for in your toothpaste during this time. Fluoride aids in sensitivity relief and keeps your teeth looking white.
c. Consuming meals or beverages that are too hot or cold
After having their teeth whitened, many people often make the error of consuming hot or cold foods and beverages. There will likely be some degree of sensitivity following the teeth whitening operation. You ought to stay away from anything that can have really high temperatures at this time. Even lukewarm water may not be tolerated by certain people’s teeth.
Professional cleaning and touch-up treatments
Finally, you should consider getting touch-up treatments every six months, one year, or two, depending on the whitening method used. If you cannot reduce the consumption of colored drinks, like red wines and coffee, you may need to schedule more frequent touch-ups to maintain your pearl whites.