Foods That Stain Your Teeth – The Good, The Bad, and The Worst

Coffee StainsHaving whiter teeth and a beautiful smile has now become an aesthetic concern. Today, people are now looking for different ways to whiter teeth. This indeed is a subconscious process that makes them over-obsessed about the physical appearance. It is quite obvious for a person to feel the need to look good and be appreciated.

Human beings are blessed with pearly white teeth by birth. However, the color of our teeth changes over time due to our food habits and other such contributing factors.

The change in color is so obvious that it affects the physical appearance dramatically.  There are various factors contributing to discolored teeth and there are different types of discolorations or stains as well.

Foods that Stain your Teeth

Our teeth speak a lot about our hygiene and overall nutrition. If you actually want to have a spotless smile free from any stains and discolorations, you’ll have to take care of what you eat. You must reduce the consumption of all such foods in order to have a beautiful and pearly white smile.

Depending on foods we eat, our teeth can be damaged dramatically. Nonetheless, if you want to have literally white flawless smile, you’ll have to make the necessary modifications. Although teeth whiteners and other whitening methods have become increasingly popular these days, you can try making subtle changes to enhance the color of your teeth.

The Worst:

Some of the worst foods that cause stains in teeth are:


Tea is one of the worst stain causers. Black teeth stain your teeth to form dark patches.  Although it is said that green tea and tea in general is very good for health and has antioxidant properties, it is not really good for your dental health. Tea, whether hot or cold, is equally bad for your teeth. It actually causes extensive damage to your tooth enamel and also influences the overall color of your teeth consequently.


Coffee is yet another worst stain-causing beverage. Caffeine, when consumed regularly, can leave dark patches on your teeth. However, there are people who simply cannot give up their morning cup and they in turn take those stains as add-ons. Black coffee or your regular espresso can give you stain for ever.


Cola contains phosphoric citric acid and sugar that can actually cause severe staining and tooth decay. Also, the temperature of cola (as cola is usually chilled or cold when consumed) tends to make your teeth increasingly porous. It isn’t good for your health either. In fact, any dark beverage can have such an effect on your teeth. Beverages or foods that stain your shirt can as well stain your teeth – that’s the bottom line!

Red Wine

Red wine contains poyphenols that stains teeth. Furthermore, red wine also contains alcohol having acidic properties that can easily wear your tooth enamel. But, one good part about red wine is that it helps in reducing the risks of developing periodontal diseases. Therefore, you can have red wine, but in moderation. And after you consume red wine, you must thoroughly rinse your mouth to prevent stains.

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is the darkest of the sauces and it used in almost all the Chinese preparations. Undeniably, soy sauce has a great taste, but it also is very harmful for your teeth. Soy sauce contains strong pigments that stick to your teeth, allowing different staining pigments to penetrate into the enamel.

Cranberry Juice

Dark juices, especially cranberry juice has higher concentrations of pigments along with lots of sugar, quite similar to cola. This makes your teeth yellow or dark grey in color.

There isn’t anything called ‘bad’ foods for teeth; either you have the worst staining foods or you have some good foods that can prevent staining.

Good Foods for your Teeth:

Some of the foods that help in preventing stains are:


Strawberries are useful for your teeth. They can make your teeth whiter over time. You can smash strawberries with baking soda and leave this mixture for 5 minutes to settle down. If this is done twice or thrice everyday, you can get whiter teeth over a month.

Crunchy Vegetables

Fresh crunchy vegetables like carrots are very helpful in maintaining the color of your teeth. This cannot be achieved with cooked vegetables or vegetable curries.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice helps in lightening the color of teeth, quite similar to its effects on hair. Lemon juice, when blended with salt and baking soda can give you dramatic results in a very short time.

Other such good foods include orange peel, apple cider vinegar, apples, water, herbal tea oranges etc.

Causes of Tooth Discoloration

There are different types of tooth stains that affect your smile – Extrinsic stains and Intrinsic stains.

Extrinsic stains affect the outer surface of teeth, as the name suggests, and it caused due to over-exposure to certain foods, dark-colored beverages, smoking and tobacco. Superficial stains can be minor and can as well be removed by brushing regularly. However, the stubborn stains are extremely difficult to get rid of. For such stains, treatments like teeth bleaching become essential.

Persistent stains often penetrate the dentin and are sometimes very difficult to remove. Intrinsic stains, on the other hand, affect the interior part of the teeth. These stains are caused due to age, trauma and medications. Intrinsic stains have been considered to be the most difficult ones to be eliminated. However, the notion seems to have changed today with the latest advancements in the field of cosmetic dentistry.

The most prominent cause of tooth stains is undoubtedly the foods that we eat. Let us learn some more about the different foods that affect the color of our teeth.