10 foods to avoid that stain teeth preventing white smiles

  • By Regenerate Enamel Science

Maybe you like to start the day with a frothy cappuccino, or wind down in the evening with a glass of red? Perhaps you’re a fan of nutrient-filled berries or like to consume sports drinks when hitting the gym? These are all regular items of consumption for many people, but did you know that they may be affecting the whiteness of your smile?

In this article we’ll explore what foods stain teeth and what you can do to stop and prevent teeth staining.

  1. Tea and coffee

An unsurprising entry on the list of foods and drinks that stain teeth, tea and coffee are common staining agents consumed on a regular basis. Both drinks contain tannins, which can help get rid of bacteria, but are also things that stain your teeth as they allow dyes or coloured compounds to stick better to enamel. It is worsened by the fact that they are often drunk at hot temperatures which can damage to teeth.

Drinking less tea and coffee would help avoid staining your teeth. If you can’t give up your morning caffeine fix, there is some evidence to suggest that adding milk to these drinks helps to counteract the staining¹.

  1. Red wine

Teeth can turn a soft purple colour after you drink red wine, making it one of the most common drinks that stain teeth. Over time, this type of drink can cause your teeth to become more brown, blue, grey or purple in colour. This discoloration happens because red wine contains acids, tannin, and natural dyes.

To avoid discolouration and staining from red wine, try drinking water after taking a sip of wine, to help wash away any lingering tannins and acid.

  1. Cola


Glass of coke

When it comes to things that stain your teeth, cola and fizzy are one of the top culprits². Phosphoric acid that is present in most sodas is harmful to the enamel of teeth and causes erosion, but it is the dye in soft drinks that causes the staining. To avoid staining from cola, try drinking through a straw as this helps to prevent the liquid having direct contact with your teeth.

  1. Sports drinks

Like fizzy drinks, sports drinks can contribute to enamel erosion, helping provide an easier surface for stains to appear.

Try drinking water during workouts to avoid any unnecessary enamel erosion.

  1. Curry

When it comes to learning what foods stain your teeth, anything with deep colour will be a contender, hence why curries aren’t your friend when it comes to keeping teeth white. Not only are curries highly saturated in colour, but they’re also acidic, making your teeth more susceptible to staining.

It is recommended that you eat dark green vegetables before eating curry as these foods can help to create a protective film over teeth.

  1. Tomato sauce

While tomatoes are a great choice to supply your body with nutrients, the pigment that causes their deep-red colour can stain teeth.

  1. Balsamic vinegar and soy sauce

These dark sauces come under the category of foods that stain teeth as they are both highly acidic and deeply pigmented. The darkish colour tends to stick to teeth for long after you’ve eaten, which can quickly lead to noticeable discoloration.

  1. Beetroots

When eating beetroots, you’ve got to be careful not to get them on your clothing in case of staining and it’s the same when it comes to your teeth. Beetroot is highly pigmented and so can easily stain teeth.

  1. Blueberries

They may be rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and inflammation-fighting compounds but the dark tint of blueberries makes them a top food that stains teeth.  They are full of chromogens and can cause³.

Drinking water or milk can combat the staining effect of berries. In addition, eating hard cheese can neutralize berry acid.

  1. Sweets

If you have ever eaten a sweet only to find that it has turned your tongue a different colour, then it is likely to have had a staining effect on your teeth as well. This is normally because of the food dyes used in the sweets, and the sugar will only make the staining worse as it will erode the enamel.

The good news is, as long as you limit your intake of these foods, there shouldn’t be any long-lasting damage.

What can you do about teeth staining?

Mature woman smiling with teeth

While there are many foods and drinks that stain teeth, they are lots of ways to prevent the impact of teeth staining and improve the appearance of teeth. If your teeth are already stained, you may wish to whiten your teeth, either at-home or professionally. Speak to your dentist about specific ways you can help protect your teeth, but some things you can do to help include:

  • Drink water: Regularly drinking water, particularly after consuming drinks and food that stains teeth, will help to remove any lingering staining agents.
  • Drink with a straw: Using a straw to drink staining drinks can help prevent teeth staining by minimising the contact these drinks have with your teeth.
  • Strengthen your enamel: Enamel is the white, visible outer layer of your teeth, and strengthening your enamel will help to protect against staining. REGENERATE Enamel Science™ toothpaste is powered by an exclusive and clinically proven NR-5™ technology. NR-5™ able to regenerate tooth enamel mineral*, reversing the early enamel erosion process, keeping teeth healthy and strong.
  • Regularly use mouthwash: Using mouthwash helps to remove any lingering food and bacteria which can stain teeth and erode enamel. REGENERATE Enamel Science™ Advanced Foaming Mouthwash is particularly effective, as it releases micro-bubbles that reaches between the gaps of the teeth and around the whole mouth.

As you can see, there are lots of popular foods and drinks that can contribute to teeth staining. However, through conscious consumption of these products, as well as maintaining a good oral hygiene routine, you should be able to keep your teeth sparkling white.

The advice in this article does not constitute medical advice; it is solely available for information purposes. We recommend that you consult your dentist If you are experiencing any dental problems.

*Acts on early invisible stages of enamel erosion by restoring its mineral content and micro hardness with regular use. Clinically proven.



1 NIH – Prevention of Tea-Induced Extrinsic Tooth Stain

2 NCBI – Dental Erosion and Severe Tooth Decay Related to Soft Drinks

3 NCBI – The Effect of Light-Activation Sources on Tooth Bleaching

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