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Watch Out for These Teeth Staining Foods


Even some of the healthiest foods can pose a threat to your teeth, creating stains that are difficult to remove. Tooth enamel, although extremely hard, is susceptible to staining from various foods and beverages. The surface of your teeth is not smooth. According to the Oral Care Center at Colgate, the enamel of the tooth has “microscopic pits and ridges that can hold particles of food and drink”. When this happens, stains develop.

The top seven foods that can stain teeth range from fruit to sauces.

1. Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar not only tastes delicious on salads, but it also can offer health benefits due to its polyphenols or antioxidants. However, the naturally dark color of balsamic vinegar can stain tooth enamel. Enjoy balsamic vinegar with a meal, but be sure to brush teeth thoroughly afterward.

2. Beets

Indulge in beets to enjoy their distinctive taste plus health benefits but don’t forget to brush after eating. Beets, whether cooked or in juice for have the ability to stain tooth enamel.

3. Berries: Blueberries and Blackberries

While both blueberries and blackberries contain powerful antioxidants, they also contain tannins that stain teeth. Other berries with the same effect are raspberries and cranberries. Any of these dark berries can cause teeth to yellow if eaten regularly without proper follow-up care. Berries can cause stains whether eaten fresh and whole, baked into a pie, or juiced.

4. Curry

Curry, popular in Indian food and other dishes, has a naturally yellow or red color. Curry powder contains a variety of spices including mustard seeds and saffron, both of which can act as staining agents to tooth enamel. Whether adding curry powder to flavor a dish or enjoying a curry sauce over lamb, it’s essential to rinse your mouth with water and then brush properly.

5. Ketchup

Who doesn’t have a bottle of ketchup in the refrigerator? It’s one of the most common condiments used in the United States — ketchup on fries, burgers, and more. Unfortunately, ketchup not only contains sugar that can lead to tooth decay but it’s a tooth stainer.

6. Marinara

Marinara or tomato-based sauces have a high acidic level. Acids in food can lead to enamel erosion, which then makes it easy for foods and beverages to stain the teeth. Enjoy your pasta and marinara, but in moderation and always brush after eating.

7. Soy Sauce

Like balsamic vinegar, the naturally dark color of soy sauce is a cause for stains on teeth. When enjoying soy sauce on your favorite Asian recipes, be sure to include crunchy foods like cabbage and cauliflower which can help reduce staining from the soy sauce.

Beyond these seven foods, beverages like coffee, tea, wine (red and white), and soda can cause stains on teeth that lead to yellowing and dinginess. To keep tooth stains away, brush after eating or drinking and have your teeth professionally cleaned at least twice a year.

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