Fluoride applied to your teeth strengthens them. It helps repair enamel and protect against tooth decay.
The process doesn’t take long, but you might wonder about what you can eat after fluoride treatments.
Generally speaking, after fluoride treatment you can eat a variety of food. However, you should stay away from very hot and icy items for 24 hrs especially if you experience gum tenderness. The hygienist will typically advise waiting for at least a half-hour before drinking or eating, allowing the fluoride to seal your teeth.
In this article, we will provide guidelines on what to eat (or not eat) following dental cleaning, so the fluoride treatments provide you with the most significant, ongoing defense against cavities.
A Telling Taste
Besides the fact that a fluoride treatment seals your teeth against potential decay, and you want to allow for set up time, there’s another reason to hold off on eating for a while. In one word: taste.
Your dentist applies fluoride concentrate via a foam, gel, or varnish. It may feel a bit slippery and typically tastes of mint. The flavor will linger, making everything taste “off.”
Ever eat an orange after brushing your teeth? The results are the same, a weird and often very bitter taste. It just isn’t pleasant.
What To Avoid After Your Flouride Treatment
There’s a 30-minute window after which eating or drinking is unadvisable. This is because the fluoride needs time to adhere firmly to your teeth.
At the 30 Minute Window:
It’s time for a snack! Once you wait thirty minutes after your fluoride treatment, you can go ahead and eat fairly normally.
Nonetheless, dentists strongly suggest continuing to avoid hot liquids like coffee, cocoa, and soup at this juncture.
Remember the heat may hurt your already sensitive gums. Some practitioners go further than 30 minutes, suggesting leaving the fluoride alone for 4-6 hours before you eat anything, and skipping brushing until the next day.
Expert tip: eat before your treatment!
Before the 4-6 Hour Window:
What should you continue to avoid before the four to six-hour window?
- Beer (alcohol in general)
- Carbonated beverages
- Gum (the whole day)
- High-acid items
- Lemons, Limes
- Processed foods high in sodium
- Sunflower seeds
- Tomatoes (including sauce)
Additionally, avoid hard or crunchy food for the day.
Your dental professional may opt for a Fluoride rinse for your treatment. Receiving a fluoride rinse is a lot like mouthwash only packed with mineral content.
Like any other fluoride treatment, wait for 30-minutes before eating or drinking. A varnish works similarly.
Eating Before the 30 Minute Mark
So you lost track of time or gave in to temptation. What happens if you eat anything before the 30 minute waiting period is up?
Because foods and beverages can hinder the proper setup of the fluoride, the treatment may not provide you with as much protection as desired.
Also, your gums are likely to be sensitive, so crunchy, very hot, or very cold items may hurt.
Be patient! Take a long way home.
Good Food Choices After A Fluoride Treatment
So what are good things to eat for the first four hours after your fluoride treatment?
- Ice cream (if your gums are not sensitive)
- Mashed potatoes
- Soup (not too hot, please)
Returning To Normal Eating Habits
It should be noted that a fluoride treatment will not prevent your teeth from staining. You will have to be mindful and moderate beverages and foods like:
- Citrus fruit
- Red wine
- Soda pop
- Soy sauce
- Sports drinks
- Tomato sauce
You can avoid some staining potential by using a straw for the beverages.
Why All The Fuss?
It seems like your dental professionals ask you to jump through some hoops after fluoride treatments.
But there are very good reasons for them to ask you to adjust your eating and drinking habits for the day.
Fluoride treatments restore minerals to the surfaces of your teeth, which is incredibly important in areas where bacteria eroded the enamel.
It won’t remove decay but gives you a stronger line of defense against cavities, plaque buildup, and infected gums.
A healthier mouth makes a healthier you! Give your smile a support system. Eat confidently, without the worry of hitting a sore spot.
Don’t Stop With The Fluoride Treatment
There is more to keeping your mouth healthy than a fluoride treatment.
No one wants to give up their favorite foods because of tooth cracks, cavities, or bleeding gums. So we recommend these tips:
- Drink plenty of water (it has fluoride in it, plus it’s good for overall wellness).
- Switch to a toothpaste with fluoride
- Rinse with fluoridated mouthwash
- Brush your teeth twice daily
- Floss daily
And don’t forget to get an annual evaluation and cleaning. This catches problems before they become costly repairs like root canals.
Most insurance companies cover the yearly exam, cleaning, and fluoride treatments at no cost or with a minor co-pay.
You’ve learned that it’s OK to eat 30 minutes after your fluoride treatment, but for acidic, hot, and hard food. Sometimes you will be asked to wait at least four hours. It’s well worth your effort.
Applying fluoride to your teeth has been proven to protect and strengthen them, thereby deterring cavities so you can bite into your favorite dishes without discomfort.
If you have a dental visit coming up, you may want to discuss whether you are a good candidate for fluoride treatments so you can make the best choice for your oral health.
My name is Keren Tayler. I am a stay-at-home mama to three lovely girls, Sarah + Rachel + Hannah. Prior to becoming a mom, I had a successful career in the accounting field, steps away from becoming a CPA. I decided to give up on my career in order to raise my own kids (as opposed to letting a nanny do it, no judgment here :)) I learned a lot and I love sharing it with other moms. Along the way, I also became a Certified Food Handler.