Top Foods That Stain Your Teeth

Everyone wants a radiant smile. We hope this guide to the top foods that stain your teeth helps you achieve a healthy and glowing smile.

If you want to keep your teeth glowing and bright, paying attention to which food or drink may cause stains will help. In addition, we will share a few tips to prevent staining if and when you do consume those foods.

Please remember, this post is educational and not intended to replace professional dental care.

There are a few types of tooth discoloration, including:

  • Extrinsic stains: These are stains on the surface of the teeth caused by tobacco use or highly pigmented foods.
  • Intrinsic stains: These stains are within the tooth, often resulting in a gray appearance. Some causes include injury, genetics, decay, damage, or too much fluoride.
  • Age-related: Tooth enamel wears away as a person ages, often resulting in a yellow-looking appearance.

While most of the foods and drinks may contribute to extrinsic staining, some can cause premature wearing down of the enamel over time.

Top Foods That Stain Your Teeth – Here’s The List Of Top 10 

Keep in mind that some of the foods that stain teeth may, in some cases, be healthy and nutritious. Foods or beverages that are either highly pigmented or acidic may contribute to staining. 

You may still choose to enjoy these foods; if so, you can still minimize the damage with good, consistent oral hygiene, and moderation. Let’s have a look at the top foods that stain your teeth:


Coffee lovers sometimes feel they must accept tooth discoloration as the price for enjoying their favorite daily brew.

The tannins in coffee can cause brownish staining over time. In addition, coffee is acidic, so it can wear down tooth enamel. 


Black tea also contains tannins that can stain the teeth. In the case of both coffee and tea, sipping these beverages throughout the day increases the risk of staining compared to enjoying a cup once a day. 

Red Wine

Wine, especially red wine, is another common tooth staining beverage. Red wine contains tannins and pigments that contribute to extrinsic staining. It is also acidic, potentially contributing to enamel damage. In contrast, white wine lacks the stain-causing pigment but is even more acidic than red wine. 

Berries and Some Fruits

The health benefits of fruit are undeniable. By eating fruit, you consume vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and other nutrients. Sadly, some fruits are both acidic and deeply pigmented. These include blackberries, pomegranates, and cherries. 

Colorful Vegetables

Your high school health teacher probably told you to get your five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. They also may have suggested you eat all the colors of the rainbow. This is excellent advice when it comes to your health. Sadly, some colorful yet healthy vegetables like beets contain pigments that can stain the teeth. 

We do not intend to scare you away from enjoying healthy fruits and vegetables; as we will share later, there are techniques you can use to consume them while protecting your teeth from stains. 

Popsicles and Candies

Here is a clue about how to recognize highly pigmented foods. If something stains your tongue or lips, then it also can help stain your teeth. Popsicles and hard candies like lollipops fit into this category. In addition, most candies are high in sugar and contribute to tooth decay in addition to staining. 

Balsamic Vinegar or Any Vinegar

The high acidity of vinegar breaks down your tooth enamel making your teeth more susceptible to stains. 

Deeply Colored Sauces

The sauce elevates a simple dish into something special. Many sauces and condiments also contribute to staining. Basically, this happens when eating dishes containing either acidic or highly pigmented sauces. Among the causes contributing to staining include soy sauce, curry, tomato sauce, or other tomato-based sauces. 

Soda Pop and Cola

Sugary beverages, including fruit juices, sodas, and many sports drinks, also stain the teeth. Soda is notorious for this as it is often colored, is high in sugar and other acids, wears down tooth enamel, and contributes to cavities. 

Other High Sugar and Acidic Foods

You may have noticed a consistent theme to this list of foods that put stains on your teeth. Other sugary or acidic foods also contribute to the premature breakdown of tooth enamel. Timing also matters; for example, slowly sipping cola throughout the day has a bigger impact than drinking one before brushing your teeth. 

Fighting Stains: Oral Hygiene and Moderation

As mentioned, moderation and good oral hygiene are crucial in fighting stains. Try these tips for a bright and beautiful smile:

  • If you must enjoy teeth-staining foods, do so in moderation. Consume them shortly before you brush your teeth to minimize the damage.
  • Rinse your mouth with water after eating acidic foods or beverages like coffee. The water helps dilute the acids. If you are out at a restaurant or party, consider drinking plain water after each glass of wine and rinsing your mouth with water.
  • Stay consistent with your oral hygiene plan, including brushing your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and flossing daily. Use toothpaste containing fluoride to help remineralize your teeth.
  • Consider using tooth whitening toothpaste if your dentist okays it for you. Always ask your dentist about tooth whitening products and treatments as some can contribute to dental damage when overused or used on already weakened tooth enamel.
  • Drink plain water to stay hydrated, dilute acids in the mouth from food, and avoid consuming sugary drinks. 

Next Steps: Professional Dental Care

The third part of our three-pronged plan to avoid staining your teeth is professional dental care. Stay current with your planned dental examinations and cleanings. 

During the examination, your dentist will note any changes in your oral hygiene and diagnose any issues that require treatment. During your cleaning, your hygienist or dentist will safely remove plaque and surface-level stains. If you need teeth whitening treatment, your dentist will also be able to help you find the most appropriate option for your teeth. 

At Southview Dentistry, we delight in keeping Charlotte-area smiles bright and confident. Since 2009, we have treated community members of all ages. If you need a new dentist, please contact Southview Dentistry today. 

If you feel your smile isn’t as bright as you would prefer, consider calling us to schedule a cleaning, examination, and consultation. We also offer top-notch cosmetic tooth whitening treatments.