Foods and Drinks That Impact the Color of Your Teeth


Everyone desires a white, bright smile but certain lifestyle factors can get in the way of having white teeth. Food and drink are some of the biggest culprits of tooth discoloration, typically caused by dark pigments, tannins, or high acidity.

When food or drink causes staining on the teeth, it is known as extrinsic discoloration. Extrinsic discoloration affects the outer layer of tooth, or the enamel. Unlike intrinsic discoloration that can be harder to treat as it affects the inner structure of the tooth, extrinsic discoloration can usually be resolved with proper brushing and flossing techniques, whitening agents, and avoidance of certain foods known to cause staining.

Some foods and drinks are more likely than others to impact the color of your teeth. Here are some of the most common foods that cause tooth staining and how a cosmetic dentistry practice can help brighten your smile.

1. Tomato Sauce

Tomato-based sauces are a common cause of tooth discoloration. Not only do the deep red pigments found in tomatoes stain teeth, but tomatoes are also highly acidic and can eat away at enamel. Opt for light-colored sauces when dining on pasta dishes or pizza.

2. Berries

Blueberries, blackberries, cherries, and other delicious berries can be a nutritional snack. However, their dark hues can cause discoloration if enjoyed frequently. You can help limit discoloration by adding berries to yogurt or smoothies.

3. Red Wine

Many adults have the occasional glass of wine but like many dark-colored liquids, red wine can cause discoloration. Wine is also acidic and roughens up the pores within the enamel, allowing colors found in food to become etched to the surface of the teeth. If you must drink wine, enjoy it infrequently.

4. Tea

Although tea is known as one of the healthiest beverages you can drink, it can cause hard-to-remove staining. Black teas are the biggest offenders but herbal and white teas can also be harmful to your smile. Some evidence shows that increasing the amount of milk in your tea can help counteract the staining effects.

5. Soy Sauce

Sauces with dark pigments like soy sauce and balsamic vinegar have been known to cause tooth staining. This is partly due to the acidic nature of these sauces which cause enamel to break down and stains to set in.

6. Carbonated Drinks

Colas and other carbonated drinks contain a blend of dyes and acids that can lead to noticeable stains. These beverages often contain chemicals that are harsh on teeth and can eat away at enamel. Soda is also high in sugar which can contribute to cavities and cause enamel erosion that makes teeth more susceptible to discoloration.

7. Sweets

Chocolate, hard candy, and other sweets often stain teeth when eaten on a regular basis. Many candies contain artificial colors that are known to turn your tongue various shades or red, blue, green, or yellow. These same artificial colors can also stain your teeth.

8. Energy Drinks

Both energy and sports drinks have been long associated with the breakdown of tooth enamel. Similar to sodas and juices, energy drinks contain artificial colors and large amounts of sugar that can damage enamel and allow stains to set in more easily. Some energy and sports drinks are also acidic which can cause permanent damage to teeth.

9. Beetroot

If beetroot is a part of your normal diet, then this root vegetable may be the cause of your tooth stains. Beetroot is packed with essential nutrients but its dark color can cause your teeth to appear yellow or discolored.

10. Coffee

Many people start each day with a cup of hot coffee. While your morning brew may be the only thing that gets you through the day, your teeth may be suffering the consequences. Coffee contains tannins, a chemical that causes color compounds to adhere to teeth.

Speak with Our Dentist in Largo, FL

Need help removing stubborn stains or discoloration from your teeth? Bonham Dental Arts offers professional tooth whitening services performed in-office or at home using a traditional take-home tray. Reach out to our friendly dental team today to learn more about our teeth whitening services or to schedule an appointment.