While there are a number of at-home products on the market today to help whiten teeth, the most effective and best-looking teeth whitening is done by a cosmetic dentist. However, getting the most from your professional teeth whitening treatment requires more than just an appointment. Following your dentist’s specific instructions for taking care of your teeth post-treatment is imperative if you want your smile to remain looking white and bright.
One of the best ways to maintain your dazzling smile is to avoid foods that can stain your teeth. Some are dangerous only in the days following your whitening, but others are an ever-present risk.
You might not be able to start your day without it, but for obvious reasons, coffee is perhaps the No. 1 beverage to avoid in the short term after having a professional teeth whitening done. In fact, it’s usually the main reason people choose to whiten teeth to begin with. Though the enamel that coats your teeth is one of the hardest substances in your body, it’s not smooth. The surface is full of pits and ridges where the pigments in coffee, called tannins, settle in and take residence, much like they do inside your coffee cup.
Another beverage that can have detrimental effect on your whitening treatment is red wine. While it may offer other supposed health benefits, it’s best to stay away from it as long as possible after your treatment. Just like coffee, it’s the tannins in red wine that leave stains. In addition, red wine is very acidic. That acid etches the enamel on the surface of your teeth, dissolving it and leaving your teeth more susceptible to staining.
For the first week after having your smile brightened, it is a good idea to avoid dark chocolate. While many snack on this delicious treat because of its cavity-fighting properties as well as its lower sugar content compared to milk chocolate, it must be avoided post-whitening. Much like red wine and coffee, tannins are the culprit behind dark chocolate’s teeth-staining properties, so don’t overdo it.
Even some sauces can be damaging to your newly whitened smile. Soy sauce or dark soups are fairly obvious due to their dark color, but surprisingly, tomato sauce can cause staining as well due to its acidity.
Citrus fruits like oranges, limes, lemons and grapefruits may not stain your teeth, but they can cause pain and sensitivity right after teeth whitening. The whitening process involves the use of bleach, causing your teeth and gums to fall into a super sensitive state. Adding acids from citrus to that mix can further inflame the inside of your mouth. And just like red wine, the acids can also etch the surface of your teeth, making staining easier.
While completely ruling all of these foods out of your diet may not be the most feasible option, eating or drinking them in moderation is key, especially right after your whitening treatment. Be mindful of the fact that foods with strong tannin qualities, acidic assets or sugary substances can endanger your bright smile.