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Foods to Avoid After Teeth Whitening

author image Denise Minger
Denise Minger, an independent researcher, writer, editor and public speaker, published her first book, "Death by Food Pyramid," in January 2014. Passionate about health, she runs a blog at dedicated to debunking bad nutritional science, and offers health consultations for individuals with special dietary goals.
Foods to Avoid After Teeth Whitening
Some foods can stain teeth immediately after a whitening treatment.


Teeth whitening can restore brightness to a stained or dimming smile, making it a popular procedure in the world of cosmetic dentistry. As Family Gentle Dental Care explains, teeth are particularly susceptible to staining in the days immediately following a whitening session, and adjusting your eating habits after the procedure can help your teeth brighten to their whitest possible shade. Temporarily avoid specific foods and beverages and limit items that cause discomfort to sensitive areas of your mouth.

Staining Foods

Foods to Avoid After Teeth Whitening
Avoid "dark" foods like: blueberries and dark chocolate. Photo Credit Christopher Robbins/Stockbyte/Getty Images

After a whitening session, several foods and ingredients are particularly likely to stain your pearly whites. Staining culprits include dark chocolate, dark soups, stews, beets, tomato sauces, dark marinades, soy sauce and blueberries, according to Teeth Whitening Tips. Spanish and Indian cuisine may also darken teeth due to the liberal use of tomato sauces and curry. Avoiding these items can help your whitening treatment work as effectively as possible.

Dark Beverages

Foods to Avoid After Teeth Whitening
Any colored beverages can leave stains on teeth. Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Although clear or white liquids—such as water and milk—are permissible following a whitening treatment, colored beverages can leave stains on your freshly whitened smile. Avoid drinking coffee, dark soft drinks, tea and red wine for several days after undergoing a teeth whitening session, Family Gentle Dental Care advises. Colored juices such as grape juice, tomato juice, cranberry juice and orange juice may also stain your teeth, according to Teeth Whitening Tips. To minimize the contact any liquids have with your teeth, sip beverages through a straw.

Acidic Foods

Foods to Avoid After Teeth Whitening
Avoid acidic foods to minimize potential pain from sensitive areas. Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Images

The process of teeth whitening can leave teeth temporarily sensitive to acidic foods and drinks, leading to pain and discomfort while eating. As Family Gentle Dental Care explains, low-pH items such as oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, pineapple, vinegar, pickles and soft drinks can increase the acidity of your saliva, potentially damaging areas of your teeth already weakened by whitening chemicals. Limiting these items after your whitening treatment can help you avoid food-related pain. According to the Consumer Guide to Dentistry, you may be particularly sensitive to acidic foods if you have gum recession, preexisting cracks in your teeth or leaking dental restorations.

Cold Foods and Drinks

Foods to Avoid After Teeth Whitening
Your teeth may be sensitive to cold foods for a short time. Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

According to Janice E. Spada, dentist and owner of the Reveal Your Smile website, teeth may be sensitive to cold temperatures for up to 36 hours after a whitening session. To minimize pain provoked by temperature, avoid cold foods and drinks such as ice water, ice cream, frozen yogurt and other frozen desserts. If your sensitivity is extreme, avoid eating foods straight from the refrigerator and consume items at room temperature or warmer.

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