Beware! These 13 Drinks Can Cause Teeth Staining!

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The pleasure we derive from drinks that list as favorites leave traces in the form of stains on our pearly whites.

The colors they carry, acidic characteristics and the frequency of consumption are reasons that give them the potential to stain.

Why certain drinks stain teeth?

Food and drink fall into an extrinsic category of staining. The extent of this extrinsic staining is based on an interaction of genetic makeup, other internal fa, tors and overall oral care.

Enamel is tough but structured with microscopic pits that trap stains.

Certain characteristics in drinks and their frequency of consumption control their ability to stain.


These are colored atoms bound together that reveal concentrate colors through certain food and beverages.

They have the ability to latch on to enamel, react with bacteria and other networks of staining factors in the mouth.

These colors range in brown, purple, blue, green, red, yellow and black.

Chromogenic stains are also due to an interaction of hydrogen sulfide and iron in saliva to form black stains.


Most sources of tannins have additional properties known to reduce stress but the downside is the scope of staining.

Tannins are chemical compounds found in food and drinks that have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial benefits.

They bind and form complexes with proteins, starch, cellulose and minerals in their actions.

An astringent feel is another aspect of tannins, typical to teas and wines. Tannins have the capacity to transfer colors too on to enamel. They thus enhance the chromogenic properties of food and drinks.


The acidic content in food and drinks is an even bigger culprit in staining. The acid erodes minerals off enamel making it softer.

The pH ranking of any food is an indicator of its acid content.

Loss of enamel and damage is caused by drinks that have a pH value lower than 5.5.

Highly acidic drinks increase sensitivity and susceptibility to stain formation and further exacerbate the effects of chromogens and tannins.

Enamel erosion exposes the state of dentin, which manifests as yellow stains and discoloration.


Some drinks might not be acidic but the sugar content interacts with bacteria in the mouth leading to an acidic environment conducive to damage and staining.

Habits can turn costly in the ultimate need for whitening treatments.

When drinks loaded with chromogens and tannins linger in the mouth, its natural ability to avoid stains lessens.

Although saliva has the ability to balance out the pH in the mouth, the amount of acidic beverages and the frequency of consumption can reduce the efficacy of repair.

drinks that can stain your teeth

13 Drinks That Can Cause Teeth Stains

The list is a pointer to certain characteristics of some drinks that cause stains.

Drinks that cause wreckage are acidic, sugary and contain chromogens and tannins.

However, the effects can vary and are dependent on factors such as the condition of teeth other demographics. Here are some saboteurs in the stain game.

1. Black Tea

Sipping on a cup of tea can be very relaxing and beneficial in terms of the antioxidant benefits. No wonder, most tea enthusiasts are not deterred by the staining properties of tea.

Black tea is the strongest in its staining abilities and stains more than coffee.

Tea is notoriously acidic which erodes porous enamel making easier for tannins in tea to deposit stains in these eroded etches.

Initially tannins in tea are attracted to plaque leaving behind a yellow discoloration, eventually turning into tones of brown if neglected.

Besides limiting the consumption of tea, swishing with water after a cup can rinse out the particles that tea might leave behind.

Tea stains can be also tackled at the dentist with whitening treatments depending on the level of staining.

2. Herbal and lighter colored teas

Herbal tea, green tea and white tea provide a host of health benefits besides providing antioxidant support.

Due to their numerous benefits, these teas are known to be consumed more, around 4 – 6 cups a day. The ability to stain cannot be put past these lighter colored teas.

Tannins are also present in these teas and stain if the amount of intake is high. If oral hygiene is inversely proportional to the amount of green tea consumed, stains will increase in comparison.

Green tea stains are also yellow, turning into wood-like colors over time.

Depending upon the severity of the situation and condition of teeth, these stains can be polished off at the dentist.

3. Coffee

Most people start their day with a good old cup of coffee to wake up but it’s common to sip on coffee through the day at work. Coffee contains dark chromogens that can stain and seep into enamel.

These chromogens linger in the mouth longer as a hot cup of coffee is sipped on slower. Espressos compared to lattes will obviously stain more.

Coffee is acidic and can weaken enamel, and discolor it into yellow hues.

Usually, these stains can be polished with whitening toothpaste. Other bleaching products and kits are also effective in covering up coffee stains.

4. White wine

Red comes to mind when thinking of wines that stain but white wine stains due to its high acid content.

Studies have shown that although white wine has lesser-pigmented qualities that stain, both wines equally make teeth susceptible to staining due to tannins and acids.

White wine is attracted to teeth ridden with the plaque. The acid in white wine can erode enamel into yellow streaks and stains. It also renders teeth vulnerable to further staining from other colored foods.

Brushing immediately after white wine can weaken enamel further as acidic wine makes enamel sensitive to abrasion from brushing.

5. Red wine

The deep red hue in red wine stains the tongue and then makes its way through the teeth.

Plaque as usual is an accomplice attracting chromogenic compounds from red wine.

Red wine has an astringent quality that dries out saliva, needed to wash away dark tinted stains of the chromogens in red wine.

People with whitened teeth are more susceptible to red wine stains.

Red wine causes persistent stains that whitening toothpaste can’t fix. Choosing a lighter – bodied wine with lesser tannins might stainless.

Some sources recommend swishing water around to avoid plaque before consuming red wine. It’s wrong to think that alternating with white wine or sparkling water can lessen stains; it only does more harm than good.

6. Diet Soda

Diet Soda is a carbonated drink minus the sugar but the damage it can do must not be underestimated.

The phosphoric acid and carbonation reduces and roughens enamel, to collect stains.

Over time, it leaves teeth with a yellow discoloration as the dentin below is exposed.

Drinking sodas through a straw doesn’t help stop damage as soda touches the tongue that is always in contact with teeth.

Studies have shown that people who drunk diet soda every day for three years had teeth comparable to those of a methamphetamine user. Minimizing its consumption or avoiding it as a preventive measure is best.

7. Citrus fruit juice

Citrus juices are beneficial in the vitamin C they offer but the harmful effects on teeth are a side effect. Studies have proven that grapefruit and lemon juice specifically are highly acidic and can erode tooth enamel.

Orange juice can stain a white tablecloth, which indicates it will transfer the same stains to teeth. Studies have proven that orange juice can erode enamel by 84 percent.

Orange minute maid, which has a pH of 2.80, scores high on acidity, while its sugar content is as high as 48 grams, both contributing to erosion and stains.

A water rinse but not brushing after a glass of OJ can help prevent a yellow discoloration.

8. Cranberry Juice

Cranberry juice contributes to many health benefits but being extremely sour confirms its acidic nature.

The debate on the positive and negative effects of drinking cranberry has been on going. It contains dark pigments as well which easily settle on to enamel due to abrasive acids.

Canned – cranberry juice scores a pH of 2.30-2.52, confirming its highly erosive qualities. Being sour, the amount of sugar added will also have damaging effects.

However, cranberry juice is known to disrupt the formation of plaque adding a benefit to oral health and probably lessening stains.

9. Sugary drinks

Acid weakens teeth to the point of discoloration. In the case of sweetened drinks, sugar and bacteria in the mouth combine into an acidic environment.

Many fruit juices and canned juices are loaded with sugar. It is therefore very important to be familiar with the many forms of sugar listed on contents of canned juices.

Sugar has tricky names and that should be recognised on labels.

The ones that can cause an acidic erosion are high-fructose corn syrup, barley malt, dextrose, maltose, rice syrup, turbinado sugar etc.

Juices like cane, pear, and apple juice are all sugar-packed and must be avoided. Sipping on smaller quantities through out the day will cause more staining than a large amount once a day.

Rinsing out sugar from the mouth is key to avoiding dental stains.

10. Energy drinks

These beverages contain caffeine and other stimulants to provide a boost of physical strength and endurance. They’re mostly carbonated and full of sugar or other sweeteners.

High sugar content and acidity can weaken enamel and increases bacteria and stains.

Studies tested drinks like Gatorade and Red Bull and simulated the way teens and young adults drink the beverages every few hours.

They concluded that that the high acidic content can damage enamel through repeated exposure over a period of 5 days.

These drinks should be always followed by a water rinse and it’s best if their use is minimized.

11. Kombucha

Komubcha is an age-old fermented tea with an enormous amount of benefits. It’s sad though that its effects are reduced to the likes of soda stains when it comes to enamel.

Evidently, the low pH of kombucha is essential to maintain optimum bacterial activity and increase probiotic benefits.

No wonder its pH lingers in the low range of between 2.5-3.2, making it highly acidic – Ouch!

It would be hard to entirely cut off and banish the benefits of kombucha.

The only solution to counteract acids is to wash it off with plenty of water and wait at least thirty minutes or more before brushing.

12. Hot chocolate

Winters are spent cozying – up to a mug of comfort and warmth in hot chocolate. However, a combination of sugar, tannins and warm temperature pose a potential to stain.

Sugar is known to aggravate an acidic environment and the hot liquid opens up pores, which makes teeth more sensitive to stains.

Rinsing with a glass of water and brushing half an hour later can null these negative effects.

13. Alcohol

Unwinding a hectic week to some alcohol is not a bad idea but its teeth that withstand the worst of a regular binge.

Erosion alert – Most alcohol, for e.g. beers and whiskeys have pH values of 3 – 3.5 that damage enamel. Besides, darker beers can even stain teeth.

Mixers like sodas add to the acidity and sugar, which is equivalent to sucking on candy throughout the day.

Alcohol and more so added mixers spell doom for teeth – in the form of decay and stains. Chasing alcohol with water might help but if a healthy smile is a priority, prudent – oral – care should be proficient.

How Does Drinking Wine Ruin Your Teeth?

Wine is one of the drinks that can cause extrinsic discoloration.

The rule is that anything that stains a tablecloth also has the same effect on our teeth.

Red wine is acidic and contains tannins and chromogens – strongly pigmented molecules, which are well known to quickly stain teeth.

While it was initially thought that only red wine caused teeth stains, researchers find that white wine can also stain teeth.

In fact, a study found that consuming a glass of white wine and following it up later with a cup of tea has greater staining effect – for both beverages cause intense staining.

So this is how wine stains teeth.

The acids in wine dissolve and etch or scrape out the surface of enamel.

While this etching is microscopic, over time, the slow wearing out of the enamel means that it loses its smoothness and can slowly gather pigments and debris.

So, teeth do not have to be soaked in wine to get discolored. The etching makes them susceptible to stains from the wine and other foods and drinks that are consumed.

Tannin found in wine is an astringent that binds the structure of our teeth and then holds on to the chromogens that are the compounds responsible for staining.


Many people enjoy a glass of wine before or during a meal. So, following preventive measures will help reduce the chances of teeth stains. Nibbling on a piece of cheese along with wine can act as a barrier to forming stains.

Chewing sugarless gum induces saliva production that can neutralize pH levels.

Good oral hygiene – brushing and flossing regularly also prevents these surface stains.

Rinsing with water can also reduce the effects of staining. A glass of sparkling water has a carbonation effect that can mildly scrub enamel and wash away residual wine before it can stain our teeth.

Good oral hygiene will reduce plaque and tartar deposits on teeth.

This will reduce the possibility of staining by wine. Foods rich in fiber can act as natural scrubbers and remove wine stains.

Dairy products rich in calcium and vitamin D can help fortify teeth and give us healthy teeth.

So, enjoy your glass of wine and follow these precautions to avoid teeth stains.


Stains from drinks are like an alarm to go slow in spite of some benefits and feel good forces.

To be stain – free some drinks are best watered – down and moderated but to be backed by a good diet, hydration and dental care is effective protection.

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