5 Things and Foods to Avoid After Teeth Whitening

Things to avoid after teeth whitening treatment
24 May 2019

5 Things and Foods to Avoid After Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is a fast, safe and effective way of getting better-looking teeth. However, to ensure the best possible results, some precautions have to be taken. For example, there are certain foods that you should avoid after teeth whitening.

Immediately after teeth whitening, teeth are more prone to staining, for up to a good 24 hours. This is true for both in-clinic teeth whitening and at-home teeth whitening procedures. Not surprisingly, items that normally cause staining will be able to do their life’s work in that small, post-whitening window.

Here are some examples of things to avoid after teeth whitening.

  • Coffee and tea
  • Red wine
  • Dark sauces
  • Chocolate
  • Tobacco

When in doubt, avoid anything that would ruin a crisp shirt. Let’s dive in deeper and see why we should avoid the mentioned foods after teeth whitening.

1. Coffee and Tea

Coffee and tea are the staining fraternity’s most notorious duo. Avoid them at all costs during the first 24 hours after teeth whitening when the teeth are the most vulnerable towards stains, even if it means droopy eyelids at work. This is because coffee and tea contain tannins, an organic substance that can stain your teeth yellow.

There are no alternatives for coffee and tea, including white coffee, of course.

2. Red Wine

Red wine is the number one teeth stainer, especially if it is big, bold and tannic. Remember, big and bold also equals to big and bold stains. Overall, we should be avoiding red-coloured foods and drinks altogether.

Such is the potency, that we even have to avoid fruits commonly used to describe red wines. Think blackberries, currants, etc. These dark berries have powerful pigments that can quickly darken teeth.

Alternatives to Red Wine: enjoy a white wine instead. White wine is comparatively less invasive when it comes to staining the teeth.

3. Dark Sauces

This rather broad category encompasses anything from the blacker-than-black Asian black sauce, to a comparatively benign ragu bolognese, and everything in between.

Curries deserve an honourable mention here, as they often contain ingredients like turmeric, which readily imparts colour and might stain the teeth after teeth whitening.

Alternatives to Dark Sauces/Curries: Chow down on a safe meal like white bee hoon or pasta alfredo.

4. Chocolate

Chocolate bars, powder, ice cream, and fountains? Just say no. Happiness can wait. You should avoid dark foods like chocolate after whitening your teeth. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to enjoy your favourite dessert again after a few days of abstaining.

There are no alternatives for chocolate. But if you’re craving a sweet snack after teeth whitening, consider cheesecake or vanilla ice cream instead.

5. Tobacco

Smoking is generally bad for your oral health, and it can ruin a newly-whitened smile. This includes cigarettes and all other forms of tobacco. Nicotine and tar from tobacco products easily mix with saliva and darken the teeth.

The alternatives for smoking after teeth whitening are vaping and e-cigarettes can be less staining for your teeth (but they are still potentially bad for your health).

Read more: How to Maintain Healthy Teeth if You Smoke

Enjoy your pearly-whites for as long as possible by avoiding these 5 foods, especially in the first few days. Should any of these be consumed/used inadvertently, rinse out immediately, have a good brush, and say a little prayer.

What to Eat After Teeth Whitening?

Before we end the article, here are some of the foods that you can eat after teeth whitening:

  • Mashed potatoes
  • White rice and bread
  • Apples, cucumbers and pears (with skin peeled)
  • Cauliflowers
  • Celery
  • Cheese and milk
  • Skinless chicken

If you’re looking to whiten your smile, see one of our friendly dentists today

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About Author


Dr Jonathan Liu

Dr Liu graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor’s degree in dentistry in 1998 and has since been in full-time private practice. His focus of practice lies in aesthetic dentistry, root canal treatment, and minor oral surgery.

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