Fruits That Stain Teeth


fruits that stain teeth. Teeth staining is the number one problem many adults have with fruit and veg. We all know that eating oranges and tomatoes is healthy, but you can see the stains on your teeth almost immediately after eating them. There are many fruits and vegetables which stain teeth, but we compiled a short list of fruit that stain teeth.

 Foods That Stain Your Teeth

Tea and Your Teeth

Tea and Your Teeth


Tea is a healthy drink, but it may not be the best choice for keeping your teeth white. Dentists say the brew — especially the basic black variety — can cause more stains than coffee. Herbal and white teas can wear away the outer covering of your teeth, called enamel, and cause stains, too.

Sauces and Stains

Sauces and Stains


They may be tasty, but deeply colored sauces — think soy, tomato, and curry — also cause stains. Switch to light-colored or creamy sauces, and brush and rinse soon after eating.

Sports Drinks

Sports Drinks


Acidic foods and drinks can also affect your teeth. Sports or energy drinks can erode enamel, setting the stage for stains. Drinking water during workouts is a better choice.

Wine and White Teeth

Wine and White Teeth


If a food or drink can stain a tablecloth, it can stain your teeth. It’s no surprise that red wine, an acidic drink known for its dark, rich color, will discolor teeth. But white wine, which has even more acid, also can.

Fruits and Berries

Fruits and Berries


Blueberries, blackberries, cherries, pomegranates, and other vibrant fruits can stain teeth. So can juices and pies made from them. Paler fruits, like white grapes and white cranberries, are less likely to cause stains. But they do have acid that can soften or weaken your enamel.

Soda, Cola, and Other Carbonated Drinks

Soda, Cola, and Other Carbonated Drinks


Looking for a reason to cut back? Thanks to acids and dyes, these drinks — even light-colored ones — can lead to serious stains. Plus, the chemicals that add flavor can also eat away your enamel.

Tooth Discoloration: Foods That Stain Teeth and How to Avoid It

If you are dealing with stained teeth, it could be the foods that you are eating. Here are the top foods that stain teeth and how you can avoid it happening.

According to the American Dental Association, 1 out of every 4 adults are embarrassed to smile because of the appearance of their teeth. And nearly 1 in 5 adults have anxiety because of the appearance of their smile. 

Many people may be embarrassed if their teeth are stained or discolored. If you’re dealing with stained teeth, it could be the foods that you’re eating. In fact, many of your favorite food and drinks could be the culprit.

Want to learn more? Keep reading for the top 10 foods that stain teeth and what you can do to avoid teeth discoloration. 

Types of Teeth Discoloration

There are three reasons why your teeth become stained:

  • Intrinsic
  • Extrinsic
  • Age-related

Intrinsic stains occur when the dentin – the inner part of the tooth – becomes discolored. An example of this would be trauma to the tooth, which results in internal bleeding and discoloration. It could also occur if you received much fluoride at a young age. 

Extrinsic staining happens when the enamel, the outer part of the tooth, becomes discolored. This is from stain-causing drinks and food. Extrinsic stains can also come from smoking.

Age-related staining happens from both intrinsic and extrinsic reasons.

Over time, dentin becomes more yellow as you age. Your enamel also becomes thinner which shows more of the dentin. This is in addition to all the food and drinks that you consume which contribute to teeth stains. 

Top Foods That Stain Teeth

Let’s see the top foods that stain teeth. 

1. Coffee

Your teeth are porous. When you brush your teeth in the morning and then drink coffee right after, your teeth absorb the coffee and stains in the process. 

Black coffee stains the most. You can add milk or creamer to lighten the coffee and reduce teeth discoloration. 

2. Tea

Tea can stain your teeth more than coffee can. This is because tea contains tannins and other compounds such as theaflavins and thearubigins which contribute to discoloration. What’s more, green tea may have the most tannins. 

The stronger the tea brew, the more stains they can cause. 

3. Wine

Both red and white wine can cause stains. This is because they both contain acid. White wine actually has more acid than red. 

Unfortunately, acid is bad for your teeth. It can eat away at calcium and phosphate in your teeth. This results in thinner enamel and an increased risk of tooth decay and sensitivity. This can also lead to teeth discoloration. 

4. Tomato Sauce

Dark, red, tomato-based sauces can stain your teeth. You can opt for creamier, light-colored sauces.

Or, if you don’t want to miss out on the vitamins and health benefits of tomatoes, you can eat a salad prior to your main meal. The greens in the salad help protect your teeth from stains by coating them with a film. 

5. Carbonated Drinks

There are multiple reasons to ditch soda, but now here’s another. The acid and sugar stain your teeth. The best alternative is to skip the soda and replace with water. 

6. Berries

Many darker berries such as blueberries and cherries can stain teeth. Other fruits with dark hues include pomegranates and blackberries.

These fruits are also rich in antioxidants and are good for you. You can mix them with yogurt or milk and drink as a smoothie. 

7. Citrus Fruits

The acid from citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons can make dental enamel weaker, which can show stains more easily. 

8. Balsamic Vinegar

The dark hue of balsamic vinegar can also result in teeth discoloration. Balsamic vinegar also has a lot of acids. 

9. Candy 

Yet another reason to cut back on the sugar. All that sugar results in more acid in your mouth which contributes to staining. 

10. Soy Sauce

Since soy sauce is so concentrated, it can stain your teeth. Don’t use too much when cooking or eating out. 

Ways to Avoid Staining Teeth

You don’t have to give up all the items on this list to avoid staining your teeth. Here are some things you can do to keep your teeth shining brightly.

Rinse and Brush After

After drinking liquids that can stain your teeth such as coffee or tea, you should rinse your mouth with water to wash out the liquids. You should also brush your teeth after every meal to avoid food stains. 

If you consumed an acidic food or drink, you should wait about an hour before brushing your teeth. Your saliva has enzymes that prevent some of the acidic damage. 

Foods and Drinks That Can Stain Your Teeth

Your morning mocha or favorite spaghetti dish may be doing more than providing fuel, nutrition, and calories to your daily diet. Over time, foods and drinks with a dark pigment and high acidic content can also lead to stains on your teeth.

So what types of foods and beverages are the biggest tooth-staining culprits? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the top offenders that can cause your pearly whites to lose their sparkle and become discolored.

Which foods and drinks can stain your teeth?

Red wine

According to Joseph Salim, DMD, acidic foods and drinks like red wine can roughen and open up the pores within the enamel of your teeth.

“As the enamel becomes rougher and its overall surface area increases, this can pave the way for the colors found within foods and beverages we consume to become etched to the surface of your teeth,” Salim says.

He explains that this phenomenon can happen when drinking red wine. The acidic nature of this beverage can “etch” the enamel and allow the dark red particles of wine to adhere to its surfaces.


Your morning brew might be one of the main culprits behind your stained teeth.

Coffee contains tannins, a type of chemical compound called a polyphenol, that can cause color compounds to stick to your teeth.


Like coffee, tea contains tannins that can stain your teeth. The good news is that there’s a simple way to cut down on tea’s tooth-staining abilities.

One 2014 studyTrusted Source found that adding 2 percent milk to tea can significantly reduce the ability of tea to stain teeth. More specifically, researchers determined that casein, a protein in milk, was responsible for preventing tea-induced stains.

Berries and fruit juices

Blackberries, blueberries, pomegranates, and other dark berries contain a dark pigmentation that can cause staining on teeth.

Salim says tiny organic particles can penetrate the pores in your tooth enamel and remain attached. If your teeth have a higher porosity, this will lead to more persistent stains. That’s why your teeth can turn purple and may continue to have a purplish hue after eating blueberries.

Like deep-colored fruits, dark-pigmented juices — like cranberry, grape, beet, pomegranate, and blueberry — can also discolor your teeth.

Dark cola

Regularly sipping on a can of sugar-laden cola can also cause your teeth to become discolored. That’s because acidic drinks like soda can cause erosion of your enamel.

“When enamel is eroded, it won’t only make the tooth more susceptible to staining. It will also allow the dentin of the tooth, which is naturally darker and yellower than the enamel, to show through,” Salim explains.

Energy and sports drinks

According to one 2012 studyTrusted Source, both energy drinks and sports drinks are associated with the breakdown of enamel, which contributes to stains.

This study also indicated that energy drinks seem to have higher acidity and enamel dissolution associated with them than sports drinks.

Tomato-based sauces

If you want to keep your pearly whites looking their best, you may want to take precautions when eating tomato-based sauces like the kind you typically have on pizza or spaghetti.

Not only are tomato-based sauces bright in color, but they’re also acidic. Rinsing your mouth out with water after eating this kind of sauce can help prevent your teeth from getting stained.

Soy sauce and balsamic vinegar

Dark-pigmented sauces like soy sauce and balsamic vinegar are also known to stain teeth.

According to Rene Y. Dell’Acqua, DDS, the high acid content in foods like vinegar can cause the enamel to break down, allowing a stain to set in.

“Basically anything you put into your mouth that can stain a linen napkin has the ability to cause stains on your teeth,” she says.

Sweets and candy

Sweets and candy, especially dark varieties like chocolate, can cause mild staining to your teeth, Salim says.

Additionally, a lot of hard and gummy-type candies contains colored dyes that can settle on your enamel.

What else can stain your teeth?

Your favorite foods and beverages might not be the only thing to blame for tooth stains. If you’ve noticed discoloration on your teeth, the following offenders could be responsible, too.

Tobacco products

Tobacco stains can be caused by smoking cigarettes, pipes, cigars, or chewing tobacco.

Salim explains tobacco products can affect the color of your teeth because of the presence of the following two chemical compounds:

  • nicotine, which is colorless but gives teeth a yellowish color in the presence of oxygen
  • tar, which is naturally dark

Certain medications

“You can get intrinsic stains from antibiotics such as tetracycline if taken before the age of 7,” says Jennifer Jablow, DDS.

“Tetracycline chelates the calcium deposition while your adult teeth are forming. This can cause bands or stripe-like dark discoloration that can be very hard to get rid of,” she explains.

Wear and tear

Wear and tear on your teeth over time can also cause your teeth to look discolored. After years of brushing your teeth, the enamel gradually wears down and gets thinner. This allows the yellowish-colored dentin underneath to show through, which can make your teeth look darker and stained.


An infection in your tooth’s pulp — the soft core or tissue beneath your tooth’s enamel and dentin layers — can cause your tooth to become discolored.

Advanced tooth decay can cause a breakdown of the pulp which, in turn, can damage the root of your tooth and give it a grayish-black appearance. A root canal may be needed to clean out the decay and infection.

Trauma to a tooth

Trauma to a baby tooth can affect the growing adult tooth, which can sometimes make the adult tooth look yellow if the enamel doesn’t form properly.

Trauma can also make an adult tooth look darker if the enamel chips away, exposing the naturally yellower dentin layer underneath.

What can you do to prevent staining?

Preventing stains — or at least minimizing them — is possible with a few at-home tricks and tips. If you’re dealing with stubborn stains and discoloration, you may need to see your dentist for an in-office procedure.

Stain prevention tips

  • Reduce or avoid stain-causing culprits. While not the most popular option, cutting back on stain-causing food and drinks can help prevent tooth discoloration.
  • Brush your teeth after consuming a tooth-staining food or drink. Make a point to brush and floss soon after you’ve consumed food or drinks that can discolor your teeth.
  • Swish with water after consuming a tooth-staining food or drink. If you can’t get to a toothbrush right away, rinsing your mouth with water can help wash some of the substance away. Just make sure the water washes over your teeth.
  • Drink through a straw. When drinking dark-colored juices, coffee, tea, sodas, or energy drinks, consider using a straw. This can prevent the liquid from making contact with your teeth.
  • Avoid tobacco products. Talk with your doctor if you need help cutting back or eliminating tobacco products.
  • Try an in-office whitening procedure. Your dentist can whiten your teeth with an in-office whitening procedure that uses high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide. Your dentist can also make custom trays that deliver prescription-strength whitening gel to your teeth. With this at-home treatment, you’ll wear the trays for up to 1 hour a day for a few weeks to whiten your teeth.
  • Try an over-the-counter whitening kit. An over-the-counter whitening kit can help lift some stains, but these products don’t work as well as dentist-prescribed whiteners.

Discolored Teeth: Five Foods That Cause Stains

We’ve all heard it from our dentists: if you want to reduce staining to your teeth, cut back on soda, coffee, and sweets. The sugar and acid in these popular drinks and snacks are common culprits for brown and yellow stains on the surface of your teeth, and may increase your risk of tooth decay. However, there are a handful of other edibles that may stain your teeth just as much – if not more – than the commonly accepted culprits. Test your Tooth Stain IQ, and discover a few ways to prevent tooth staining so that you can still enjoy the foods you love.


The health benefits of tea are manifold, but it’s not so great for your teeth. Some varieties of tea, especially black teas like English Breakfast and Earl Grey, can cause more staining than coffee. But even white teas or herbal teas without caffeine can wear down your tooth enamel, which can make your teeth more vulnerable to stains.


Wine is another classic culprit of stained teeth. Red wine, the darker and richer, can stain your teeth significantly (along with your clothes, your linens, and your carpet). However, its cousin white wine is actually more acidic, and can wear down your enamel and stain your teeth as well. If you’re drinking a lot of white wine in hopes of avoiding the dark stains of red wine, you may consider switching it up more frequently.


Unfortunately, avoiding tea and wine isn’t a guarantee that your teeth will remain stain-free. Dark sauces like tomato sauce, soy sauce, or even teriyaki, can cause stains on the surface of your teeth. If you’re concerned about eating a significant amount of marinara, try switching to a cream sauce of a lighter color to reduce tooth staining.

15 Foods That Stain Your Teeth

woman biting into apple with teeth

From lifted confidence to better dentist checkups, keeping your pearly whites healthy can have tangible, positive effects on your everyday life. But while expensive treatments and sticky whitening strips can help alter the color of your teeth, keeping your mouth healthy by brushing and flossing daily—in addition to avoiding certain foods—can help prevent that dreaded yellowing in the first place.

If you’re on a quest for a beaming smile and want to avoid taking drastic measures to get there, take note of these stain-causing foods. And while we have beauty efforts in mind, why not check out these 21 Foods That Help Fade Stretch Marks, too?

This is the Best Way to Remove Stains From Your Favorite Shirt



We love berries but have some bad news when it comes to your beauty goals. Due to their darker hues, berries may actually cause staining of the teeth when eaten regularly. To fight against the stains, consider brushing right after you enjoy your berries. “Make sure you’re brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and using fluoride. Fluoride strengthens your teeth against those acid attacks caused by eating,” says Dr. Kim Harms, spokesperson for the American Dental Association. This is important after you munch on something like berries or popcorn, in which particles can easily get stuck between your teeth. Because honestly, berries are awesome; they’re one of the 15 Most Antioxidant-Packed Foods!



Your morning cup of joe might not be negotiable in your mind, but if your teeth have been looking a bit dull lately, that latte might very well be the reason why. Coffee contains acidic polyphenols called tannins that can lead to staining and discoloration. Plus, coffee is also very acidic to the body and acidic foods can be more harmful to your oral health and lead to tooth decay.



We adore tea at ETNT—so much so that we created The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse with food journalist Kelly Choi. (Test panelists lost about to 10 pounds in a week!) But there’s a caveat to all those tea benefits; tea can have stain-causing tannins. Plus, the frequency of your sipping on that brew matters, too. “One thing that people don’t realize is that, when it comes to cavity formation for your teeth, it’s not just what you’re eating, but how often you’re eating it,” says Harms. If you’re constantly sipping on coffee or tea throughout the day, you’re more prone to discoloration and acid attacks on your teeth. To fight against tea stains, research published in the International Journal of Dental Hygiene says to add a little milk to your cup! The casein in milk was found to significantly prevent and reduce tea-induced stains.


Red Wine

Those same troublesome tannins exist in your favorite glass of vino, too. However, there are ways to enjoy the benefits of wine and alcohol and keep your smile radiant. Pair your glass of Pinot Noir with a handful of almonds to help counteract staining. Experts believe that simply the act of chewing hard foods like nuts can help scrub away plaque from teeth and mitigate staining. Chewing them can also help stimulate saliva which may neutralize those harmful acid attacks.



Feeling Indian food tonight? Although the exotic spices may take your tastebuds for a ride, those same flavorings may also tint your teeth, thanks to their deep pigmentation. The best way to prevent staining here is to make curry an “every once in awhile” treat; your still-glowing teeth will thank you.


Hard Candies

Hard candies like Jolly ranchers might be one of the worst foods for your teeth. Their stickiness can get stuck between your teeth and become a major feeding ground for bacteria, which can release acid that leads to tooth decay. However, there are some expert-approved sweets you can snack on with less concern. “If you’re going to eat candy, it’s better to eat something like dark chocolate that’s not sticky—but preferably varieties with as little sugar as possible,” says Harms.


Tomato Sauce

“Anything that can stain your carpet can stain your teeth,” says Harms. Spaghetti and meatballs may have made their way into the regular dinner rotation, but if you’re at all concerned about the color of your teeth, you may want to reconsider. How often you eat something has the greatest effect on your teeth, rather than what you’re actually eating, advises Harms. (Psst! If you love pasta, find out The #1 Best Pasta for Your Body!)


Cherry Juice

All fruit juice puts your teeth at risk of discoloration, especially when the fruits are richly pigmented like cherries or berries. Not to mention, fruit juice is often stacked high in sugar, which can act as a breeding site for bacteria in your mouth and lead to more dental damage and discoloration.

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