Aftercare of teeth whitening

Many people are looking into teeth whitening to brighten up their smile in a conservative, non-invasive way.

Having white teeth has become almost an obsession in today’s culture – new methods and gadgets are popping up frequently on social media and more emphasis is being placed on good looks and selfie culture.

However, keep in mind that different whitening procedures will vary in price, effectiveness, longevity, and most importantly, safety.

So, please consult with a dental professional first before going ahead. Also, keep in mind that what you do after teeth whitening will also determine how long the ‘white’ effect lasts.

Common teeth whitening methods

To recap, the more popular ways to brighten up a smile non-invasively today include:

  • Stain removal toothpaste (which is the least effective and cheapest method)
  • Whitening toothpaste and strips (which work to a certain extent but can not be used long term)
  • Take-home whitening kits are done by your dentist (which are more effective than the above two, but results are uncontrolled, gradual, and require multiple sessions at home)
  • In-office teeth whitening (which offers the most dramatic and effective result in one visit, but tends to be more expensive than other options)
  • What you do immediately after an in-office bleaching session will determine how well your results will last.
  • The first 24-48 hours are the most critical as your teeth will be ready to absorb just about anything that comes into contact with them.
  • Therefore, you need to be conscious about your food and drink choices. I always tell patients “anything that stains a white T-shirt will stain your teeth at this point” – the stakes are high!

What to do after an in-office teeth whitening session

Here are a few guidelines to follow after an in-office bleaching session to keep your smile shining bright for a while:

1. Avoid certain foods & beverages:

  • Coffee: this will be difficult to cut out completely for some people, however, if you absolutely need to have your caffeine, add some milk and drink out of a straw to reduce the staining effect
  • Tea: many people do not know that tea is actually worse than coffee when it comes to teeth staining; if you can’t fight the craving, follow the above; its acidity also opens up the pores of teeth enamel, allowing stains to further penetrate your teeth easily
  • Wine: its acidity and dark colors have a double effect on teeth – it weakens teeth enamel and makes them more susceptible to staining (the acidity of white wine does that as well)
  • Fizzy or energy drinks: also acidic and may be full of coloring in some cases - best to avoid
  • Fruit or vegetable juices: highly acidic - also avoid
  • Tomatoes & dark sauces (soy sauce, balsamic vinegar): think of what happens when you get a drop on your t-shirt – best to avoid
  • Chocolate & sweets: think of the color of your tongue after eating certain sweets - avoid
  • Spinach, broccoli, and green vegetables (think coloring)
  • Berries & citrusy fruits (think coloring and acidity)
  • Curry & colorful spices (paprika, turmeric): think of how they can stain a white plate, the same will occur to your teeth

This may seem quite difficult (and depressing) to maintain but think of the long-term result! The list above is not limiting – anything similar will have a negative effect on how long your teeth remain white after the procedure.

On the other hand, here is a list of some foods and drinks you can have (also known as ‘the white diet’), which includes water, milk, chicken/turkey, fish, rice, paste, cheese, eggs, and bananas. Again, don’t despair, it’s only for a few days!

2. Brush your teeth regularly

But maybe more than normal to keep them looking their absolute best (this includes flossing!)

3. Don’t go back to your old toothpaste

Use a gentle whitening toothpaste a week or so after the procedure in order to maintain the color for a longer period of time. Try to however avoid the ultra abrasive ones.

4. Use the home whitening kit provided by your dentist

Additionally, follow the instructions as explained to you. Keep up with your touch-up treatments to ensure the white colors last

5. Use straws to avoid staining

This is to minimize contact or exposure time between your teeth and the stain-causing drink; use metal straws as they are more environmentally friendly and you’ll be able to sip on both cold and hot beverages

6. Quit smoking

Smoking stains your teeth and is bad for your health, therefore it is recommended to stop for 48 hours or altogether quit the habit. Not only will your teeth stay whiter, but you will have far better health.

7. Rinse with water after consuming any food or beverage that may stain your teeth

This way, your teeth won’t be bathing in discolored saliva for some time
Don’t forget to enjoy your smile and show your teeth!

If done correctly, this procedure can give a boost to your self-esteem and make you feel more confident and much happier!

Contact us for more details! I would be more than happy to help guide you towards a long-lasting brighter and whiter smile.

Dr. Layal Ksaybi
General Dentist (Canada)