As dentistry and awareness of oral health have advanced, we’ve become increasingly aware of teeth staining foods and drinks. And, with teeth whitening becoming an increasingly-popular trend, it’s important to know what helps your pearly whites – and what stains them.

We’ve put together a list of 24 foods and drinks that can cause discolouration and staining so that you know exactly what stains your teeth. 

24 Teeth Staining Foods And Drinks

  1. Coffee

It should come as no surprise that coffee is on the list. Coffee, like some other drinks on this list, contains tannins, which cause staining. While there’s some speculation, there has been some evidence to back the case that adding milk to your coffee can help to counteract staining.

  1. Tea

Tea, especially black teas, also contain tannins, which help stains to stick to teeth. As with coffee, adding milk can help lessen staining, but adding sugar won’t help.

  1. Red Wine

The most well-known tannin-containing drink, red wine also contains a mixture of natural dyes and acids, which can eat away at the tooth’s outer layer (enamel), which leaves it exposed, and vulnerable to staining.

  1. White Wine

Unlike red wine, white wine isn’t made using skins and stems, which means there’s a much lower level of tannins. However, the level of acids in white wines can definitely cause damage to your teeth by eroding the enamel and leaving your teeth exposed and vulnerable to staining.

  1. Sodas

The artificially-coloured, high sugary drinks we all love can cause serious damage to your teeth thanks to the dyes and sugar, which (once again) erode enamel, and cause discolouration if you’re not careful – including sugar-free drinks.

  1. Juice

Dark-coloured fruit juices (think cranberry, blueberry, and cherry) can also leave stains on your teeth.

  1. Sports Drinks

Sports drinks are also high in acids, which can erode your enamel, leaving your teeth open for staining.

  1. Curry

While we all love a good curry, they contain pigmentations which can soak into the porous surfaces of your teeth.

  1. Citrus

Citrus-based foods like lemons, oranges, and grapefruits might be great for your immune system but can be horrible for your teeth. The acids in citruses (which are plentiful) are what stain your teeth

  1. Berries

If it stains as a juice, it’ll stain as a food.

Dark berries can stain teeth easily, but swishing with water after eating is a great way to ensure that you don’t have to cut them entirely out of your diet.

  1. Sweets

As far as teeth-staining foods go, sweets are high-up on the list.

Sweets (especially artificially coloured ones) are the perfect combination of sugar and dye to leave your teeth stained. If it can stain your tongue, then it’s definitely able to stain your teeth.

  1. Tomato Sauce

Tomato-based sauces are definitely high in acids. While you don’t need to cut out pizza and pasta altogether, it may be good to look at cream-based sauces to avoid staining and tooth damage.

  1. Balsamic Vinegar

Dark pigment and acidic vinegars (both found in balsamic vinegar), erode enamel and set your teeth up for stains galore.

  1. Grapes

The source of wines (one of the drinks that stain your teeth), grapes are rich in dark pigments which can get into the porous surfaces of your teeth and stain them in the process.

  1. Beets

If you’ve ever handled beets (cutting, prepping, eating), then you know that beets stain.

  1. Popsicles/ Ice Lollies

Like juice, popsicles and ice lollies are made using acidic fruits and contain sugars that are damaging to teeth.

  1. Soy Sauce

Once again, another sauce that can cause major tooth staining because of the amount of very dark pigmentation used in making.

  1. Pomegranates

While they are rich in antioxidants, pomegranates are (surprisingly) another food that stains teeth owing to their dark pigments.

  1. Starchy Foods

Starchy foods like pasta and bread are beloved by bacteria, which can cause tooth decay, leading to… you guessed it, staining.

  1. Food Colouring

Chemicals used in food colouring are designed to change pigments, which makes it no surprise that it’s one of the biggest tooth-stainers out there.

  1. Guacamole

Guacamole is also on the list of teeth staining foods and drinks owing to its ability to form plaque and allow stains to stick – although it isn’t permanent.

  1. Mustard

Much like tomato sauce, mustard is rich in dark pigments.

  1. Colourful Spices

One of the key ingredients in curries, colourful spices like tumeric, are what stains your teeth in curries and other spiced dishes.

  1. Red Meat

Red meat isn’t just a staining food because of its colour – it’s also high in natural acids.

How Can I Avoid Staining?

While it may seem daunting given the list of what stains your teeth, there are ways to lessen, prevent or completely avoid staining your teeth.

Look for alternatives 

Instead of your usual cup of tea, try herbal tea or hot flavoured water.


Rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking.

Use a straw

Sodas and fruit juices can avoid your teeth altogether if you make use of a straw.

Chew gum

Gum that contains xylitol can stimulate saliva, which cleanses your mouth.

Eat crunchy foods

Apples, carrots, and celery are great for scrubbing teeth and boosting saliva production.

Brush regularly

In conclusion, while many foods and drinks can stain teeth, understanding which items to watch out for and how to care for your teeth can help keep your smile bright. Regular dental checkups and professional dental cleanings are crucial as they not only assist in removing surface stains but also help in maintaining overall oral health. By being mindful of these staining foods and maintaining a thorough dental care routine, which includes regular professional cleans, you can enjoy a whiter, brighter smile. Contact My New Smile Altrincham today for all your dental needs.