Teeth whitening is a simple, conservative treatment intended to lighten the colour of natural tooth enamel. The procedure uses a bleaching solution containing hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide to remove stains from tobacco, coffee, red wine and other products that cause discolouration over time.
What should you do after teeth whitening?
If your dentist in Sydney CBD supplied you with any post-whitening instructions, it’s essential not to ignore them. Your dentist has recommended specific steps that they feel will optimize your results and ensure safety during the process. Generally speaking, dentists instruct patients to avoid eating or drinking dark foods and beverages for an hour after their visit. This includes avoiding red grape juice and black coffee, tea, cocoa, soy sauce, ketchup and chocolate. Many also recommend avoiding red wine for 24 hours after teeth whitening.
What happens if you don’t follow the instructions post-whitening?
Your teeth may become temporarily more sensitive, or they could even experience mild discomfort if you fail to follow your dentist’s instructions correctly after your procedure. Most dentists suggest waiting at least an hour before eating or drinking anything following a bleaching treatment. This gives your gums sufficient time to recover from the pressure applied during flossing (and any other forms of suction). Without this recovery period, you increase your risk of experiencing bleeding gums and damage to soft tissues inside your mouth that can lead to permanent receding gum lines. If you must eat something, choose soft foods that require little or no chewing.
Here are some specific post-whitening tips for patients receiving professional treatment at a dentist’s office:
- Chew sugarless gum after your appointment – Chewing gum after getting teeth whitening helps you maintain saliva production. It also stimulates blood flow to the gums to prevent dry mouth symptoms during this time.
- Don’t brush immediately after receiving bleaching treatment – Before brushing, rinse your mouth with water for 20 minutes to help ease sensitivity and mild discomfort. Brush lightly using fluoride toothpaste, but avoid overzealous brushing or harsh scrubbing as it can irritate tender areas around your gums.
- Rinse again before flossing – Use warm water to rinse out your mouth after you brush. Don’t rinse with cold water or swish with mouthwash as it can trigger increased tooth sensitivity. Floss lightly to remove any remaining food particles before starting your day.
- Use a straw when consuming dark liquids – Drinking through a straw helps prevent staining by limiting the surface area of your teeth that comes into contact with coloured liquids.
What are some things you shouldn’t do post-whitening?
Certain activities increase your risk for traumatizing newly bleached teeth, so avoid these until you talk with your dentist at your next appointment:
- Avoid chewing ice cubes – Ice can warp and fracture newly whitened enamel, which will cause permanent damage if not treated promptly by a professional. Avoid chewing on pencils, pen caps or other hard objects – Your teeth may become more sensitive than usual after whitening. Use extreme caution when chewing on any hard thing to prevent fracturing of enamel your tooth enamel.
- Stay away from sports that produce intense vibrations – These can include racquetball, hockey and skateboarding.
- Avoid hot beverages until the sensitivity has passed ultimately – Hot liquids not only cause thermal damage to new bleached surfaces, they also increase your risk for gum irritation by limiting saliva flow.
- Don’t forget to change your post-whitening diet! Though some stains are easier to remove than others (like nicotine), it’s important not to undo all of your progress by reintroducing dark foods back into your diet too soon.