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Teeth Stains: Which Foods to Avoid for Whiter Teeth

woman with teeth stains in a coffee

Teeth stains can dim even the most beautiful smile, making a negative first impression. Ageing, diet, wear and tear are just some factors that can cause discolouration and stains on your teeth. Brushing daily and preventive measures may help prevent stains, but sometimes professional intervention may be necessary to bring back the shine to your pearly whites. If you want to learn more about teeth stains and maintaining a white smile, we’re here to help. Whether you just want to retain a whiter smile or are looking for tips on keeping results after a teeth whitening treatment, our guide on teeth stains provides essential information on causes, prevention, and which foods to avoid to get a more radiant smile. 

What Causes Teeth Stains?

Tooth stains are spots or localised discolourations on the teeth, which can make them look yellow, brown, or grey. Unlike overall discolouration, which affects the entire tooth, stains are often caused by external agents interacting with the tooth enamel. They are usually extrinsic and cover the surface of the tooth. Extrinsic stains are generally caused by consuming pigmented foods and beverages (e.g. coffee, tea, red wine) and smoking or tobacco use. Stains can also be intrinsic. They occur when the stain particles enter the inner tooth layer under the enamel. Intrinsic stains are usually caused by ageing, dental trauma, genetics and certain medical conditions and medications. 

Related: Teeth Discolouration and Stains: What’s the Difference

Treatments for Tooth stains 

Extrinsic stains respond well to teeth whitening treatments and products as they only cover the tooth’s surface. Whereas, intrinsic stains are more difficult to remove and may need cosmetic or restorative dental treatments like dental veneers or crowns. 

Teeth Whitening 

Professional teeth whitening treatments are extremely effective against stains and discolouration. You can choose from in-chair and take-home teeth whitening. In-chair teeth whitening usually takes only one appointment for an instantly whiter smile. It involves applying a whitening gel to your teeth and activating it with a special light to accelerate the whitening process. The whitening gel is left on the teeth for short intervals, usually around 15 minutes, and this process may be repeated several times during the session. 

Take-home teeth whitening allows you the convenience and flexibility of getting whiter teeth at your own pace. Your dentist will give custom take-home teeth whitening trays with a professional-grade whitening gel. You can apply the gel to the trays and leave them on for several hours during the day or overnight, as instructed by your dentist. You can use these whitening trays until you get your desired shade. Take-home teeth whitening kits can also be used for maintenance after in-chair teeth whitening. 

Professional teeth whitening is a safe and proven solution for teeth stains. It’s supervised by your dentist and protects your gums and teeth from irritation and sensitivity. 

Dental Veneers 

Veneers are thin shells made of porcelain and composite resin that cover minor teeth imperfections such as cracks, chips, gaps, and discolouration. They can adjust shape, size, and length for uniformity and even smile. Veneers can help cover intrinsic discolouration or stains that don’t respond to teeth whitening for a whiter and more beautiful smile.

Dental Crowns 

Crowns are tooth-coloured caps that protect weakened or damaged teeth. They restore teeth that have changed colour or are damaged due to dental trauma or decay. Made of high-quality, durable materials, they are customised to match your existing teeth to help restore appearance and preserve tooth structure. 

Treatment for discoloured or stained teeth varies depending on the type of stains you have. Getting a dental cleaning before treatment is recommended to remove plaque or tartar buildup for optimal results. Consult your dentist to find out the most suitable teeth whitening or restorative treatment for you. 

Foods to Avoid for Whiter Teeth

Poor oral hygiene and stain-inducing foods are usually the main culprits behind teeth discolouration. Brushing with a strong fluoride toothpaste and limiting consumption of such foods can help keep your smile healthy and bright, whether after a teeth whitening treatment, other dental procedures or routine maintenance. 

Here are a few foods to avoid if you want whiter teeth:


  • Coffee and Tea – contain tannins and chromogens that can lead to teeth yellowing and staining.
  • Red Wine – red wine’s dark pigments and acidity can contribute to tooth staining if consumed regularly.
  • Coloured Berries – blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries contain intense pigments that can adhere to tooth enamel and cause stains.
  • Tomato-based sauces – such as marinara and spaghetti sauce, are acidic and can stain teeth due to their deep red colour.
  • Curry – contains turmeric, a yellow-orange spice that can stain tooth enamel if consumed frequently.
  • Balsamic Vinegar – is highly acidic and can erode tooth enamel, making the teeth more susceptible to staining.
  • Dark Colas – dark-coloured sodas contain chromogens and acids that can cause tooth discolouration. 
  • Candy and Sweets – sugary treats can promote the growth of bacteria in the mouth, leading to plaque formation and eventual tooth staining.
  • Citrus Fruits – citrus fruits and juices, such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruits, are acidic and can erode tooth enamel, making the teeth more susceptible to staining from other foods and beverages.
  • Pickled foods – are acidic and can lead to enamel erosion and tooth staining.

Tips to Prevent Tooth Stains 

Here are a few tips to prevent tooth stains and maintain their colour:

Consistent Oral Hygiene Practices 

Brush your teeth at least twice daily with fluoride toothpaste to remove surface stains and prevent plaque buildup. Also, floss regularly to remove plaque and food particles between your teeth and the gumline.

Quit Smoking

Tobacco products, including cigarettes and chewing tobacco, can cause stubborn stains on teeth, as well as impair healing and affect your immune system. Quitting smoking can help prevent further discolouration and improve overall oral health.

Rinse Your Mouth

After consuming staining foods or beverages, rinse your mouth with water to help wash away pigments and reduce the risk of staining.

Whitening Toothpaste

Use whitening toothpaste containing mild abrasives and/or peroxide-based bleaching agents to help remove surface stains and brighten teeth over time.

Regular Dental Checkups

Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups. Dental cleanings can help remove stubborn stains and plaque buildup, while your dentist can assess your oral health and recommend appropriate whitening treatments.

Protect Your Smile!

If teeth stains are letting your smile down, there’s no need to despair. At Blue Gum Dental Clinic, we offer dental treatments tailored to your dental and aesthetic requirements. Our friendly dentists take the time to listen to you and understand your concerns, offering guidance, support and personalised treatments to keep your teeth and gums strong and healthy and your smile beautiful. Whether you want whiter or straighter teeth or prompt dental care for cavities, missing teeth or teeth grinding, we’ve got you covered. Talk to our Brentwood Dentists about teeth whitening today. 

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