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Food & Drinks That Can Stain Your Teeth

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A close up of a woman's teeth with the left half of the denture stained brown.

Do you want to keep your teeth shining bright? We all do! A regular dental exam and cleaning once every 6 months can help you maintain a healthy and whiter smile

However, sometimes, we consume food and drinks that can ruin our beautiful smiles. Food and drinks that can stain your teeth include tea, coffee, wine, berries, and tomato-based sauces, to name a few. They can lead to discoloration and erosion of the tooth’s enamel.

But don’t worry, it’s not all bad news. There are ways to keep your teeth white and still enjoy your favourite food and drinks. 

Types of Teeth Stains

Your teeth might seem solid and impermeable, but their surface is actually composed of tiny pores and microscopically small ridges that can trap pigments from foods and drinks. Types of teeth stains can include:

  • Extrinsic Teeth Stains: These occur when pigmented residue from foods and drinks stains the tooth’s surface or enamel. Extrinsic tooth stains typically respond well to regular dental hygiene and dental cleaning.
  • Intrinsic Teeth Stains: These occur below the tooth’s surface when stain-causing particles affect the inside of the enamel. Intrinsic teeth stains are harder to remove with general dental hygiene practices and may require whitening. 
  • Age-Related Teeth Stains: These include extrinsic and intrinsic tooth discolouration. With age, the dentin or inside of the tooth discolours, and the enamel becomes thinner. 

Foods & Drinks That Stain Your Teeth

Teeth staining doesn’t happen immediately. But over time, the pigments and acidic content in foods and drinks can stain your teeth. 

Coffee, Tea & Matcha

As much as we love our daily cup of coffee or tea, they’re best to avoid drinking in large quantities. Coffee, tea, and other dark-coloured beverages, such as matcha, can adhere to teeth and stain them. 

These beverages contain tannins, a chemical compound that can cause colour compounds to stick to your teeth. To reduce teeth staining with tea or coffee, add some milk. Milk can reduce the staining properties of coffee and tea ingredients.


Berries, including blueberries, blackberries, and pomegranates, are beneficial to your health because they contain vitamins and nutrients. But they’re also packed with dark pigments that can stain your teeth. 

These pigments can penetrate the pores in your name, causing staining. People with highly porous enamel can have more persistent stains with these foods. 

Like berries, dark-pigmented fruit juices, including beet, cranberry, and blueberry, can also stain teeth. Try rinsing your mouth with water after you consume these fruits to help reduce the risk of staining.


If it can stain a white tablecloth, it can stain your teeth. Both varieties of wine, red and white, can cause staining and erosion of the tooth’s enamel. Red wine has dark pigments and is acidic, which makes the enamel rougher and allows the stain to adhere more to the tooth’s surface.

Dark Colored Sodas

Dark-coloured sodas like Coca-Cola and Pepsi are acidic, loaded with sugar and have artificial colours. The acidity can cause enamel erosion and make it more susceptible to staining. You can limit your intake of these beverages and rinse your mouth with water after drinking them.

Curry & Tomato-Based Sauces

We all love a good curry or pasta dish with a tomato-based sauce, but they’re known culprits for staining our teeth due to their high acidity levels and coloured spices. Rinse your teeth with water after consuming these sauces, or try reducing the sauce’s acidity level by adding cream.

Soy & Balsamic Vinegar

Soy sauce and balsamic vinegar are dark-coloured sauces known to stain teeth. Balsamic vinegar is also acidic and sticks to your teeth, thus affecting your tooth’s enamel. 


Sweets and candy, including hard and soft gummies with coloured dyes, can stain your teeth by settling on the enamel. Tobacco and some medications can also stain your teeth. 

A young woman standing in front of a mirror brushing her teeth with a toothbrush.

How to Treat Tooth Stains

Teeth whitening can treat teeth stains, offering you a way to restore the brightness of your smile. Teeth whitening can involve surface whiteners and bleach-based whitening. In-office teeth whitening is typically more effective than at-home whitening kits you buy, as professional whitening can offer dramatic results, whitening teeth several shades in as little as an hour. 

Contact the Shawnessy Dental team to discuss a teeth whitening solution or custom whitening for at-home use.  

How to Prevent Teeth Staining

While some foods can stain your teeth, other foods can help keep your teeth stain-free, including:

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumbers

It’s not always possible to avoid stain-causing foods and drinks. Here’s what you can do instead to help prevent staining:

  • Cut back on foods and drinks that stain your teeth.
  • Brush or floss your teeth after consuming foods and drinks that can stain your teeth.
  • Drink or rinse your mouth with water after consuming pigmented foods or drinks if you don’t have a toothbrush handy.  
  • Drink through a straw to prevent dark-coloured liquids from contacting or sticking to your teeth.
  • Avoid tobacco products.
  • Visit your dentist for regular professional cleanings.
  • Speak to your dentist about teeth whitening. 

Address Teeth Stains with Shawnessy Dental Centre

You can enjoy food and drinks without sacrificing your radiant smile by combining good oral hygiene practices, better food choices, and professional care. 

Book an appointment with Shawnessy Dental Centre if you have concerns about teeth staining. We can discuss your goals and offer dental care and services suited to your needs. 

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