It seems like cosmetic dental teeth whitening has become increasingly popular in recent years. A newer study by Insight Partners forecasts the teeth whitening market will grow to an estimated value of $8.8 billion by 2028. And, according to information provided by Statista about 37 million Americans used teeth whiteners in 2020 alone. So yeah, if you are thinking of getting your teeth whitened, you are not alone!
As you know, choosing to brighten up your smile is likely not a free procedure from your dentist. To ensure that you get the most out of your teeth whitening treatment, it is crucial to be aware of what you eat and drink after for a specified time as certain foods and beverages can potentially cause staining, discoloration and enamel erosion.
This post does not give a specific timeframe on how long you should try to avoid specific foods after the procedure. It is important to follow your dentist’s post-treatment guidelines. With that being said, in this article, we will explore some of the foods to avoid right after teeth whitening, the reasons behind them as well as provide some suggestions of foods to enjoy right after.
Let’s get into it!
Foods NOT TO EAT After Teeth Whitening
The foods and beverages to avoid after teeth whitening are broken up into categories. Now, a lot of these foods are filled with a ton of nutrients that help support strong teeth and gums as well as overall health too. Plus, some foods are more on the less nutritious side of things.
However, the foods discussed in this section are just suggested to avoid during a specific timeframe following the teeth whitening procedure to get the maximum benefit of professional whitening. Since many of these drinks and foods are chock full of nutrition, provide satisfaction and enjoyment and factors to a healthy balanced lifestyle, please don’t feel you need to avoid them for good.
Beverages With Tannins
Tannins are polyphenols. Polyphenols are a type of antioxidant that benefits our health in several ways, specifically, polyphenols may manage or reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases. For a deeper dive into tannins, refer to Dental Meal Plans other blog post “Is Coffee Bad For Your Teeth?“. (To learn even more about polyphenols check out the Colorado State link in the additional sources section)
However, the foods discussed in this section are just suggested to avoid during a specific timeframe following the teeth whitening procedure in order to get the maximum benefit of the professional whitening. Since many of these drinks and foods are chock full of nutrition and factors to a healthy balanced lifestyle, please don’t feel you need to avoid them for good.
Beverages with tannins:
- Red Wine
- Some Beers
- Coca Cola
Dark-colored beverages tend to contain pigment. These pigments could adhere to the surface of your teeth or get stuck on indents, tiny cracks or pits in your teeth and cause discoloration.
Here are dark-colored beverages to avoid:
- Dark Teas
- Fruit drinks such as pomegranate juice, grape juice, cranberry juice, cherry juice
- Alcohols such as whiskey, cognac, brandy
- Dark-colored sports drinks
Dark-Colored Fruits and Vegetables
Just like dark-colored beverages, dark-colored fruits and vegetables also contain pigments that could stain your teeth.
Additionally, just like tannins, the pigments that contribute to red, blue and purple vegetables and fruits specifically is called anthocyanin and it too is an antioxidant. Anthocyanin is a type of antioxidant called a flavanoid that may have anti-diabetic, anti-inflammation and anti-microbial effects. If interested about the science of anthocyanin, links to two studies can be found in the additional sources section.
Try avoiding these dark colored fruits and vegetables:
- Purple Cabbage
- Purple Onions
- Purple Potatoes
- Passion Fruit
Dark-Colored Sauces and Condiments
Dark-colored sauces and condiments can contain natural as well as food-additive ingredients that cause these items to be dark and could contribute to staining teeth. Although they add a great, tasty addition to meals and snacks try to omit these following teeth whitening.
Here are some dark-colored sauces and condiments:
- Soy Sauce
- Tamari Sauce
- Maple Syrup
- Pancake or Waffle Syrup
- Agave Syrup
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Balsamic Dressing
- Peanut Sauce
- Sesame Dressing
Foods and Drinks High in Added Sugars
Sugar-filled foods and drinks can wreak havoc on your teeth and mouth health in general. This can happen because sugars can stick to enamel (the surface of the teeth) and can cause enamel to break down, tooth decay, cavities and discoloration. The more sugar in something the higher potential it has to contribute to teeth problems.
Try reducing high added sugar intake during this time, by avoiding foods and drinks such as:
- Ice Cream
- Regular Sodas
- Fruit Juices
- Juice Boxes
- Sports Drinks
- Energy Drinks
Acidic Foods and Drinks
Just like foods and drinks high in added sugar, acidic foods and drinks can erode enamel and be a factor in developing tooth decay, cavities and discoloration. Acidic beverages and foods are items that are considered to have a low pH. Regular consumption of them over time not only can harm teeth, but they could contribute to bad breath and gum disease. For more details on the pH of foods and how they help or hurt dental health, please refer to another Dental Meal Plan article “Alkaline Acidic Food Chart: See The pH of Foods“.
Provided below are some examples of highly acidic foods and drinks:
- Tomato Juice
- Carbonated or Sparkling Water
- Energy Drinks
- Fruit Juices
- Chia Seeds
For A Complete List, See The Image Below
Foods TO EAT After Teeth Whitening
With all the foods to avoid right after teeth whitening, it may feel like there isn’t much left to enjoy. But, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Although during the post-whitening time, you may be more limited on what to consume, there are still plenty of options. In general, during this time try to follow a “white diet”.
What it means to follow a white diet is to eat foods that are white, clear or have a white hue. These foods tend not to have a lot of added sugars, have a higher pH (meaning they are lower in acid), are free from tannins and are not filled with dark colorants. Overall, these foods are likely less harsh on your teeth during the recovery time.
Look forward to enjoying white foods such as these:
- Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
- Boneless, Skinless Turkey
- White Rice
- White Onions
- Egg Whites
- Albacore Tuna
- Plain Greek Yogurt
- White Bread
- Rice Cakes
- Chickpea Pasta
- Water Chestnuts
- Bone Broth
- White Teas
- White Cheeses like feta, fresh mozzarella or white cheddar
- Cottage Cheese
And to put it altogether, here’s a sample “white diet” one day meal plan
- Scrambled egg whites made with a splash of kefir and mixed with feta and white cheddar cheeses
- Side of roasted or sauteed white potatoes
- A banana
- White rice with melted cheese
- Bone broth
- Baked cod
- Roasted cauliflower
- Side pasta with extra virgin olive oil
- Cottage cheese with sliced banana
- Bone broth
- Roasted chicken breast
- Mashed white potatoes with white cheese mixed in
- Roasted cauliflower
- White herbal tea
- A glass of milk
- Rice cakes
For a list of white diet foods and sample white diet one day meal plan, see the image below
Brightening your smile can not only make your teeth pop in pictures, but it can also increase confidence and self-esteem. Feeling good inside and out is so important on several levels. So, to keep these good vibes and pearly whites strong and beautiful for a long time, please follow your dentist’s instructions and try to stick to white foods, while avoiding the specified foods for as long as you are advised to.
As a reminder, the foods to avoid during this short time are filled with nutrients vital for oral and overall health, there’s no need to omit them from your diet forever. As always, as a registered dietitian specializing in dental health, I am here to support your dental nutrition needs. Any questions or for more information on how I may be able to help you please reach out to me via the contact page.
Cheers To Nourishing Bright, White Smiles