Your willingness to smile is directly related to your self-confidence. If you have less-than-white teeth, you might be less inclined to smile because you’re embarrassed. Having white teeth tends to make us feel more self-assured and be more positive when it comes to our appearance. There’s a lot you can do to avoid staining your teeth in the first place, and one of the big things is being aware of what kind of food and drink can stain your teeth. Let’s talk about some common teeth-staining food and drink. You may be surprised about some of them!

Coffee and tea

Coffee cup on saucer with coffee beans

Coffee and tea are some of the biggest offenders when it comes to teeth stains. Your teeth are naturally porous, and your teeth can absorb color from coffee and tea. An ingredient called tannins, which is present in coffees and teas (and wines!), are a type of compound that sticks to your teeth, discoloring them. Not to mention, coffee and tea can weaken your teeth, and coffee can even give you bad breath.

Sports drinks and soda

Brown colored soda in a glass with ice and bubbles

These drinks are so sugary that they can erode your tooth enamel. On top of this, the carbonation or citric flavor means the drink can become acidic, which also negatively affects your enamel. Acid is one of the main culprits for teeth erosion. You really want to pay attention to teeth erosion because once your enamel is gone, it doesn’t come back, and this affects the color of your teeth too. This erosion makes it easier for anything to stain your teeth, but especially any dark drinks, which sodas tend to be.

Vibrant fruit like blueberries or cherries


These foods are great for you health-wise, but they can seriously stain your teeth. These fruits have a lot of color pigmentation, which has the potential to stick to your teeth. Not to mention, these kinds of fruit (along with citrus fruits) are acidic too. Like we said above, that acid contributes to enamel erosion, which really does make it easier for stains to get through.

Tomato sauce, soy, and other dark sauces

Chunky tomato soup

This has to do with their dark color, and anything with a dark color could potentially stain your teeth. These foods are also acidic. We know we keep saying this, but acid combined with dark color equals staining. Anything tomato-based can have the same effect on your teeth as well. If you’ve ever put tomato sauce in a Tupperware container and then realized it was impossible to get that color out of your plastic, this probably makes sense to you. The same thing can happen with your teeth if you’re eating a lot of acidic tomato products.

Sugary foods like candy or popsicles

Multicolor hard candies

This is similar to sports drinks and sodas. Sugary foods erode your enamel, making it easier for your teeth to stain. If something stains your tongue or lips, it’s staining your teeth too. 

A general rule is that if it would be hard to get out of clothing, it’s probably going to stain your teeth. While professional teeth whitening is an option, you can always take preventative steps to help keep your teeth from yellowing. 

Preventing Teeth Staining

Brush and Floss Daily

Brushing your teeth twice a day can help along with being careful with these foods. It also might be a good idea to just rinse and brush after eating these foods too, just to be careful. If you ate something acidic, it’s best to wait about an hour before brushing to give your enamel a chance to re-harden.

Eat in Moderation

Foods like berries and tomato sauce can be good for you, so you can keep eating them. Just eat them in moderation or opt for different fruits and vegetables that don’t have the same effect or even the opposite effect, like apples and carrots. Eating them as part of a full, balanced meal also helps. 

Use a Straw

When it comes to drinks, try drinking them with a green-friendly straw to keep the drinks away from your teeth. This will help keep sugar, food coloring, and other detrimental ingredients away from your front teeth, but still allowing you to enjoy your drink.

If you’re taking all of these steps, and you’re still insecure about your smile, we’d love to hear from you. Proper teeth whitening can help you get your confidence back.