Foods That Stain Your Teeth

Stained or yellowed are unseemly, make you look older and can affect your social life. Some of the biggest perpetrators are foods you eat and drink every day. Here are some of the biggest perpetrators that are staining your teeth.


Many people believe their teeth to be shiny, hard and impenetrable. What most people don’t realize is their teeth are actually very porous. Dark foods and beverages will seep into these microscopic holes and become affixed onto your tooth enamel. Most people in the US start off their day with a nice cup of coffee or two, be forewarned dark beverages like coffee can leave a stain on your teeth, making them looked yellowed or discolored.


Though many people believe coffee is the biggest perpetrator of tooth stains, tea is actually the worst offender. Tea contains tannins, which is an organic substance that can be found in drinks like wine and beer. Tannins taste a little bitter and have a brown or yellow color. They contain gallic acid, which is the same substance that is used in leather and ink manufacturing. Unlike tea, coffee is low in tannins, so it doesn’t stain quite as badly as its leaf-derived cousin. Black teas are the biggest offenders, while green and white teas aren’t as bad.

Red Wine

Like tea, red wine also contains the organic substance called tannins. Wine also contains chromogen, which is a substance that can form a colored compound. What’s surprising to most red and white wine drinkers is that white wine is just as likely to stain as red wine. Not only is white wine almost as harmful as red, but studies show that people who drink tea or another tannin-filled beverage after drinking white wine had more severe damage than those who had consumed another beverage before the tea.


Nicotine not only stains your teeth—it can stain your nails too. These stains remain on teeth long after you’ve quit smoking. On its own, nicotine does not have any color; however, when it comes in contact with oxygen, nicotine turns to a yellow color—and so do your teeth. Nicotine smoke can seep into the holes and crevices in your teeth, discoloring the enamel. It leaves a yellow and brown residue on your teeth that will change their color. Fortunately, the area of your teeth that nicotine stains is the outer part of your enamel, not the interior part. With the right maintenance, tobacco stains can be removed from your teeth.

Sugary Drinks

Sodas and sports drinks are both highly acidic substances and will erode the enamel from teeth. Unlike coffee or tea, they destroy enamel, which means they don’t leave the actual stains on your teeth; they just work to destroy the part of your teeth that can prevent stains from other substances. The acid in these drinks is so high, many people compare the acidic content in soda and sports drinks to the acid in a car’s battery.


It may be surprising to people, but berries can stain your teeth. Pigments from blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, cherries, grapes, pomegranates and other vibrantly colored fruits have a tendency to stick to the enamel on your teeth discoloring them over time. Paler berries such as: white grapes and white cranberries won’t stain your teeth, but they’re full of acid while will eat away at your enamel.

What You Can Do

While you might have already set the stage for enamel wear and tear and staining, there are small changes you can make that will reverse the effects of coffee, tea, wine, soda and tobacco. If you need to drink coffee and tea, try to only drink these beverages once a day. If you feel the need to drink sodas, limit your intake and use a straw so the liquid doesn’t touch your teeth directly. Carry a toothbrush with you so you can make it a habit to brush your teeth after meals.

You can also get a teeth whitening treatment . A teeth whitening treatment will remove the stains from your teeth using a safe treatment and ultra violet light. Find out more about this type of treatment to get back your bright smile.

If your teeth are badly stained or for faster results Art of Modern Dentistry we have a selection of custom teeth whitening services, such as In-Office Zoom ® Laser Whitening and At-Home Trays. We will carefully evaluate your teeth to decide the best course of action and closely monitor the progress. To learn more check out our Teeth Whitening Treatment page.

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