We all know that what we eat can affect our overall health, but did you know that some food can also stain your teeth? While most of us know to watch out for coffee and tea, there are some other culprits that can cause discoloration.

Food that contain natural dyes, such as dark berries and beets, as well as food with artificial dyes, such as candy and drinks, can stain your teeth. The pigments from the dyes attach to the tooth surface and cause discoloration. 

In addition, acidic food such as citrus fruits can erode enamel, making it easier for staining agents to penetrate the teeth.

Causes of Teeth Staining

Aside from food, there are other reasons why the teeth get yellow. The tar and nicotine in cigarettes and other tobacco products can leave a yellowish-brown residue on your teeth. This residue can be difficult to remove, even with regular brushing. 

Certain medications also can cause staining on your teeth. Antibiotics such as tetracycline and doxycycline can cause a grayish discoloration. Other medications, such as antihistamines, can also cause staining. 

As you age, the enamel on your teeth wears away, making your teeth more vulnerable to staining. The dentin, which is the layer of tooth beneath the enamel, becomes more exposed and can take on a yellowish tint.

Food That Can Stain Teeth

It’s no secret that particular food and drinks can stain your teeth, leaving you with an embarrassing yellowish or brownish hue. While there are many options available to help reverse the discoloration, it’s best to avoid these kinds of food and drinks and keep a regular visit to an orthodontist, such as Kumra Orthodontics, a top-rated orthodontist in Stafford, VA,  to keep your teeth looking their whitest.

Coffee and Tea

Coffee and tea are staples of the morning routine for many people, but they can come at a cost to your teeth. Both beverages contain tannins, which are known to cause staining. The tannins attach to the proteins in your teeth, causing discoloration and yellowing.

Coffee has a higher tannin content than tea, so it has a greater staining effect. In addition, coffee is usually served hot, which can cause the tannins to penetrate the enamel of your teeth more easily. If you add sugar or cream to your coffee, it may increase the staining power of the beverage.


The pigment found in berries, such as blueberries and blackberries, is called anthocyanin. This pigment is what causes the berry’s deep purplish or bluish color. When anthocyanin comes into contact with your teeth, it can easily attach to the enamel and cause staining.

The longer you eat berries, the more likely you are to experience staining. This is because the anthocyanin becomes more deeply embedded in your teeth the longer it is in contact with them. In addition, eating acidic food or drinks alongside your berries can also make the staining process worse.


Sodas contain high amounts of sugar and acid, which can quickly erode your tooth enamel. When this enamel is weakened, it becomes easier for the pigments from the soda to penetrate it and cause permanent discoloration.

The acidity of sodas can also cause other issues for your teeth. The acid can cause your teeth to become sensitive, making it painful to eat or drink certain things. 


Sauce-based food like pasta, curry, and stir-fry can be a delicious part of your diet, but they can also leave behind residue that can cause discoloration. This is because sauces are usually full of tannins, compounds that are known for leaving behind color residue. 

Tannins are found in many dark-colored sauces, such as tomato sauce, soy sauce, and balsamic vinegar.

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits contain a naturally occurring compound called citric acid, which is responsible for their tart flavor. But citric acid can also break down tooth enamel, leading to staining and discoloration. This is especially true if you consume large amounts of citrus fruits or juices.

The pigments in certain citrus fruits can also lead to staining. For example, grapefruits and oranges contain pigments that can attach to the enamel of your teeth and cause discoloration.

Prevention of Teeth Staining

Avoid dark-colored food and drinks. Dark-colored food and drinks are the main culprits when it comes to teeth staining. Wine, coffee, tea, and cola are some of the most common culprits. Even tomato-based sauces, soy sauce, and blackberries can cause teeth staining. Whenever possible, opt for lighter-colored alternatives, such as white wine, clear sodas, or herbal teas.

Brush and floss after eating. Brushing and flossing immediately after eating can help remove food particles and prevent them from sticking to teeth. This is especially important for dark-colored food and drinks.

Regular Orthodontist Visit: Best Practice to Keep Your Teeth White

Regular dental visits are an important part of maintaining a healthy and beautiful smile. Not only do they help to keep your teeth looking their best, but they can also help to prevent staining from food and drinks. 

Be sure to schedule regular visits with your dentist and take steps to reduce staining agents in your diet. With the right care and attention, you can keep your teeth looking bright and beautiful for years to come.