Top 7 Foods that Stain Your Teeth

August 3, 2019
Top 7 Foods That Stain Your Teeth

Just got your teeth whitened? Want to find out how you can make your teeth whitening last? Aside from having regular sessions and constant consultations with your teeth whitening bar, there are other, more proactive, methods to making sure that your teeth whitening efforts last – and perhaps the most important change you need to make is one regarding your diet. Let’s talk about food that stain your teeth.

Coffee, soda, and sweets are common examples of food that will leave stains on your teeth if left uncleansed after consumption. Looking for more examples of teeth-staining food? Read on – what you’ll find may surprise you.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Why Does Food Stain Teeth?

The level of enamel in your teeth determines how protected you are from physical, thermal, and chemical forces that would otherwise penetrate its surface and change the outer color of the tooth. In our case, the chemical composition of your food is a big factor behind staining as these chemicals seep into the external layers of the tooth and stay there until they are washed away. 

In short, the outer layers of your teeth, covered in enamel, are porous – so food particles and a chemical compound called tannin can seep in and stain your teeth. 

What are tannins, you may ask? Well, these are chemicals that can cause color compounds to stick to your teeth. You’ll know when food is rich in tannins if they contain astringent and bitter flavors. 

While not inherently harmful, tannins are the leading cause of tooth staining in your teeth. 

7 Teeth-Staining Foods

Of course, not all food stains your teeth the exact same way – some do it more than others. In this section, we give you a list of food that you should avoid if you want to keep staining to a minimum. 


Coffee is one of the main culprits behind stained teeth in people. Your morning brew might have one of the highest concentrations of tannins in your daily diet.

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Energy Drinks

While they may not be inherently staining, sports or energy drinks stain your teeth by eroding the enamel that surrounds them, which naturally leaves your teeth more vulnerable to stains. Energy drinks are made with citric acid and these not only serve as ingredients to enhance flavor and shelf life, but it’s also a cause of enamel erosion. 

Red Wine

Unsurprisingly, red wine is another common culprit of teeth staining. The pigments in red wine make teeth turn grey and thus harder to remove than yellowish stains. 

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Over time, the soft purple color can cause your teeth to change color, often brown, blue, dingy gray, or purple.  The discoloration happens because of the acids, tannin, and natural dyes all found within red wine. 

Carbonated Drinks

Sodas and colas are loaded with sugar, which the bacteria in your mouth can feed off! As a result, damaging acids are created in the mouth and thus stain the teeth. Sodas are particularly dangerous for teeth, because they can create holes in the teeth’s enamel!


Berries are another culprit to blame for teeth discoloration! Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are high in chromogens that cause organic stains on the teeth’s surface.

The more porous your teeth are, the more persistent the stains become. 


In the same way that sweets can change your tongue’s color, they can also alter the color of your teeth. And aside from the sugar content, the food coloring in sweet treats is another aggressive cause of teeth staining.

Photo by Denny Müller on Unsplash


Curry contains strong and deep coloring, so it’s no wonder that eating lots of it can leave your teeth yellow! But aside from the pigment, the acids in curry — as well as in tomato-based sauces — can contribute to the erosion of your teeth’s enamel, too.

How To Prevent Teeth Stains

Now you know what food stains your teeth, does this mean you need to avoid them altogether? No, you don’t have to stop enjoying them. Moderating consumption to keep your teeth healthy and stain-free provides the same benefits, care, and protection as stopping the consumption of these products altogether. 

Is there a better way to prevent teeth stains? Of course

The best method to prevent teeth stains is good oral hygiene. Creating and keeping good habits such as brushing your teeth twice a day, seeing your dentist at least twice a year, and having the right diet will help prevent teeth stains for years to come.

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