10 Foods That Cause Teeth Stains

While certain foods offer numerous health benefits, many can also lead to tooth discoloration. Here, we delve into the types of teeth stains and list the top ten foods that are the biggest culprits of teeth stains. Arm yourself with this knowledge to help prevent tooth discoloration and keep your pearly whites white.

The Anatomy of Teeth Staining and Tooth Decay

Types of teeth stains typically fall into two categories: surface and stains ingrained in your tooth enamel. Many discolorations occur due to dark pigments in the foods we consume, which can infiltrate the tooth surface, causing a change in tooth color over time.

Common Foods That Stain Teeth


Despite its aromatic flavors and soothing effects, tea is notorious for its teeth-staining ability because of its dark color. You might wonder: does tea stain white teeth? Here’s the answer:

  • Permanent Staining. No, tea does not stain teeth permanently. The effects can be mitigated and reversed with proper oral hygiene practices.
  • Preventing Stains. How do you keep tea from staining your teeth? The key is moderation. After drinking these beverages, frequent rinsing your mouth with water can help wash away the stain-causing compounds. Furthermore, routine cleaning through brushing and flossing is crucial.
  • Choice of Tea. Not all teas are created equal when staining your teeth. White and green teas, lighter colors and less acidity are less likely to cause staining than their black counterparts.


While coffee lovers might cringe, coffee is notorious for leaving stains on teeth and shifting the mouth’s pH balance, making teeth more susceptible to further discoloration. Simple fixes include drinking coffee using a to-go lid or straw to minimize direct contact with your teeth.

Balsamic Vinegar

This acidic food, commonly used in salads and marinades, can lead to tooth discoloration because of its dark color and acid content. Don’t panic, though. Eating crunchy foods like lettuce, which forms a protective layer on the teeth, can help to reduce the staining effect.

Tomato-Based Sauces

Despite their fantastic taste, pasta and other tomato-based sauces are indeed stain-causing foods. Their dark, rich colors and acidity can darken your tooth enamel. Rinsing your mouth with water after consumption can help minimize potential staining.


Even though they are flavorful and delicious, Curry dishes are known to cause yellow teeth stains due to the high presence of turmeric. However, you can counterbalance this effect by pairing your curry meal with raw fruits and veggies like apples, carrots, cauliflower, and celery, which can aid in minimizing the risk of staining.

Fruit Juices and Sports Drinks

Citrus fruits and sports drinks are well-known for their high sugar content and acidity, which could contribute to tooth decay and enamel erosion. This exposes the yellow pigment in the dentin, leading to yellow stains.

White and Red Wine

Both white and red wine variants possess the potential to discolor teeth. Their acidic nature facilitates the soaking up colors from other foods, thereby leading to teeth stains.

Carbonated Drinks and Sugary Beverages

Carbonated drinks and beverages with high sugar content are often linked to tooth decay and erosion. The acidity and harmful chemical compounds in these drinks create an environment conducive to tooth damage. Frequent consumption could lead to stained and discolored teeth, emphasizing the need for careful consumption and good oral hygiene.


Despite the undeniable health advantages of berries, it’s worth noting that they are notorious for staining tooth enamel. One possible way to enjoy them without the staining side effects is by blending them into smoothies alongside milk or yogurt.

Candy and Sweets

Consuming lots of candy and sweets rich in sugar raises the chances of tooth decay and causes acid to build up in the mouth. This acidity increases the probability of teeth staining, and sugar-induced plaque can lead to cavities and further tooth discoloration.

Tips to Prevent Teeth Stains

Ensuring that bright, shiny smile means more than just brushing and flossing daily – it also involves making healthy dietary choices. Here are a few handy tips:

  1. Avoid Acidic Foods. Foods with high acid content, such as citrus fruits and tomato-based sauces, can erode the tooth enamel, making it easier for stains to set in.
  2. Limit Sugar Intake. Sugar feeds the harmful bacteria in your mouth, leading to tooth decay. Tooth decay can darken the color of your teeth over time. Opt for natural sugars present in fruits instead of processed ones.
  3. Crunchy Fruits and Veggies. Consuming fresh, crunchy fruits and vegetables can act as a natural toothbrush, scrubbing the surfaces of your teeth and helping to remove surface stains.
  4. Drink Plenty Amounts of Water. Regular water intake, particularly after a meal, can rinse away dark pigments and harmful bacteria, mitigating the risk of tooth decay and stains.

Maintain Good Oral Health

Remember, monitoring the type of foods you consume is just one facet of maintaining a whiter smile. Good oral hygiene practices, including teeth cleaning and regular check-ups with your dentist, play a crucial role in maintaining a clean teeth surface and preventing food and drink stains.

Conclusion: Keeping Your Smile Bright

Good oral health is more than just a nice smile; it’s crucial to our well-being. While certain foods can contribute to teeth discoloration, good dental hygiene, and a balanced diet can help counter their effects. With teeth whitening treatments, you can keep your smile brilliant and teeth white – always remember, a healthy mouth is a happy mouth.

Want to conduct an oral health check-up? Do you need some personalized advice for preventing teeth stains from a dental professional? Contact us today to schedule an appointment with us.

About Dr. Christine Lee

Dr. Lee specializes in cosmetic rehabilitations and complex full-mouth reconstructions. She is skilled in all facets of restorative dentistry such as crowns, porcelain veneers, bridges, and complete or partial dentures.

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