The Top 10 Foods That Stain Teeth

Many popular foods that we consume on a daily basis can cause discoloration of your teeth…

…So if you’re looking to go out and spend money on products that whiten your teeth, it is important to first be aware of what foods and drinks are causing those stains.

These 10 Foods Are The Most Common Culprits Of Stained Teeth…


Tea is known to be very beneficial to your health, however, the tannins (acidic polyphenols) in black tea can stain your teeth worse than coffee! This goes for green tea as well! Green tea can turn your teeth gray while black tea causes yellow discoloration. According to the International Journal of Dental Hygiene, adding a little milk to your tea can help prevent stains from tea, due to the casein in milk.If you drink a lot of green tea, opt for a higher quality product because the lower quality teas can stain harder.


remove stains teethSimilar to tea, coffee contains tannins, which leads to discoloration. Not only that, the acidic nature of coffee alters the pH balance in your mouth, while the creamer and sugar can accelerate the growth of discoloring bacteria. If you drink coffee, try drinking it with a to-go lid or a straw, which can already be common for fans of iced coffee!


These include fruits, such as lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit. These foods are very nutrient packed and provide many health benefits. However, the acidic nature of these fruits can erode enamel and reveal dentin (which causes yellow teeth stains) beneath your enamel, which is made up of calcium and phosphate crystals.


Berries with darker hues (blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, blackberries) can stain teeth. This is due to the pigmented molecules in berries, which stick to the enamel on your teeth. This goes for those eaten raw, drank in juice form or eaten in jelly form. In addition to berries, lighter colored fruits such as white grapes can also harm enamel.


Sodas, whether regular or diet can be very harmful for your teeth. Not only are darker colas harmful, so are lighter colored sodas. This is due to acid and chromogens, which can lead to the staining of your teeth and the eating away of enamel. The acid in soda is comparable to that of battery acid. Not only that, the sugar in soda gives the bacteria in your mouth something to feed and multiply off of.


Many sugary candies out there are made up of just that – sugar. However, some are worse than others. Sour candies tend to have a high level of acidity, which can break down your enamel. Candies such as caramels and taffies take longer to eat, which allow sugar to seep into high crevices in your mouth, causing your teeth to be contact with sugar longer, which once again eats away at enamel. Also, due to the many dyes in candy, prolonged contact with your teeth over time can lead to permanent stains. A rule to live by – if it stains your tongue, it will probably stain your teeth.

Tomato Sauce

This goes for raw tomatoes right off the vine, ketchup, pizza sauce and Sunday sauce (or gravy to some rebels out there). Not only do these sauces contain vibrant hues, they are highly acidic, which can again erode your enamel and revealing the yellow hue of dentin underneath. If you can try to limit the consumption of these foods (Sunday is a good day if you’re Italian) or opt for a different type of sauce for your pasta, such as alfredo or garlic and oil.

Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is delicious but due to its dark color, it stains teeth pretty easily. If you are a salad connoisseur, try opting for a lighter vinegar, like rice or apple cider. However, the upside to eating salad is that lettuce is known to help protect your teeth from stains. This is due to the the lettuce forming a film over your teeth to protect from stains.


Curry is a delicious dish, which has many health benefits from the spices it is made with. However, those spices are made up vibrant colors, which can and will wind up on your teeth longer after your meal if you aren’t careful. Besides eliminating this dish all together (that would be a real shame), try limiting your intake of it, brushing your teeth immediately after, or consuming foods with it such as spinach or lettuce, which can help guard your enamel from stains.


This one is a no-brainer. If you have ever come in contact with beets, you probably have seen the staining power of this food. Beets stain almost anything they come in contact with, whether that is your new shirt, tongue or teeth. However, beets are considered a superfood, so if you can’t get enough of this red wonder, try brushing your teeth immediately after consuming.

So, What Can I Do To Avoid Stains In The Future?

The first step to avoiding stains in the future is learning how to counteract the side effects that these foods have on your teeth.

If you drink coffee and tea in the morning, maybe drink it before you brush your teeth, this way you can kill your morning breath and the acids from your coffee in one shot.

Many of these foods are very popular, so if you like to eat them regularly, try brushing your teeth right after or chewing gum, which can help remove the toxins from your teeth.

There are no reasons why you shouldn’t be able to still consume these foods, just be conscious of what they can do, this way you aren’t trying to shell out more money on another teeth whitening kit months from now or making additional expensive trips to your dentist.