IMG_3962Getting your braces off is an exciting milestone, and many patients see teeth whitening as the icing on the cake of orthodontic treatment.

In fact, a reader poll conducted by found that teeth whitening was what most orthodontic patients want after getting their braces off.

But once those braces are removed, it’s important to wait about a month before you undergo whitening treatments- whether they are over-the-counter, or professionally administered in a dentist’s or orthodontist’s office. This waiting period will give the newly exposed enamel that was covered by your brackets for so long some time to become less sensitive.

Lots of dental practices offer professional at-home whitening treatments that come complete with “custom whitening trays.” If you’re an Invisalign wearer or you’ve been given a retainer similar to Invisalign aligners after completing treatment, you’re already a step ahead of the game. You can use the retainers as whitening trays.

Teeth whitening is a popular topic, and I wrote a blog post last year that shared facts and other information I feel is important to know about teeth whitening. That post also mentions foods and drinks that can stain your teeth, or shorten the life of your whitening treatments.

While it’s important to remember that no teeth whitening treatment is permanent, I thought I would share a few food items in this post that might help prolong the effects of teeth whitening, as these foods are purported to help naturally whiten teeth.

Photo credit: Insiders Health

Photo credit: Insiders Health

Strawberries- these tasty fruits contain malic acid. Some experts recommend mashing them up, rubbing them onto

tooth surfaces, and rinsing, brushing and flossing after five minutes.

Apples, celery, carrots- these are nature’s stain removers. They increase saliva production and their crunchiness helps scrub your teeth.

Oranges, pineapples- tart fruits may cause an increase in saliva production, according to an AARP article. This is not a case of “if a little tartness is good, a lot of tartness is great,” though. Avoid using lemons on your teeth. The acidity can be harmful to enamel.

Hard cheeses- they help remove food particles.

If you go through a teeth whitening regimen after your braces are removed, eat more of these foods to maintain those pearly whites between whitening treatments.