Foods That Stain Teeth

Foods That Stain TeethCertain foods stain teeth more than others. Dark colored drinks like coffee, cola and tea are some of the worst offenders.

Thankfully you don’t have to cut these foods out of your diet completely to keep your teeth sparkling white. Just make sure you limit your intake of them or rinse your mouth out with water, floss and brush your teeth or chew gum immediately after consuming them. There are also many foods that act as natural teeth whiteners- apples, broccoli, spinach, celery, strawberries are just a few of the foods that you can eat afterwards to help clean your teeth.

1. BLACK COFFEE: Bad news for coffee lovers- those daily cups of java that you love are dimming your smile. The darker the coffee, the worse it is for your teeth. You can try lightening your coffee up with some milk, which will also give you an added bonus of calcium and vitamin D, which are both good for maintaining healthy white teeth.

2. TEA: Tea has been proven to be excellent for overall dental health. It is rich in compounds called tannins, that attack cavity causing bacteria and plaque. However, black teas cause the worst stains, so stick to the light colored teas- green, white and herbal blends. If you are like me and don’t want to give up your black tea, drink it through a straw. One more thing, make sure that your tea isn’t too hot or cold, because both hot and cold temps open up the pores in your teeth and degenerate tooth enamel, causing more permanent stains.

3. RED WINE: It contains polyphenols, which help to prevent periodontal diseases that damage the gums and bone around teeth, which ultimately leads to tooth loss. However, those polyphenols are also responsible for causing tooth staining and the alcohol in red wine is highly acidic and wears away tooth enamel, exposing the soft yellow dentin underneath.

Brushing your teeth right after drinking red wine can be especially harmful and actually cause scratching of your tooth enamel. Drinking red wine through a straw would look really dorky, so isn’t a very viable option for avoiding tooth staining. However, you could rinse your mouth out with water afterwards, in order to help neutralize the negative effects or switch to drinking lighter colored wines.

4. COLA: Dark colored sodas are not only staining, but are also full of harmful phosphoric, citric acids and sugars that erode tooth enamel and cause tooth decay, which leads to a dull, ugly smile. Since most people like their soda cold, this creates further dental problems. Cold drinks make tooth enamel more porous and vulnerable to staining. If you’re not ready to give up your soda habit, then at least drink it through a straw, to minimize contact with your teeth.

5. CRANBERRY JUICE: Cranberry juice and other dark colored fruit juices are highly pigmented and can cause yellowing of the teeth. Cranberry juice contains very high amounts of sugar in order to offset its natural bitter taste and as we all know, sugar isn’t very good for teeth. Drink it through a straw or rinse your mouth out with some water after drinking it. You could also switch to drinking white cranberry juice or other lighter colored fruit juices.

6. POPSICLES: Popsicles are a colorful summertime favorite, but those dyes that color your lips and tongue funny colors are also staining your teeth. Plus, they’re full of sugar and the cold iciness opens up the porous surface of your tooth enamel, which causes even worse staining. If you want a sweet summer treat, try freezing some fresh fruit- frozen grapes are my favorite.


7. SOY SAUCE: It may be good on rice, but it isn’t good on your teeth. Soy sauce sticks to teeth and its deep colored pigments can cause bad stains. So, go easy on the soy sauce, the next time you’re at the sushi bar and rinse your mouth out with some water or green tea after eating it.

8. BALSAMIC VINEGAR: Balsamic vinegar is a lot like soy sauce- it is deeply pigmented, clings to teeth and causes tooth discoloration. You could pair it with lettuce, by drizzling it over your salad. Lettuce forms a protective barrier over teeth to help keep them free from stains. You could also switch to using a lighter colored vinegar.

9. TOMATO SAUCE: Italian food would just be a bunch of tasteless carbs without it. Tomato sauce is highly acidic and much like soy sauce and balsamic vinegar, clings to teeth and causes stains. You could have a spinach salad before eating your pasta or pizza. Much like lettuce, spinach will form a protective film over your teeth, helping to keep them free from stains.

10. BLUEBERRIES: Blueberries are excellent for your overall health and are jam packed with nutrients and antioxidants, which are very helpful for maintaining strong and healthy teeth. However, that deep berry blue can cause deep staining on your teeth, so be sure to rinse your mouth out thoroughly with water.

11. BEETS: Beets are rich in vitamins and minerals that are highly beneficial for keeping your teeth healthy and white. However, they are richly pigmented and can stain teeth , especially if you don’t brush your teeth within an hour after eating them.

12. CURRY: Curry gives Indian cuisine that exotic flavor and colors it a beautiful hue of yellow. Of course there’s nothing beautiful about the color yellow when it comes to your smile, so eat curry sparingly. Just make sure to combine it with foods like spinach, that will protect your tooth enamel and brush your teeth and tongue thoroughly after eating curried dishes.

For more tips on how to keep up with the stains these foods can cause, read our post providing tips to naturally whiten teeth.


15 thoughts on “Foods That Stain Teeth

  1. wow, i never thought that soy sauce, beets or blueberries could make your teeth less white. thanks for the news.

  2. I never knew curry could stain your teeth. I love curry and Tea! I tried to avoid food that stains teeth.

  3. fiiimac on

    Oooh, that’s awful, I eat/drink so many of those things regularly! green tea, balsamic vinegar, blueberries, curry … Thanks so much for this article!

  4. Hoo Kahamayong on

    Brush teeth after eat? That a help tip! Thank very you much!

  5. Raqi on

    If “lettuce forms a protective barrier over teeth to help keep them free from stains” shouldn’t we just eat a couple leaves of lettuce before every meal or harsh colored drink to minimize staining??

  6. Also, try to drink your tea (I only drink very light colored ones) within one sitting. It is better not to sip it over a long period such as all day.

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