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Orthodontist can straighten teeth but they can’t control your eating habits, especially the ones that stain your teeth! When thinking of dental stains, coffee and smoking are the most widely known offenders, but did you ever consider tea? It’s good to know what foods and habits are robbing your teeth of their shine.

If you’re eating or drinking something and afraid to spill it on your clothes, chances are they have the same affect on your teeth. This doesn’t mean your teeth will forever be stained red if you drink a berry powerade, however the sugar and acid content will soften your tooth enamel which can erode the enamel exposing under lying dentine, which results in the tooth appearing yellow or stained.

Tea, coffee and Wine

Like coffee and wine, black tea is rich in stain-promoting tannins. You have probably noticed the stain marks on your tea cups? No matter how much you scrub the cups, the stain-promoting tannins take a bit more than a household detergent. Instead, try herbal non coloured or white teas, which are less likely to stain.
Two cappuccinos in white cup and saucers

Sports drinks, Carbonated beverages and Fruit Juices

These drinks are typically high in sugar and acidity. These two common ingredients erode tooth enamel. Once the enamel is thin, dentine becomes visible. Dentine is the second layer of the tooth and can range from grey to yellow when exposed, giving your teeth that yellow, stained look.
Oranges by orange juice in glass, close-up


When you’re eating sweets such as cakes, biscuits, lollies or chocolate you know your eating sugar. Again, eating too many sugary treats will soften the enamel on your teeth leading to staining your pearly whites.
Tower of milk and plain chocolate stacked on top of each other


Any intensely coloured fruits, such as blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, cherries, grapes and pomegrantes, can cause stains. These highly coloured foods are also high in natural fruit sugars, fructose.
Cupped handful of cherries


This may not seem so obvious but tomato sauce, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and other deeply coloured sauces have staining potential. Foods high in acids such as tomatoes, citrus fruits, salad dressings and vinegars, all can cause accelerated enamel loss.
Grilled salmon on white plate


Keep in mind that age-related tooth discolouration is a fact of life. The teeth naturally turn more yellow over time as the enamel wears down, exposing dentine.
Closeup of a retired couple against bright background

Be aware of your dental care

Plaque or tartar can range in colour from yellow to black. A daily routine of brushing and flossing combined with professional cleans every six months will help prevent tartar build up. If you’ve had teeth straightening treatments or you’re just naturally gifted with straight pearly whites, you still need to protect your smile. You aren’t expected to stop eating and drinking your favourite foods but moderation is important.
Woman having dental check-up
Five useful tips to reduce immediate effects of staining:

  1. Use a straw
  2. Avoid swishing around sugary drinks or holding food in your mouth (eg. lollipops)
  3. Always keep water handy to rinse your mouth out.
  4. Brush and floss your teeth morning and night.
  5. Eat some leafy greens beforehand. Spinach and lettuce create layers over the teeth.

If you’re looking for more information on teeth straightening treatments and how you can prevent staining on your teeth, get in touch with ethos orthodontics today.