Do you know that there are certain drinks and foods that stain your teeth?

Your morning tea or coffee, or your favorite spaghetti dish may be doing more harm to your teeth than providing fuel, nutrition, and calories to your diet.

With time and frequent usage, foods and drinks with dark color or pigment and the ones that are highly acidic can lead to stains on your teeth.

Moreover, it is important to note that teeth discoloration falls into 3 categories.

These are:

Extrinsic: The ones that are most likely to affect the tooth enamel or the surface of your tooth.

The most common causes are foods, drinks, and tobacco.

Intrinsic: This one is located within your tooth and makes it more resistant to over-the-counter whitening products.

It often appears grey in color and is due to certain medications, trauma, or injury to your tooth, tooth decay, or too much use of fluoride.

Age-Related: As you age, the enamel of your teeth begins to wear away and results in the yellow appearance of your teeth.

This is often due to both extrinsic and intrinsic factors.

In this article, we will discuss both extrinsic and extrinsic factors and foods that cause stains on your tooth, how can you prevent it, and in-office treatment options for it.

Foods that Stain your Teeth

The following is a list of drinks and foods that stains your teeth.

Coffee and Tea

Your morning coffee might be the culprit behind the stains on your teeth.

Coffee contains tannins, which is a type of chemical compound called polyphenol.

This compound can cause color compounds to stick to your teeth.

Just like coffee, tea also contains tannins that can stain your teeth.

The good news?

There is a simple way to cut down on tea’s tooth-staining abilities.

According to a study, adding 2% milk to your tea can significantly reduce the ability of tea to stain your teeth.

More specifically, a milk protein, casein is responsible for preventing such stains.

Berries and Fruit Juices

All types of berries like blueberries, blackberries, etc. contain a dark pigment that causes stains on your teeth.

The tiny organic particles in them can penetrate the pores of your tooth enamel and remain there.

Moreover, if your teeth have high porosity, this can lead to more persistent stains.

This is why, when you eat berries your teeth turn purple and may continue to have this color after eating blueberries.

In the same way, fruits with dark colors like cranberry, grape beet, pomegranate, etc can also cause discoloring.

Dark Cola

Regularly sipping on black soda can cause discoloration to your teeth. This is because of the reason that acidic drinks often cause erosion of the enamel.

Moreover, when the enamel erodes it makes your teeth more suspectable to stains on the dentin as well.

foods that stains teeth

Energy and Sports Drinks

According to a study, both energy and sports drinks are associated with the breakdown of general which leads to stains.

Moreover, energy drinks have higher acidity and enamel dissolution can often be more than due to sports drinks.

Tomato Sauces

If you want to keep those pearl whites, then you may want to be cautious when eating tomato-based sauces.

Not only these are bright in color but also acidic in nature.

Thus, rinsing your mouth with water after eating can help prevent your teeth from stains.

Soy Sauce and Balsamic Vinegar

Dark pigments in soy sauce and balsamic vinegar are also the foods that stain your teeth.

Moreover, these are high in acidity and cause enamel to break down, allowing the stain to set in.

Sweets and Candy

Sweets and candies especially dark ones like chocolate can cause mild staining to your teeth. Additionally, a lot of hard and gummy-type contains can settle on your teeth and cause discoloration.

Learn more about yellow teeth here.

What Else can Cause Stains on your Teeth?

Your favorite foods and beverages on not the only ones to blame for tooth stains.

If you observe discoloration on your teeth, then the following may be responsible as well:

Tobacco Products

Stains due to tobacco can be due to smoking cigarettes, pipes, cigars, or chewing it.

Moreover, according to many dentists, it can affect the color of your teeth because of the following two chemicals:

  • Nicotine: this is a colorless compound but gives your teeth a yellowish color in the presence of oxygen
  • tar: is naturally dark

tobacco products

Certain Medications

Using antibiotics like tetracycline before the age of 7 can cause intrinsic stains on your teeth.

Tetracycline chelates the calcium deposits while your permanent teeth are forming.

This can cause trips or bands of a dark color to deposit on the teeth that are often hard to get rid of.

Wear and Tear

With time, wear and tear on your teeth can cause your teeth to look discolored.

After years of brushing, the enamel wears down and gets thinner. This allows the yellow-colored dentin to show through and can make your teeth look darker and stained.

Other Factors that Causes Stains

Some of the other factors that can cause stains to your teeth are as follows:


If you develop an infection in the pulp of your tooth, it can cause discoloration.

Pulp is the soft tissue under the tooth enamel and dentin layers.

Moreover, in advanced cases, it can break down the pulp, which in turn can damage the roots of your tooth and give it a dark color.

Most often this is greyish-black in appearance.

With the help of a root canal, your dentist will clean out the decay and infection.


Trauma to your Tooth

Trauma to the baby tooth can affect your permanent tooth while growing up and can sometimes make your adult tooth look yellow.

This is especially the case when the enamel does not form properly.

Moreover, it can make your adult tooth look darker if the enamel chips away, thus exposing the naturally yellow dentin layer below it.

How can you Prevent Stains on your Teeth?

Preventing stains on your teeth or at least minimizing them with a few tips and tricks can help.

However, if you are dealing with stubborn stains and discoloration, then you may need to visit your dentist for an in-office procedure.

Stain preventing Tips are as follows:

Reduce or avoid Stain Causing Foods: Cutting back or at least avoiding foods that stain your teeth can help reduce and prevent tooth discoloration.

Brushing your Teeth after Consuming Such Foods: Make sure to brush and floss your teeth soon after you have consumed foods or drinks that cause discoloration.

foods that stains teeth 2

Swish your mouth with water: If you cannot brush or floss your teeth right away, then rinse your mouth with water.

It can help wash some of the substances away. However, make sure that the water washes over your teeth.

Use a Straw to Drink: While drinking dark-colored juices, coffee, tea, etc. consider using a straw.

This can help prevent the liquid from touching your teeth and thus avoid discoloration.

Avoid Tobacco products: Consult with your doctor if you need help cutting back or eliminating tobacco and its by-products.

Learn more about smoking and your oral health here.

Treatment Options

There are a number of products and procedures that can help whiten your teeth.

Moreover, they can help eliminate and even reduce the appearance of stains in your teeth.

Generally, teeth whitening options fall into the following three categories.

In-office Treatment

In this procedure, your dentist will typically use a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide for whitening your teeth.

It is important to note that the concentration of hydrogen peroxide in in-office treatments is often strong as compared to home treatments.

Thus, these treatments work quickly and the effects usually last longer than other treatments.

in-office treatments

At-Home Treatments

Some dentists can provide you custom-made trays to use at home. These help to whiten your teeth.

You will have to add a gel to the tray and wear it on your teeth for at least 1 hour a day.

You might also have to use it as your dentist recommends. For this procedure to work, you will have to wear the trays for a few weeks t achieve the desired results.

Over-the-counter Products

Whitening toothpaste and whitening strips are helping to reduce the appearance of stains on your teeth.

However, these are much less effective on intrinsic stains that are present inside your teeth.

Many dentists recommend that you should always consult them before trying out any teeth whitening products to ensure it is safe.

Moreover, some of these products can cause tooth sensitivity or gum irritation.

Learn more about laser teeth whitening here.

The Bottom Line

Foods and drinks with dark pigments, tannins, or high acidity can lead to tooth staining or discoloration with time. However, the good news is that you do not have to give up on your favorite foods and beverages to keep your teeth looking good. Acidic foods, red wine, white wine, beverages, etc ca cause discoloration to your pearly whites to light colored teeth.

Avoiding foods that stain teeth is the best option, however. brushing your teeth after a meal or twice a day, practicing good oral and dental hygiene, foods with health benefits, and opting for tooth-whitening procedures or kits can help make sure that your smile stays white and bright and protect your teeth.