From Yum to Yellow Teeth: The 5 Worst Foods and Drinks for Staining Teeth

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    First impressions are everything. And there’s no better way to strike a positive chord than with a dazzling smile. But that dazzling smile can be hard to keep when there are everyday foods that stain teeth.

    Want to keep your teeth looking their best? Read up on which drinks and food can stain your teeth the most.

    What is Teeth Staining?

    In the simplest terms, teeth staining is when your teeth are any color other than their pearly whites. These other unsightly colors found on your teeth may be black, yellow or brown. Teeth develop these stains either on or below the tooth’s surface.

    Teeth staining can be caused by a number of health factors ranging from poor brushing to medication. Teeth staining falls into two main categories: extrinsic and intrinsic stains. Read further to find out how each of these categories can rob you of your beautiful smile.

    Extrinsic stains

    Extrinsic staining occurs when particles accumulate on top of the tooth enamel that covers each tooth. Compounds that give food and drink their natural color then cover your teeth. Acids found in food and drink can also wear down your tooth enamel and make you susceptible to staining.

    Intrinsic stains

    Intrinsic staining occurs below the tooth’s surface in an area called the dentin. Intrinsic stains are usually caused by medications like tetracycline or other antibiotics. Some acne medicines may also create intrinsic stains.

    Five Worst Drinks and Foods That Stain Teeth

    Food and drinks that can stain your clothes can discolor your teeth. If something changes your tongue’s color, that will also stain your teeth. Here’s a list of the five biggest culprits:

    Tea and Coffee

    Both tea and coffee stains teeth because they contain tannins which gives them their dark color. Coffee is also very acidic and can modify your mouth’s pH balance. If you eat any other acidic foods after your coffee, you can damage your teeth even more quickly.


    Light and dark sodas are also acidic and can erode tooth enamel quickly. Regular and sugar-free sodas also cause discoloration and might boost further staining from the other foods you eat. Eliminating this beverage from your diet can improve both oral and overall health.


    Curry’s bright yellow pigment comes from the spice turmeric. This yellow pigmentation has a high staining factor. It can slowly discolor teeth over time.

    Some people get confused over turmeric’s medicinal value. They ask “is turmeric unhealthy” or “does turmeric stain teeth?” Turmeric will stain your teeth but it can also prevent gingivitis and gum disease.


    Berries are packed with many health benefits, such as antioxidants. But they’re also good at staining your teeth as well. Cranberries and raspberries can discolor teeth whether you drink them as juice or eat them whole.

    Prevention Tips

    Proper oral health care is always your number one defense against foods that stain teeth. Proper brushing can protect enamel and prevent unsightly black stains on teeth that comes from tartar buildup. You can also try a few of these tricks to prevent tooth stains.

    Sip sodas and juices through a straw to keep them away from your teeth. Swallow them quickly so that they don’t linger inside your mouth. Eat crunchy fruits and veggies to boost saliva and remove stains quicker.

    Don’t forget to check out our blog for other prevention ideas on how to keep teeth healthy and clean. When you do, you’ll be ready to share your smile with the world.