Who doesn’t love the appearance of freshly whitened teeth? Whether performed at home using do-it-yourself whiteners or at the dentist’s by a well-trained professional, teeth whitening has the potential to dramatically improve smile aesthetics.
But whitening is not a permanent fix, and when performed in-office can cost $500 or more per treatment. So if you do decide to have your teeth whitened, it’s important that you do everything you can to maximize the longevity of your results. One thing you can do is avoid the following five dark-colored foods and beverages, to prevent tooth staining.
Are you a slave to your morning cup of java? You’re not alone. Unfortunately, coffee is one of the most common causes of tooth staining, and may even be the reason you need to get your teeth whitened in the first place. At the very least, dentists recommend waiting 48 hours after whitening before consuming dark foods or liquids. If you simply can’t resist, use a straw.
For some people, a glass of red wine at the end of the day is just as important as a cup of coffee at the start of the day. Aside from the purported health benefits of a daily glass of red, it’s simply a nice way to relax after a long day at work. However, like coffee, red wine is a leading cause of tooth staining. Best to avoid that glass of red for as long as possible after whitening to preserve the effects.
In addition to tasting delicious, studies have found that dark chocolate is a potent antioxidant with a variety of health benefits, including lowering blood pressure and helping stave off heart disease. That said, it can still ruin a newly whitened smile. You don’t need to cut dark chocolate out of your diet completely after teeth whitening. Just make sure to avoid it for the first week.
Foods that have dark sauces should be avoided in the short term after teeth whitening. Tomato sauces, stews, soy and marinades all can cause significant staining. Check with your dentist for any dietary advice for the days after treatment.
There are also food types that should be avoided after teeth whitening to prevent sensitivity and pain. The bleaching agents used in whitening treatments weaken tooth enamel in the short term. Oranges, lemons, limes, pickles, soft drinks, etc. can increase the acidity of your saliva which in turn can harm your teeth.