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When can I eat after teeth cleaning?

You should be able to eat or drink right after having your teeth cleaned at a dental clinic. Sometimes, you may be advised to wait 30 minutes before eating or drinking anything. In some extraordinary cases, you may not eat or drink anything for 6-48 hours following cleaning your teeth.

It all depends on your situation.

Your dentist will advise you when and what to eat after cleaning. If you have any specific questions, you should consult your dentist.

Why should I wait 30 minutes before eating something after my dental cleaning procedure?

You do not have to. But if your teeth are sensitive, waiting at least 30 minutes before eating something is better.

If your teeth are not generally sensitive to hot or cold food, they may get sensitive following your dental cleaning session. That is why it is safer to eat something before appearing for your cleaning.

The cleaning process requires exerting some pressure on your teeth, which may make them temporarily sensitive. You will feel that sensitiveness only after exposing them to hot or cold food.

Besides, the cleaning agents and tools used during the process may make your tooth enamel slightly weak. Weak enamel may get irritated by hot or cold food.

Have you taken fluoride treatment? You need to wait for about 30 minutes before eating something. You need to give the fluoride enough time to set effectively on your teeth. Fluoride used in in-office treatment has a high concentration. It needs time to seal the surface of your teeth to be effective against harmful bacteria.

When do I have to wait 6 hours to eat something after a dental cleaning?

If you have taken fluoride treatment, your dentist may instruct you to wait 4 to 6 hours before eating or drinking something extremely hot or cold.

Such wait is necessary to get optimal benefit from your fluoride treatment.

Avoid consuming the following after the fluoride treatment:

  • Hot beverages, including coffee, tea, and chocolate
  • Hot soup
  • Acidic food
  • Fruit juice
  • Food with firm, dry, and brittle surface or texture
  • Crunchy foods including whole grain crackers, pretzels, raw seeds, nuts, and popcorn

Deep dental cleaning

If you have had a deep dental cleaning, you may have to wait 4 to 6 hours before eating hot or cold food.

Deep dental cleanings involve treating gum disease. The treatment is also called root planing.

In it, your dentist cleans deep into the pockets between your gum and teeth. If you have not visited your dentist for a while, and if you have tartar in those pockets, you will need a deep dental cleaning.

It is advisable to stay away from acidic or staining food for a few hours after a deep dental cleaning treatment.

Why not consume crispy, crunchy, hot, and acidic food right after fluoride treatment?

Fluoride needs time to bond effectively to your teeth. If it is washed away before the bonding period is complete, it will not be effective as expected. 

Consuming crispy, crunchy, hot, and acidic food after your fluoride treatment may break the fluoride layer on the surface of your teeth.

Fluoride teams up with your teeth’s calcium and phosphate content to strengthen the teeth’s enamel layer. It prevents food acid from reaching your enamel.

What food to eat after teeth cleaning?

  • Soft food
  • Non-acidic food
  • Food that does not need to be chewed hard
  • Food or drinks at room temperature

The best is to use a straw for drinking liquids.

Why wait 6 hours to eat pigmented food after teeth cleaning?

You want your teeth to remain clean and white. Eating pigmented food right after cleaning your teeth will work against you. Such food will cause discoloration again.

Your dentist will instruct you on how to keep your teeth clean following the cleaning treatment. Follow those instructions religiously to keep your teeth in their best possible shape.

Generally speaking, you should avoid the following:

  • Black tea
  • Soy sauce
  • Berries
  • Food with turmeric
  • Food with paprika
  • Caramel-rich food
  • Tomato sauce
  • Brown soda
  • Red juice

Why do I wait 48 hours to eat staining food after cleaning my teeth?

If you have teeth whitening as part of your cleaning, you will be advised to eat only ‘white food’ for 48 hours. Your whitening dentist may even instruct you to wait a week before eating staining food.

Teeth get spongy and dehydrated after the whitening treatment. They can absorb the color of the food quickly and get stained.

Waiting for 48 hours to eat staining food after teeth cleaning seems reasonable. You can manage that time well with some determination, even if you are into staining food and drinks.

Can I wash my mouth with regular water after teeth cleaning?

Making fluoride work for you is one of the benefits of teeth cleaning. You should not drink water even with room temperature or rinse your mouth with water right after teeth cleaning. Doing so will wash away the fluoride from your teeth.

If your teeth cleaning did not involve fluoride treatment, you might rinse your mouth with water.

How much does a fluoride treatment cost?

Some dentists will make fluoride treatment a part of their dental cleaning service. However, you may be charged $20 to $40 if it is an add-on.

Your dental insurance may not cover the fluoride treatment costs. It is still a good investment in your health if you have to part with a small amount of money for fluoride treatment.

Fluoride will guard your teeth for about six months, after which you may need another treatment. Ottawa Public Health recommends fluoride treatment twice a year.


  • NHS Inform
  • Ottawa Public Health
  • American Dental Association

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