Which Foods Stain Teeth?

Worried that you’ll have stains on your teeth after braces? It’s good to be cautious when it comes to your smile-in-progress!

While there may be some tooth discoloration after Dr. Caudill or Dr. McNeight remove your braces brackets, you can easily limit any yellowing by making a few simple changes to your diet.

Let’s talk about the foods that stain teeth and how you can counteract their staining effects.

What causes stains on teeth?

Before we visit our teeth staining food group, let’s chat about the reason behind the stain.

At first bite the chemistry in your food and the chemistry in your mouth are at work! When it comes to certain foods – such as those that are high in acidity, have tannins, or are heavily pigmented – the chemical reaction with your enamel can happen quickly. Think of the last time you ate a Publix cupcake with blue icing – you may have smurf blue teeth after you finished it!

Your enamel will rough up and become porous – this allows those vibrant colors to stick to your teeth. The longer the stain-causing agents sit on your teeth, the deeper they set into your teeth. That’s why it’s important to brush your teeth after finishing these common stain-causing foods.

Here’s a few more reasons behind stains on teeth:

  • Poor oral care. Not brushing and flossing regularly leaves your enamel unprotected to stains and cavities. Usually this results in yellow-brown or dark brown tooth stains.
  • Medical treatments. Certain medications such as high blood pressure meds or antihistamines cause tooth discoloration.
  • A congenital/childhood disease or trauma. Studies have shown that tetracycline antibiotics can cause permanent tooth discoloration in mother and baby when taken in the last trimester of pregnancy or before age 8.


Top 5 Foods Types that Stain

While the first defense against stains is a strong oral hygiene routine, you’ll need a good offence of knowledge about these common stain-causing foods!

Here’s a few of the most common types of foods that stain teeth!

 1. Beverages

Coffee, black tea, and red wine contain a chemical compound called tannin. Tannin is one of the chemicals that can easily penetrate your tooth enamel and become a sticky surface for carbs, sugars, proteins, and bacteria. A good way to dilute the stain-causing effects of these beverages is to drink through a straw to minimize contact with your teeth. You can also just add more milk or creamer to your coffee or tea to help with reducing staining! (So next time someone picks on you for the amount of milk in your coffee, you can tell them you’re just taking care of your teeth!)

A few other beverages that fall on this list are – soda, white wine, sports drinks, and carbonated beverages containing dyes. The sugar in these drinks will act as a catalyst for bacteria growth giving the colors and dyes a film to stick to. Meanwhile the acidity level allows your enamel to weaken, creating deeper level tooth stains, which eventually lead to intrinsic stains.

2. Tomato sauce

Do tomatoes stain teeth? Yes, tomatoes are notorious for tooth discoloration! The bright red pigment that gives tomatoes their color is to blame – add in their high-level of acidity and you have the perfect recipe for yellow-orange tooth stains.

The same goes for when you turn tomatoes into tomato sauce! Sugar plays a great role in cutting the acidity of your red pasta sauce, but also offers another way for stains to stick to your teeth.

You can discourage staining with tomato sauce by choosing low-sugar options, drinking water with your delicious pasta meal, and brushing your teeth afterward.

3. Curry

Just like tomatoes, curry has a deep, rich pigment that can stain your teeth over time. You can discourage staining by limiting how often you eat it, drinking water while you enjoy it, and brushing your teeth afterward.

4. Dark-Colored Fruits

Yes, those juicy delicious fruits can cause tooth stains too! You can limit any discoloration by making a fruit salad with a good balance of berries and light-colored fruits such as apples or pears! Just make sure you brush your teeth after snacking on some of these vibrant fruits:

  • blueberries
  • blackberries
  • cherries
  • Pomegranates

5. Candy

Let’s not forget candy! If you choose Invisalign, you can still enjoy hard, crunchy, or gooey candy – just pop out your aligners and make sure to brush your teeth afterward.

Now lollipops and hard candy such as jolly ranchers spend a lot of time in your mouth. Their sugary, colored syrups can easily coat your teeth and tongue, giving you a bright colored mouth. Try to limit these types of candy and drink water with them to help rinse away the thick syrup from your teeth. Gum with sugar and popsicles are also treats you should avoid or limit.


Protect Your Smile-in-Progress from Foods that Stain Teeth!

If you’re interested in removing stains from your teeth after braces or Invisalign, please reach out to us or let us know at your next appointment! We’ll explain our whitening treatment to you in full detail to help you achieve the best possible results, through a safe process. Our team is happy to answer any questions you have.

Looking for a top orthodontist? You can catch a wave of confidence with us in Melbourne, Merritt Island, or Viera. Request your free exam today!