Beverages and foods that stain teeth and how to counteract them

foods that stain teethYou just had your teeth whitened at the dentist, and now you want to treat yourself to a cup of coffee, but should you? If you want to keep your smile whiter longer, continue reading to learn about beverages and foods that stain teeth:

Coffee and tea

More than half of all Americans drink at least one cup of coffee every day. Because it is acidic and higher in chromogens (compounds with strong pigments that cling to enamel) than coffee, tea is a bigger stain culprit. Whether it is iced or brewed doesn’t matter as both have acid and tannins (plant-based compounds that make it easier for stains to stick to teeth).

Soft drinks

Dark or clear, soft drinks often have a similar acid level that will stain teeth over time. The acidity in such drinks also encourages further staining from foods.

Pasta sauce

Tomatoes in pasta sauce can stain your teeth due to their high acidity, bright red hue, and the fact that they cling to the teeth. Colgate recommends eating dark green vegetables, such as broccoli or kale, beforehand to create a protective film over the teeth.


Eating berries is great for your overall health, but it’s not great for the color of your teeth. Blackberries, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries are high in chromogens. According to WebMD, fruit that will stain your clothes will also stain your teeth.

How to avoid stains

The good news is you don’t have to give up your favorite foods or beverages in order to maintain a white smile. Just follow at least one of these tips every day:

  • Brush immediately – After eating berries or other staining foods, brush your teeth immediately afterward. One caveat: Wait at least 20 minutes after consuming acidic foods and beverages to avoid further damaging enamel.
  • Use a straw – Using a straw will help prevent the liquid from going all over your teeth as the straw pulls the liquid inside your mouth.
  • Rinse – After eating or drinking, swish water to help wash away any particles.

To learn more about taking care of your teeth, or to schedule an appointment, please contact us.