What Foods Stain Teeth?

What Foods Stain Teeth

A bright, white smile is something many of us strive for, but sometimes our favorite foods and drinks can get in the way. Tooth discoloration can impact your confidence and make you self-conscious about your smile. This blog aims to inform you about the common foods and drinks that can stain your teeth and provide tips on how to prevent and treat staining.

Understanding Tooth Staining

To understand how to keep your teeth white, it’s important to know how they become stained in the first place. Tooth staining can be classified into two categories:

  • Intrinsic Stains: These occur within the tooth and are often caused by factors such as aging, trauma, or excessive fluoride exposure during childhood.
  • Extrinsic Stains: These are surface stains caused by external factors like food, drinks, and smoking.

This blog will focus on extrinsic stains, particularly those caused by certain foods and beverages.

Common Foods and Drinks That Stain Teeth

Several foods and drinks are notorious for causing tooth discoloration. Here are some of the most common culprits:

Coffee and Tea Both coffee and tea contain tannins, which can lead to staining. The darker the beverage, the more likely it is to stain your teeth.

Red Wine Red wine is rich in chromogens and tannins, which can adhere to your teeth and cause staining.

Soda and Colas These beverages are acidic and often contain artificial coloring, both of which can contribute to tooth discoloration.

Berries Berries like blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are healthy but their dark pigments can stain your teeth.

Tomato-based Sauces Tomatoes are highly acidic and their rich color can lead to staining, especially with frequent consumption.

Soy Sauce and Balsamic Vinegar Both are dark and acidic, making them prime candidates for causing tooth stains.

Beetroot Beetroot’s vibrant color is great for your health but not so great for your teeth, as it can cause noticeable staining.

Curry and Turmeric These spices are deeply colored and can stain your teeth over time, especially with regular consumption.

Dark Chocolate While delicious, dark chocolate contains tannins that can stain your teeth.

Certain Types of Fruit Juices Juices like grape juice are high in chromogens and acids, which can lead to discoloration.

How These Foods and Drinks Stain Teeth

Understanding the science behind tooth staining can help you take preventative measures. Here’s how these foods and drinks cause stains:

  • Chromogens: These are compounds with strong pigments that easily stick to enamel.
  • Tannins: Tannins enhance the ability of chromogens to latch onto teeth.
  • Acids: Acidic foods and drinks can erode your enamel, making it easier for chromogens to stick and cause stains.

Frequent consumption of these foods and drinks, combined with inadequate oral hygiene, can lead to more pronounced staining.

Prevention Tips

While it might be hard to give up some of your favorite foods and drinks, there are ways to minimize their staining effects:

  • Use a Straw for Beverages: Drinking through a straw can help keep staining liquids away from your teeth.
  • Rinse Mouth with Water: Rinse your mouth with water after consuming stain-causing foods and drinks to wash away pigments.
  • Practice Good Oral Hygiene: Brushing and flossing regularly can help remove surface stains and prevent plaque buildup.
  • Regular Dental Cleanings: Professional cleanings can help keep your teeth free of stains and tartar.
  • Consume Staining Foods in Moderation: Limit how often you consume foods and drinks that stain.
  • Eat Stain-fighting Foods: Crunchy fruits and vegetables like apples, carrots, and celery can help scrub your teeth clean.

Treatment Options for Stained Teeth

If your teeth are already stained, don’t worry—there are several treatment options available:

  • Professional Dental Cleanings: Regular cleanings by your dentist can remove surface stains and plaque.
  • Teeth Whitening Procedures: In-office and at-home whitening treatments can help remove deeper stains and brighten your smile.
  • Whitening Toothpastes and Mouthwashes: These products can help maintain your teeth’s whiteness and prevent new stains from forming.


Certain foods and drinks can stain your teeth, but understanding how they cause discoloration and taking steps to prevent it can help you maintain a bright, white smile. Remember to practice good oral hygiene, consume staining foods and drinks in moderation, and consider professional treatments if needed. request an appointment today!