What Causes Teeth Stains?

Different food and drinks may cause discoloration and stains to your teeth. If you’re looking to keep your smile white – you may want to stay away from these substances. Practicing good oral hygiene can also help to keep these stains at bay – brushing and flossing at least twice daily is recommended. One of the absolute best ways to prevent teeth staining is to avoid tobacco – smoking and chewing. A general rule of thumb: the brighter the coloring in the food, the more potential it has to stain your teeth. What causes teeth stains?


A chromogen is a substance that can easily be converted into different colors. How do these affect our teeth? Chromogens are found in all foods; whether they are colored or not. However, these molecules are each intensely dyed with color and are attracted to tooth enamel – cue the tooth stains.


Although chromogens are usually the culprit of the actual stains, consuming acidic foods or drinks can eat away at your tooth enamel. Without tooth enamel, your teeth become soft – this makes it easier for chromogens to latch on which can stain your teeth easier.

What To Stay Away From

There are several different foods and drinks that are known to stain your teeth easily.

  • Wine – Red wine, because it contains chromogens, promotes teeth staining in combination with its acidity. The same goes for white wine, although it doesn’t primarily stain the teeth itself, it just affects your tooth enamel creating soft teeth for other colored foods to dye.
  • Soda – Soda contains a high amount of acidity. Partnered with the dark color, soda easily discolors teeth.
  • Coffee and Tea – Both coffee and tea are chromogen-rich, causing them to be large culprits for tooth stains.

There are several measures you can take to avoid these stains such as; drinking through straws so the colored liquid won’t touch your teeth, never swish these kinds of liquids in your mouth (this will cover your teeth with them and actually promote stains), swallowing quickly, and brushing your teeth after each meal.