Various tees in white cups
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Tea and Your Teeth

Tea is a healthy drink, but it may not be the best choice for keeping your teeth white. Dentists say the brew -- especially the basic black variety -- can cause more stains than coffee. Herbal and white teas can wear away the outer covering of your teeth, called enamel, and cause stains, too.

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Sauce stains in microwave
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Sauces and Stains

They may be tasty, but deeply colored sauces -- think soy, tomato, and curry -- also cause stains. Switch to light-colored or creamy sauces, and brush and rinse soon after eating.

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Woman drinking sports drink
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Sports Drinks

Acidic foods and drinks can also affect your teeth. Sports or energy drinks can erode enamel, setting the stage for stains. Drinking water during workouts is a better choice.

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Wine stained cheesecloth
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Wine and White Teeth

If a food or drink can stain a tablecloth, it can stain your teeth. It’s no surprise that red wine, an acidic drink known for its dark, rich color, will discolor teeth. But white wine, which has even more acid, also can.

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Mixed berry pie
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Fruits and Berries

Blueberries, blackberries, cherries, pomegranates, and other vibrant fruits can stain teeth. So can juices and pies made from them. Paler fruits, like white grapes and white cranberries, are less likely to cause stains. But they do have acid that can soften or weaken your enamel.

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Carbonated soda
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Soda, Cola, and Other Carbonated Drinks

Looking for a reason to cut back? Thanks to acids and dyes, these drinks -- even light-colored ones -- can lead to serious stains. Plus, the chemicals that add flavor can also eat away your enamel.

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Boy with candy stained tongue
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Candy and Sweets

If your favorite sweet -- like hard candy, chewing gum, or a Popsicle -- makes your tongue change colors, it can also stain your teeth. The good news is that unless you eat those goodies often, they probably won’t do much harm.

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Woman looking at blueberry
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Lessen Stains: Cut Back

You may not want to cut all teeth-staining food and drinks out of your diet. Many of them -- like blueberries, blackberries, and tomato sauce -- are rich in antioxidants. So keep eating them, but ease up a bit or opt for other sources, like cauliflower, apples, grapefruit, and melon.

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Women drinking from straws
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Use a Straw

Sip stain-causing drinks like sodas, juices, and iced tea through a straw. This should keep the liquid away from your teeth.

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Woman drinking swiftly
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Swallow Swiftly

Don’t let stain-causing foods and drinks linger in your mouth. Swallow them. When it comes to food, though, chew it well and don’t gulp to make sure you don’t choke.

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Woman rinsing mouth
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Rinse -- Then Brush -- After Eating

Swish your mouth with water right after you eat or drink something that can stain. Wait 30 minutes to an hour before you brush after eating something with acid -- any sooner and you could hurt the enamel on your teeth. If you can’t get to your toothbrush, chew a piece of sugarless gum as soon as you’ve eaten.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 05/12/2019 Reviewed by Alfred D. Wyatt Jr., DMD on May 12, 2019


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Academy of General Dentistry.
Cleveland Clinic.
Debra Glassman, DDS, New York City, N.Y.
Jain, P. General Dentistry, March/April 2007.
Maria Lopez Howell, DDS, San Antonio.
Mark S. Wolff, DDS, PhD, chairman, Department of Cardiology and Comprehensive Care at New York University School of Dentistry, NYC.
Matthew J. Messina, DDS, Fairview Park, Ohio.
Mayo Clinic web site.
Science Daily web site.

Reviewed by Alfred D. Wyatt Jr., DMD on May 12, 2019

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.