Professional whitening procedures do not permanently whiten teeth. If you don’t watch what you consume after your treatment, certain foods and beverages can cause your teeth to fade in brightness. Some foods even cause further staining.
According to a recent study, Americans spend over sixty billion dollars on teeth whitening procedures per year. Luckily, there are tips and tricks available to help preserve this investment.
Important considerations after your whitening treatment include time, consumption, and oral hygiene practices. If you take into account the important considerations, you will see the desired benefits of your professional whitening procedure.
It is recommended to avoid heavily staining and acidic foods (like blueberries) and drinks for a few days after your whitening procedure. Waiting to consume staining foods will help maintain the effectiveness of the whitening procedure.
Whitening agents penetrate the tubules in your enamel and continue to work their magic in the week following your procedure. Maintaining a diet low in acidic beverages increases the efficacy of the whitening agents.
Depending on the nature of the stain on teeth, their condition and the concentration of the whitening agents used, the degree of whiteness for your teeth will vary after the procedure.
To effectively prolong or enhance your desired result, waiting for up to a week to consume staining foods and beverages is recommended.
What should you wait to consume? The main items include acidic foods and beverages.
These foods penetrate your teeth and can cause different types of hard to remove stains to reappear.
Some acidic beverages include:
- Red Wine
- Fruit juice
- Soy sauce
If you can’t avoid these foods altogether, brush or rinse immediately after consuming them. Stain-causing foods and beverages decrease in efficacy when you rinse your mouth with neutral water after consumption.
Removing the stain-causing agent as fast as you can help reduce the impact on your whitened smile.
Different habits produce different stains on teeth. Yellow and brown staining is often caused by acidic foods and beverages mentioned above. By cutting out these acidic foods early in the process, the stains can be avoided.
Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol often produce a gray stain on the surface of teeth. Steering clear of these products will ensure that the hardest-to-remove stains don’t appear on your smile.
If you truly cannot avoid these foods, consider using a straw to avoid direct contact with teeth. This can reduce the amount of time acidic foods and beverages stay in your mouth and have an opportunity to stain.
Straws are available at most eating establishments and are a quick fix for dining after a teeth whitening procedure.
It’s important to avoid very hot or cold drinks as well. These can damage your smile because they change the temperature of your teeth. A hot temperature change causes teeth to expand, and a cold temperature change causes teeth to contract.
This cycling allows stains to more easily penetrate your teeth. It’s recommended that you try to avoid these drinks in the days following your whitening procedure as well.
Learn More: How to Strengthen Your Teeth
Good Oral Hygiene
A large part of having good oral hygiene after a whitening procedure is avoiding the foods and beverages mentioned above. Following a morning and nighttime routine that includes brushing for three minutes, flossing and mouthwash are the basics.
You should also follow the guidelines above by avoiding stain-causing foods or taking alternative measures to reduce their impact.
If you notice staining and want something a bit stronger to brush your teeth with, consider asking your dentist or pharmacist for a high fluoride-containing toothpaste. This type of toothpaste strengthens your enamel and makes your teeth more resistant to staining.
Dr. Marc Lazare, teeth whitening expert in NYC, elaborates a little more on the lack of efficacy of certain whitening products and how they compare to quality teeth whitening treatment.
A follow up with your dentist can help identify any issues after your whitening treatment. Because it is a chemical treatment, teeth whitening can cause irritation to your gums. Including a follow up with your dentist can help you deal with any possible irritation as soon as it occurs.
If you find you already have irritation before your follow up appointment, consider using a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. These products are often softer on the gum line and provide soothing relief.
If you can’t avoid consuming particular foods, you may consider touch-up treatments. Depending on the type of treatment you chose, you may need a touch up if you smoke or drink a lot of acidic beverages.
This can be an integral part of ensuring your smile stays as healthy and white as you desire. Because touch-ups are less expensive, they can be a beneficial option for those who need more assistance in maintaining a striking smile.
If you take into consideration waiting and watching what you consume, along with good oral hygiene practices, you increase the benefits of your teeth whitening procedure.
Additional Information: Dental Hygiene Tips That You Must Absolutely Know About
Benefits of Teeth Whitening Procedures
If your teeth have become discolored due to natural processes or acidic food consumption, a professional teeth whitening procedure can give you an excellent chance at a more youthful smile.
A bleaching treatment can be performed in-office and can also be paired with prescribed at-home whitening treatments.
A huge benefit of professional whitening is that the dentist can target the type of stain you have and help work with you to create a customized whitening plan.
There are few adverse effects as well, contrary to popular misconceptions. A recent study reported that at a seven-year follow-up, no individual who used a tooth whitening system needed a root canal procedure on any whitening tooth.
This indicates the efficacy of the whitening procedure and its safety long-term.
Waiting to consume stain-causing foods and beverages helps to maintain your smile and the whiteness of your teeth.
The benefits of maintaining good oral hygiene and continuing to consult your dentist will ensure that the results of the teeth whitening procedure are long-term and as satisfactory as possible.