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Dietary & Lifestyle Habits which Stains Your Teeth, and How to Have Stain-free Smile

Dietary & Lifestyle Habits which Stains Your Teeth, and How to Have Stain-free Smile

Have you been bearing a dull smile, even though you take excellent care of your teeth? Little do you know that the colour of your teeth can actually be easily affected by your lifestyle habits (such as smoking or drinking tea and coffee). That does not mean that you need to completely change how you live. Instead, you should focus on finding the balance so you can still smile confidently! Read on to discover some of the dietary and lifestyle changes, and the possible treatments to achieve a stain-free smile!

8 Dietary Choices That Can Stain Your Teeth

Scientifically speaking, the staining components in the food and drinks we consume are called chromogens, which are strongly pigmented molecules that have the ability to penetrate and adhere to the porous enamel layer of our teeth. In simple terms, some food contains ingredients that can bypass the teeth’s outer layer, staining it right under your nose!

These are some of the most popular daily food and beverages that can stain your teeth:

1. Coffee

Black coffee leaves more stains on your teeth compared to coffee with milk or creamer. So, reduce your consumption of americano or long black if your teeth start to stain!

2. Tea

Dark tea (such as Pu`er) actually contains a strong staining component known as tannin, which can contribute to tooth discolouration, which is worse than stained teeth!

3. Red wine

Red wine gives a bluish tinge to your teeth, which might develop into a brown stain over a long period of regular consumption due to its natural contents of tannins, acid and dyes.

4. Carbonated drinks

Soft drinks are usually acidic and rich in chromogens (staining components), so they tend to erode and stain your teeth easily.

5. Fruits, berries and selected vegetables

Your favourite berries such as cherry, blueberry, fruits with dark hue such as pomegranate, and vegetables like beetroot can actually stain your teeth too.

Meanwhile, there are fruits like tomatoes and lemon that don’t stain, but will encourage staining due to their high acid content. They might even erode the tooth enamel.

6. Dark sauces

Food infused with soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, turmeric or anything similar will also stain your teeth when you eat enough of it, so eat them sparingly otherwise remember to practice proper after-care.

7. Curry

This Malaysian favourite can not only stain, but even discolour your teeth when eaten frequently.

8. Sweets and sugary snacks

All that sugar from the candy, popsicles and chewing gums leaves more acid in your mouth, which contributes to teeth staining.

6 Lifestyle Habits That Stain Your Teeth

Apart from the food and drinks you consume, your lifestyle habits may also affect your smile. Here are the top 9 ones that you should know about!

1. Tobacco smoking, e-cigarettes and vapes

Not only does smoking increase your risk of oral problems, but it also deposits brown stains on the surface of your teeth. There’s a reason why chain smokers are more reluctant to smile. There are also e-cigarettes and vapes. While they do not contain tar, they do contain nicotine, which will stain your teeth.

2. Poor oral hygiene habits

The logic is simple: if you don’t keep your teeth and gums clean, they stain easily. Flossing, using a mouthwash, and visiting a dentist all go a long way in keeping your smile stain-free.

3. Insufficient water intake

Water flushes down the food that might be stuck in between your teeth and gums, which reduces the chance of them staining your teeth. This is why experts always advocate for everyone to drink 8 glasses of water a day. Drinking insufficient water may also lead to bad breath (halitosis), so beware!

4. Poor food consumption and aftercare habits

Moderation is key when it comes to lifestyle habits. When you overconsume high acidic and staining cuisines, you are opening yourself to stained teeth. As for aftercare habits, practise rinsing your mouth thoroughly after eating, and drink more water.

5. Usage of medicated mouthwash and certain medicine groups

Daily-use products such as mouthwash, especially when formulated with medicine, may cause staining to your teeth enamel. It may be the ingredients, and it may also be caused by oxidation. On top of that, there are also medicine groups that can cause staining.

While you can’t totally prevent this from happening, what you can do is to practice cleaning habits such as thorough rinsing after you consume the medicine. As for the medicated mouthwash, making a healthy diet switch is one way to reduce post-usage staining.

6. Holding foods and beverages in your mouth

Children tend to do this during meal time, more so than adults. The longer you chew and keep the food or drink in your mouth, the more likely it is for your teeth to be stained. So if you notice that your child is obsessively chewing their food, do give them a gentle reminder!

2 Simple Ways To Remove Stains On Your Teeth

Lifestyle and diet changes require time, and understandably so! While you adapt to all this new information, here are two tips on how you can remove coffee, tea, tobacco stains (and more!) from your teeth while maintaining the brightness of your pearly white teeth.

1. Over-the-counter(OTC) whitening toothpaste

Whitening toothpastes can appear to lighten teeth‘s colour slightly by removing the stains on the surface (teeth enamel), such as those caused by drinking tea, coffee or smoking. Using them regularly as a means to maintenance is never bad, according to our consulting dentist, Dr Jimmy.

As a tip: Only choose whitening toothpastes that are formulated with known whitening ingredients and micro-whitening agents for stain removal and prevention!

2. Professional teeth whitening treatments

Both in-office professional and home whitening treatments are popular choices for whiter teeth as it’s more effective and longer-lasting than over-the-counter whitening treatments. If you are keen on said treatments, do consult your trusted dentist to know which one suits you best!

3. Incorporate food that helps whiten teeth into your diet

If you didn’t know, there are foods that can help clean and strengthen your teeth. Apple, celery, broccoli and cucumber are some of the foods with high water content, and eating them helps hydrate your body.

Meanwhile, dark, leafy greens such as kale, spinach and lettuce come with the vitamins, minerals, calcium and folic acid your teeth need to defend themselves against substances that might harm your gums.

While chewing them, their high fibre content will scrub away food debris on and in between your teeth, reducing the chances of them getting stained, which is why it is one of the top 10 foods your child should eat for better oral health!

While it might be difficult to completely avoid the food and beverages mentioned above, while adversely changing your lifestyle, you can always take baby steps. For instance, you can practice thorough rinsing of your mouth after eating. All in all, we hope that our research has helped you understand how to take better care of your teeth and gums.


Zanatta, F. B., Antoniazzi, R. P., & Rösing, C. K (2010). Staining and calculus formation after 0.12% chlorhexidine rinses in plaque-free and plaque covered surfaces: a randomized trial. Journal of applied oral science : revista FOB, 18(5), 515–521.

Oral Health Tips
Dietary & Lifestyle Habits which Stains Your Teeth, and How to Have Stain-free Smile