10 Tooth Staining Foods and How to Avoid Them

25th Jun 2021

10 Tooth Staining Foods and How to Avoid Them

Have you ever noticed a change in the color of your teeth after eating something like coffee or red wine? If so, it's time to learn about the 10 tooth-staining foods, the worst offenders. 

Although you can visit your dentist for a teeth whitening procedure, you'll be happy to know there are simple things you can do yourself to keep your teeth stain-free and your smile in great shape. 

 foods to avoid for whiter teeth

White teeth are associated with attractiveness, youth, confidence, and health. So, it is little wonder why we strive so hard to attain them. Keeping your teeth free of stains can help to keep them healthy but this is not the whole picture. Even if your teeth are white, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are healthy. It’s important that if you notice unusual signs, such as bleeding gums, that you schedule a dental appointment, or if you are in pain do not hesitate to visit an reputable emergency dentist near you.

There are three main reasons why some food and drinks are more likely to stain our teeth than others. This is because they contain one, or more, of the following:

  • Chromogens: In chemistry, this is a substance that can impart a dye. In dentistry terms, it has the same meaning. It refers to colored substances that adhere to tooth enamel, causing discoloration.
  • A yellow, brownish bitter-tasting organic substance found in plants. They enhance the ability of chromogens to stick to teeth enamel.
  • Acids: These erode tooth enamel and can cause patchy discoloration of the teeth.

Thus, if you want to prevent staining  your teeth, these are the foods and drinks you should be careful with. It doesn’t mean you should avoid them and give them up forever. But knowing how to minimize the danger they pose to your teeth means you will be able to enjoy them guilt-free.

1. Alcohol

Red wine, sangria, and drinks with deep colors not only turn your teeth red, but can contribute to lasting discoloration. Similarly, dark beers, as well as those made with fruit, such as blackberries, can also cause deep staining.

In red wine, high levels of tannins create the dark wine stains on your teeth. Combined with the acidity found in plants, such as berries and grapes, which erode tooth enamel, these drinks are bad news for your teeth. Furthermore, tannins inhibit saliva production, leading to a dry mouth. This increases the risk of tooth decay and gum disease, as saliva neutralizes acid and helps to wash away harmful bacteria from the mouth.

You could swap darker hued drinks for lighter ones - red wine for white, for example. Although white wine is still acidic and will erode tooth enamel as much as red, you won’t get the dark staining that red wine produces. However, the problem with acid erosion on the teeth is that once the damage is done, the teeth are susceptible to discoloration whenever you consume staining foods.

Rinsing the mouth with water after drinking will stop the staining properties from taking hold, while neutralizing the damaging acid at the same time.

2. Tea

Do black tea stains stay in the enamel of our teeth? Yes! They're able to "get under" the tooth's surface because they are acidic and dissolve the minerals that hold it together.

You can help to strengthen teeth by taking vitamin C found in oranges and other citrus fruits. However, be mindful that if you do drink these, you need to nullify the corrosive effects of the citrus on the teeth by rinsing the mouth with water to remove the coating from your teeth. Alternatively, you can take a vitamin supplement.

3. Coffee

Coffee stains teeth in a similar way to tea, both through the presence of tannins from plants, and also because it reduces saliva production. The darker roasted coffees are even worse because their chemical compounds make them harder for our body to process.

If you have any coffee left at the bottom of your cup, pour it out instead of drinking it to reduce its effects on tooth enamel. Also, diluting coffee with milk is helpful. Dairy products strengthen tooth enamel, so adding milk to your coffee will be beneficial to your teeth.

Coffee Teeth Stains

4. Fruit Juice

Fruit and vegetable juices like orange juice, cranberry juice, or apple cider tend to be acidic. Acidity makes it hard for tooth enamel to fight off stains from food/drinks that may have been consumed. Using a straw can help to reduce the amount of acid coming into contact with your teeth.

5. Carbonated Drinks

If you drink a lot of cola you may notice your teeth gradually turning yellow. That's because soda is very acidic and erodes tooth enamel. Additionally, dark cola also contains chromogens. Similar to red and white wine, you could swap cola for lemonade, but it is still acidic and will erode tooth enamel as much as cola, even if it doesn’t cause staining like cola.

Rinse the mouth with water or use a straw to curtail the effects of acid on the teeth.

6. Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce's acidity is at least as bad, if not worse than coffee and wine. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to reduce the damage it does to your teeth. For example, drink water before or during a meal, brush the teeth with a fluoride toothpaste 30-60 minutes after eating tomato-based sauces. Why wait? Because acid softens tooth enamel and brushing while it is weakened could damage it.

Eating cheese after your meal is good for your teeth as it contains casein, a protein that strengthens tooth enamel.

7. Curry

Anything that stains your clothes can stain your teeth. Curries that contain turmeric can stain the teeth over time. However, eating curry with rice mops up some of the pigments and reduces the staining effect on your teeth.

8. Soy Sauce

Soy sauce can be a little harsh on teeth because of its high sodium content and acidic properties that corrode enamel the same way alcohol would. To avoid tooth sensitivity after consuming soy sauce - try rinsing your mouth with water to remove any excess residue from the surface of your teeth.

9. Fruit

Fruit high in chromogens, such as strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, tomatoes, and cherries can stain teeth with some fruits, such as grapes and pomegranates having the double whammy of tannins which makes them extra adherent to teeth.

10. Candy

Sour candy is loaded with sugar, but often contains large amounts of citric acids that can cause erosion of the tooth enamel. Some candy is highly pigmented, and if it stains your tongue, ity will likely stain your teeth too.

Stains from these bad boys are unavoidable, but you can lessen the detrimental effects on your teeth. Rinse the mouth with water to flush away harm; drink through a straw; add milk to tea and coffee; eat cheese after a meal and brush your teeth 30-60 minutes after eating. You can also use an at-home teeth whitener, like the Botanical Teeth Whitening Pen, to lighten your teeth up to 5 shades to keep your pearly whites in top condition.

Author bio:

Amanda has worked for over 20 in the healthcare sector, including a decade in the United Kingdom’s National Health Service. With considerable knowledge of the fields of dentistry and oral health, she has many years of experience writing high-quality informative dental content.