What Food Items Stain Your Teeth the Worst?

Have you ever noticed a good-looking person across the room only to be turned off when you saw the individual flash a yellowed smile? Yellow, stained teeth are not attractive, but you might be surprised to learn which foods are among the top tooth-staining culprits.

Five Foods That Can Cause Serious Stains:


It may not come as a surprise that coffee will stain your teeth. The dark fluid itself is hazardous because of its color. If you take your coffee with sugar, sipping on it can also promote tooth decay.

Black Tea

Although not as big of a culprit for causing tooth stains as coffee, black tea, whether hot or cold, can darken your teeth. This is especially true if you drink large quantities of it and sip it rather than drink your tea down quickly. Actually, light-colored teas such as green or white tea can also cause some staining if consumed in large quantities, but recent research in the UK indicates that drinking tea can have some dental benefits as well.

Tomato-Based Sauces

Bright, beautiful tomatoes are a delicious summertime treat. In the winter, big bowls of pasta soaked in tomato-based sauce comfort the soul. Be careful how long those tomatoes sit on your teeth before you rinse or brush, however, because they do stain.

Dark-Colored Berries and Fruit

Black berries, raspberries, pomegranates and other dark-colored fruit and berries are well-known for their ability to stain almost anything they touch. Your teeth are no exception. Lighter-colored berries or fruit such as white grapes or white cranberries are less likely to cause discoloration.


Red wine is well-known for its staining abilities, but rosé and white wines can set the stage for staining by eating away at the tooth’s enamel. Sipping on wine regularly is likely to cause staining and discoloration, regardless of your vintage of choice.


Unlike many staining foods, curry is not dark in color, but this yellowish spice can turn your teeth yellow if you consume it regularly. Large amounts of Mediterranean or Indian cuisine that features curry can be a hazard to your pearly whites.

How to Avoid Tooth Staining

Although some of the foods that stain teeth are not particularly healthy, many of them contain vital nutrients. Avoiding foods like dark berries or tomatoes means avoiding foods high in healthy antioxidants. Rather than avoiding every food that could possibly stain your teeth, you can actively combat staining by rinsing your mouth with water immediately after eating these foods. Also, brushing and flossing regularly will help to keep stains at a minimum.
How to Brighten a Stained Smile

Dr. Anna Cowdin has helped many people who have stained; yellowing teeth achieve brighter, whiter smiles. The staff at Cowdin Cosmetic Dentistry uses Zoom! teeth whitening, and patients who choose this service leave the office with a noticeably whiter smile. Call today to learn more about Zoom! teeth whitening options.