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What can you eat after a teeth whitening procedure?

You have finally completed your teeth whitening procedure with your dentist. Now you wonder, what can you eat after teeth whitening?

After your teeth whitening treatment, you want to keep and maintain that lasting bright smile. You now feel a lot more confident showing off those pearly whites.

The following 48 hours are crucial.


Right after a professional teeth whitening procedure, a chemical reaction occurs. Common teeth bleaching agents can cause such reactions to the teeth.

Hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide are the most common culprit. It alters the substance where it is applied when the oxygen atoms lose electrons, also called oxidation.

This reaction changes the chemical composition of stains and lightens the shade of the tooth enamel.

The chemical processes, in effect, take a temporary toll on your teeth and gums. It exposes the dentin layer underneath the enamel, which makes it vulnerable to erosion and bacteria.

The tooth enamel becomes porous, thus absorbing pigment stronger. The gums are also expected to be sensitive or irritated after contact with the chemicals. 

While these are only temporary side-effects, it is essential to follow post-treatment instructions. Make intelligent food choices, especially when your teeth are the most susceptible in the next 48 hours.

What can easily stain your teeth?


To answer the question, “What can you eat after teeth whitening?” you must know the food substances that are responsible for staining your teeth.

Chromogens – this chemical compound is used in food colouring to produce a pigmented end product. When these coloured particles stick to the tooth enamel, it causes intense discolouration.

Tannins – these are natural compounds found in grape skins, seeds, and stems. Tannins are bitter and promote staining by enhancing the ability of chromogens to stick to the tooth enamel.

Acid – softens the enamel, then creates rough patches and erosion on the smooth exterior. Acid makes the teeth stain easily.

Coffee – acidic and high in chromogens.

Black/Green tea – high in tannins; stains worse than coffee.

Red wine – acidic and rich in both chromogens and tannins.

While most people cannot live without these drinks, the first 48 hours should be a brief sacrifice to keep your teeth whiter for longer. After this period, you should use a straw so the liquid will not go all over your teeth.

The best practice preventing stains is rinsing your mouth with water and brushing your teeth right after eating or drinking.

So what can you eat after teeth whitening?

We are introducing the white diet. The basic principle of the white diet is committing to eating only light-coloured or white food and drinks. You should do this within the next 48 hours after a teeth whitening procedure.


Apple – also known as nature’s toothbrush. Biting off an apple’s thick skin and fibrous flesh scrubs your teeth of plaque and build-up. Apples are also packed with vitamins and nutrients, but keep in mind that they contain acid and sugar.

To neutralise acids, try to eat it with other foods, or finish it at once to minimise the time acid and sugar are on your teeth. Always rinse your mouth with water and wait 30 minutes before brushing your teeth so you won’t damage your teeth’s enamel.

Banana – a source of magnesium and vitamin C. Magnesium aids in bone formation and builds a healthy enamel. Vitamin C helps maintain healthy gums by simulating blood vessels that support your teeth. Plus, bananas are less acidic than other fruits!

Cauliflower – this superfood requires a lot of chewing. As it is broken down into tiny bits, it removes plaque and build-up on teeth. Cauliflower also contains potassium, magnesium, vitamin K, and zinc – all of which keep your teeth healthy.

Celery – also known as nature’s floss. Aside from its crunchiness that scrapes food particles off teeth, it also stimulates saliva. This stimulation loosens the bacteria and washes it off.

Nuts and Seeds – contain phosphorus, which helps teeth in calcium absorption. Their abrasiveness also helps remove surface stains.

Egg whites – 90% water and 10% protein. Remove the yellow yolk to avoid teeth stains, fat, and cholesterol.

Dairy products – popularly high in calcium, also contain casein, which is white with no taste. Casein is a family of proteins that help repair cavities by binding calcium phosphates. It also prevents bacteria that cause cavities from sticking to the surface of the tooth. This makes dairy products in general good for oral health.

The best dairy products for your newly whitened teeth are:

White Cheese (Feta, Mozzarella, Ricotta, Parmesan, Gruyere and Jack Cheese) – naturally makes teeth strong as it is rich in calcium and phosphate. It also increases the pH levels in the mouth from the act of chewing, which produces more saliva, thus protecting teeth from acids that cause decay. Cheese compounds also stick to the enamel, coating it from acids.

White Unsweetened Yogurt – sweetened and creamy yoghurts contain less protein and therefore less calcium. Therefore, go for the unsweetened version instead.

Skimmed Milk – get the necessary nutrients without the fat and calories.

Lean proteins – fish, poultry, and tofu are phosphorus and protein sources that keep teeth healthy. Make sure you consume only white fish and skinless chicken or turkey to avoid staining your teeth. Tofu produced from soybeans is also rich in calcium: one 3.5 oz piece contains around 176 mg.

Carbohydrates – being one of the leading causes of tooth decay, it’s essential to select the carbs to balance your diet carefully. In the white diet, white bread, white rice, white potatoes, and pasta in white sauce are all good in moderation.

Beverages – if you are not satisfied with tap or bottled water, it is safe to drink still, unflavoured, sparkling water. Coconut water is an excellent choice, too, as it is rich in vitamin C.

Although alcohol is discouraged due to its acidity, you can drink small amounts. Examples would be white wine or clear liquor with clear mixers, like Gin & Tonic and vodka.

You can try these two “white diet” dishes in Singapore:

Chicken rice – steamed or boiled chicken and served along with white rice and sliced cucumber.

Roti Prata – a fried flaky flatbread. Get one with cheese or banana instead of the usual curry, red bean, or chocolate to avoid staining your teeth.

As a final tip, just remember: What can stain a white cloth can also stain your teeth.

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