13 of the Worst Foods & Drinks That Stain Your Teeth

1 January 2023

When it comes to the appearance of your teeth, you want to keep them as bright a shade of white as possible. However, despite having a great oral hygiene routine, sometimes there are factors that influence you to being more likely to have stained teeth. A huge part of this are the foods and drinks that are the worst culprits for staining your teeth. In this article, we’re going to discuss what causes teeth to stain, the most common foods and drinks that cause staining, as well as what you can do to prevent yourself from having stained teeth or how you can seek help.

What causes teeth to stain

Within certain foods and drinks there are chemical compounds called chromogens which give certain foods and drinks their strong colour, which can stain our teeth. You may have also heard tannins be referred to in relation to teeth stains, which is a substance also prone to staining your teeth.

However, some people’s teeth are more susceptible to staining than others. These factors often include the level of your enamel protection, genetics in your family and levels of saliva production. The biggest factor though is a poor oral hygiene routine.

Most common foods that stain

This is not an exhaustive list of foods and drinks that can cause staining, but the reasons why these foods and drinks are on the list can indicate where you may wish to make changes to your nutrition.

  • Sugary hot drinks such as tea, coffee and hot chocolate. Even green tea makes its way onto this list as they all contain tannins. Hot water or milk on the other hand can make a good alternative.
  • Red wine – one of the worst offenders, red wine is both sugary and alcoholic which deals a double blow to your enamel.
  • Coke – contains a strong level of acids that can erode and reduce the hardness of the enamel.
  • Fruit juices – especially dark coloured ones such as cranberry, blueberry and grape juices. These juices have high levels of concentrated sugar which erodes your enamel.
  • Tomato based sauces – also contain high levels of sugar and acids.
  • Curries – because of the high levels of pigmentation found in the spices used to create curries, (especially turmeric) this can lead to deep staining if consumed regularly.
  • Balsamic vinegar – also high in acidity, balsamic vinegar also stains from its dark colouring.
  • Soy sauce – The same applies as balsamic vinegar.
  • Berries – despite being good for your diet, berries of any variety have deep pigmentation which splash all over your teeth as you eat them.
  • Beetroot – the same applies as Berries.
  • Energy and Sports drinks – Similar to coke, energy and sports drinks are so high in levels of acidity, sugar that some studies have suggested drinking these alone can cause your enamel to erode.
  • Sweets – are one of the worst offenders. You have a cocktail of high sugar intake, acidity, high levels of pigmentation and the ability to erode your enamel.
  • Pomegranates – Similar to berries and other vibrant fruits, you have a combination of high levels of sugar, acid and pigmentation.

Preventative methods

So how can you prevent your teeth from staining? Thankfully prevention is a lot easier than some other dental conditions. The first is by maintaining a good oral hygiene routine. This includes:

  • Brushing your teeth twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste
  • Flossing daily
  • Rinsing your mouth with water after eating or drinking something that may stain
  • Visiting your dentist at least twice a year or as often as they recommend
  • Avoid smoking cigarettes, vaping or hookah

However, there are some other tips in relation to your lifestyle that you can adopt. You could also:

  • Cut down the amount you consume foods and drinks that stain
  • Substitute these foods and drinks with alternatives – paler fruits and vegetables give you the same nutritional impact without the risk of staining
  • Use a straw when drinking cold drinks that can stain
  • Chew gum that contains xylitol (a sugar substitute as this can stimulate your saliva production
  • Eat plenty of crunchy fruits and vegetables. They boost saliva and act as a natural stain remover for your teeth. Apples, carrots and celery are great options for this.
  • Keeping hydrated

Stain removal methods

Making changes to your lifestyle will undoubtedly help your teeth return to a brighter shade of white, as well as maintaining  good oral hygiene. However discolouration of your teeth is only natural across time. In this instance, you may wish to consider teeth whitening.

The most popular type of whitening uses mouth-trays. These are custom-made moulds that you fill with a bleaching gel that we provide. You can wear these trays at night, gradually lightening your teeth at your own pace.

We recommend our home whitening kits as they are more effective and also allow us to keep a close eye on your teeth, which can help avoid side effects such as gum irritation and tooth sensitivity.

You can peruse our treatments here if you live locally to our practice in Pateley Bridge, Nidderdale.