The Top 10 Teeth Staining Foods & How to Avoid Them

Article by Dr Raha Sepehrara

40% of the British population are unhappy with the appearance of their teeth according to a recent study carried out by the Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors. 47% of participants had already undergone some form of cosmetic dentistry such as tooth whitening to improve their appearance.

But what food and drink should we avoid to help combat the appearance of yellow teeth without having to fork out for a treatment?

We have the answer in this article. Keep reading to find out.

Below we list 10 of the most staining foods that can be damaging to our teeth.

Tea & coffee

We all love a brew, in fact most of us probably couldn’t last a day without one. However, because of the porous nature of the outer layer of the tooth, liquids are fast to absorb and stay on the tooth.

By adding milk to your beverage lightens the drink in colour making it less staining plus you get the calcium and vitamin D, both of which help keep your teeth strong. Green and herbal teas are also a good alternative, so are worth considering!


The UK is the seventh-highest consumer of sugary soft drinks in Europe, according to research by PureGym. So don’t worry – you’re not alone in your love for fizzy drinks.

But… we just want to remind you of the downsides of consuming cola. The rich dark colour, coupled with the acids and sugars will wear away at your teeth. Next time you go for a sip on your favourite fizzy drink, try it through a straw – bypassing the teeth.

Red wine

We are all familiar with the iconic purple grin drinking red wine can cause. But just how deep this damage run?

Whilst enamel is the hardest tissue in the human body, it is extremely susceptible to erosion which is caused by the acids. The more the acids wear away at your teeth, the deeper they erode, breaking into further layers of your teeth which can eventually cause cavities.

On the upside, studies have shown that wine reduces inflammation, which can help reduce or prevent gum disease. Every cloud.

Fruit juice

Fruits are healthy and we are all advised to eat five portions of fruit and veg a day. However, be aware of the high acidic content of some fruits and the damaging effects this can have to the enamel of your teeth.

Lemons are considered the most acidic (as per pH value), but more common fruits such as grapefruit, blueberries, apple, mango and orange all have a pH of less than 7 which is considered acidic and can be damaging to the tooth’s enamel.

Pasta Sauces

Tomato-based sauces stain your teeth due to their bright red colour and high levels of acidity in tomatoes. Tooth enamel can easily absorb the dark colours in foods, and that can cause staining.

If you’re not prepared to give up the pasta sauce totally, we recommend swilling water with our meal to help wash away any remnants that will stick to your teeth.


Curry is one of the nation’s most loved dishes. But its deep pigmentation can yellow teeth over time. Due to its high staining factor, curry is something you may want to limit in your diet. By adding fresh fruits and vegetables to the curry, they can help prevent stains. Carrots, cauliflower and celery are some examples to add.

The three B’s: Balsamic vinegar, Berries & Beetroots

We are sure you are getting the pattern now, but again it’s the dark nature and high acidic content of these foods which make them your teeth’s enemy.

The deep colour in these foods can cause staining, regardless of whether they are eaten whole, drunk as juice or processed as jelly and jam.

Consume in moderation and swill your mouth with water after consumption. Foods such as beetroots are rich in fibre, calcium and vitamins A and B amongst plenty of other vital minerals so be sure to keep them in your diet – just be mindful of the effects it can have in dulling the colour of your teeth over time.

Ultimately, a healthy diet and a change of habits can prevent tooth stains and preserve your pristine smile

Enjoy your favourite foods, but use caution. Moderation is key when it comes to foods and drinks that discolour your teeth. If you choose water over other beverages, and if you make sure to rinse your mouth with water and brush your teeth within a half hour of eating, you can significantly improve your smile.

Here is The Dental Suite take-away for you today

  • Drink through a straw. We don’t expect you to just stop drinking your favourite drink because of its adverse effects to the teeth, but try drinking them through a straw. This will help divert the liquid away from your teeth and keep stain-causing dyes away.
  • Add dark leafy greens before you consume foods dark in colour and high in acid. It has been found that these foods create a film on the teeth and protect them from acidifying foods that can cause foods to become more porous and open to staining.
  • Add some crunch to your meal. Crunchy foods act as a detergent for your teeth. Foods like raw carrots, cauliflower, and celery helps to wash away stains on the teeth naturally.
  • Rinse with water, and wait 30 minutes to 1 hour before brushing. Enamel on your teeth soften after the consumption of acidic foods. Don’t brush too soon as this can risk wearing away enamel. Swill your mouth with water and wait 30 minutes, to remove food residue and the potential for foods that stain your teeth without damaging the structure of your teeth.


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