How Long After Teeth Whitening Can I Eat?


You’ve had your teeth whitened, and now you’re wondering what to do. How long can you eat after a professional tooth-whitening treatment?

It’s summertime, which means it’s time for many of us to get out in the sun as much as possible. But while we all know that too much exposure to UV radiation from the sun is bad news, not everyone knows about the dangers posed by some foods.

Some of them contain chemicals that destroy our healthy white smiles. Suppose you want to make sure you don’t put these harmful substances into your body. In that case, there are certain things you should avoid eating at least four hours before getting professionally treated with whitening strips or other products.

After years of research on how different types of food affect the color of our teeth, dentists have developed several guidelines they recommend patients follow when having their pearly whites bleached.

The first rule — no matter what method of bleach application you choose — is simply this: Don’t brush your mouth right before or immediately following your procedure.

Once you’ve been given the go-ahead to resume routine oral care, here are some general rules regarding what you can and cannot safely consume during those crucial days between your appointment and your next big night out.

Can You Eat After Teeth Whitening Strip?

Since most people start applying the product around 10:00 am, you’ll need to wait until 3:00 pm (or 4:00 pm) before going anywhere near any grub. This will give the gel plenty of time to “cook,” so to speak, before meeting its final destination.

Since the effect takes 48 hours to develop fully, you shouldn’t even consider eating anything spicy or acidic, such as orange juice or tomato sauce, within three hours before your visit. As always, consult your doctor before undergoing any dental work.

If you live far away from your local dentist’s office, you might wonder whether you could take a few bites while still en route. Unfortunately, that is a risky move that could result in your appointment needing to be rescheduled or cause the procedure to produce less than adequate results.

What Should I Eat After Teeth Whitening?

As soon as you walk through the door, your friendly hygienist will likely hand you a brochure full of recommendations regarding what kinds of meals are safe to eat during your stay. Be sure to read each page carefully to familiarize yourself with your dentist’s dietary restrictions imposed upon you.

While it doesn’t hurt to ask questions — especially if you have concerns — it usually isn’t necessary because your provider has already gone over the recommended menu items with him.

Your dentist may tell you to avoid some specific types of food altogether, including alcohol. For example, they might advise against drinking caffeine-containing beverages two days before your appointment.

Why? Because excessive consumption of caffeinated drinks can cause side effects ranging from nausea to heart palpitations. Also, try to keep your salt intake limited to 1,500 milligrams per day, as high levels of sodium chloride can stoke thirst and aggravate dryness in your mouth.

While water makes up the bulk of your daily fluid needs, your dentist may instruct you to drink more fluids than usual throughout your stay. They might suggest using soft drinks rather than sugary juices to help neutralize acids created by bacteria left behind by your previous meal choices.

Finally, if you plan to dine outside the restaurant where your dentist’s recommendation was issued, bring along a small container filled with sugarless chewing gum.

Munching on regular gum leaves particles of metal oxides floating in your saliva, creating stains that eventually turn darker. Chewing sugarless gum helps prevent this problem.

Now let’s move on to the good stuff.

To maintain healthful new looks, it’s essential to continue eating well beyond your trip to the dentist. Here are some tips on maintaining proper nutrition during your recovery period.

Foods To Avoid Eating After Teeth Whitening

Unless otherwise specified, the best way to enjoy delicious cuisine after receiving professional whitening services is to stick with grilled meats, fish and poultry dishes, vegetables, salads, and fruit. Foods rich in protein tend to leave behind less residue than fatty ones. Your palate will thank you.

When choosing fruits, look for fresh produce without bruising. Fruits that were cut recently taste better than unpeeled varieties that haven’t seen sunlight in weeks.

Fresh citrus fruits provide lots of vitamin C, which promotes collagen production needed to rebuild weak bonds between proteins in your teeth.

Fish served raw contain large amounts of polyunsaturated fats, leading to rapid oxidation. Cooking kills off potentially dangerous microorganisms and prevents rancidity.

Avoid fried or processed foods as much as possible. Although they often appear healthier than their counterparts, frying releases hydrogenated oils that clog pores and deplete calcium reserves. Processed foods generally lack essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Many additives used in commercial baked goods are linked to cancerous tumors and reproductive problems.

The main culprits contributing to stained teeth include coffee, tea, wine, soda pop, and tobacco. These ingredients contribute acidity to the pH level in your mouth and encourage bacterial growth.

Other contributors include peppermint oil, licorice root extract, and cloves. These compounds trigger chemical reactions that alter the pigmentation of natural resins found in our teeth.

Finally, let’s talk about the worst offenders.

Share your newfound knowledge with friends and family members during your next dinner party. They’ll appreciate knowing what not to feed themselves.

What Not To Eat After Teeth Whitening

Although it seems logical enough, many dentists discourage patients from brushing their teeth two days preceding their appointments. Since the process removes the outermost layer of the enamel covering, giving it ample time to regenerate itself, allowing the surface to heal would defeat the whole point. Instead of brushing, rinse your mouth thoroughly with warm saltwater.

A pinch of baking soda added to the mix doubles as a gentle abrasive and a mild antiseptic. Just be careful not to swallow any leftover powder since baking soda can irritate sensitive areas of the throat and lungs.

Extra caution must be taken when consuming liquids, particularly alcoholic beverages. Alcoholic drinks increase salivation, making the mouth drier. Dry mouths are notoriously susceptible to irritation caused by plaque buildup and tartar formation.

Saliva also serves as a buffer zone between the hard surfaces inside the mouth and the corrosive agents present therein. Without adequate moisture, the environment becomes a hospitable ground for microbial growth, resulting in cavities.

Strips applied directly from the packet require no additional preparation.

Following the allotted time, lightly scrub your lips with either a tongue scraper or facial tissue dampened with cool tap water.

Rinse again with clear water and spit. Then proceed with your routine.

Before beginning any at-home whitening regimen, check with your physician to ensure you aren’t experiencing symptoms associated with overexposure to oxygen-free radicals.

Jason Smith

I am a Marine who now works as a Web Developer. I have five US States left to visit. I like whiskey, wine, and coffee, soaking in hot springs or in my hot tub.

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