For better or for worse—and it’s probably a little of both—we’re more conscious about our appearance today than ever before. One good yardstick to measure this by is the recent boom in teeth whitening products and services. It wasn’t too long ago that this industry didn’t even exist.

That said, perhaps the best idea is just to avoid foods and beverages that can stain your teeth, these being six of the worst.

1. Berries – Let’s start this one off by telling you about the berry you can eat and not worry so much about staining: strawberries. However, most of the rest–cranberries, blackberries, cherries, blueberries, and all those little seeds inside pomegranates–are quite efficient at staining your teeth. White grapes and white cranberries will not directly stain your teeth but, like berries in general, their high acidity is not good for tooth enamel.


2. Tea – Black and herbal teas should also be avoided if you don’t want to stain your teeth. And, though we aren’t giving coffee a green light, black tea is actually a worse offender than a cup of joe. One reason for this is the fact that we tend to drink our teas quite hot. Even some of the lighter teas, including chamomile, are not recommend because they can affect tooth enamel. If you enjoy iced tea, use a straw. That can reduce the contact between your teeth and the tea.

3. Sauces – While your nutritionist may not want to hear this, to avoid stained teeth, it’s a better idea to opt for the cream sauces and avoid the dark sauces, such as tomato-based sauces, soy sauce, and curries. Tomato sauces are a double whammy: They include staining pigments and are also acidic, which causes them to eat into tooth enamel. By the way, that would make most barbecue sauces a “triple whammy” because they are generally tomato based, and their added vinegar makes them even more acidic. Before moving on, let’s not forget balsamic vinegar, which contains staining pigments and is very acidic.

4. Red Wine – Most people realize that red wine is one of the top offenders when it comes to staining your teeth. Unfortunately, unlike iced tea, red wine is far too déclassé to drink with a straw. However, if enough of us started doing it, it might catch on. After all, screw-on caps are becoming more generally accepted (who wants to bother with a cork, right?). If abstaining from red wine or ingesting your cabernet via a straw just won’t cut it, then maybe you should try these moist towelettes for your teeth. The company responsible for them confidently claims they won’t even alter the taste of your wine.

5. Colas – Doesn’t it seem like every good beverage is on this list? No wonder the teeth whitening business is booming. Caramel-colored colas are another major offender. Next time you stop at the gas station or Quickie Mart, grab a bottle of water instead of a 32-ounce fountain drink. Also, as with iced tea, use a straw.

6. Candy – Do you know how some candies turn your tongue bright colors? That should be a clue about what they’re doing to your teeth at the same time. If your mouth is getting dyed the same color as the candy, so are your teeth. Additionally, the sugar content promotes tooth decay.


Further Advice – When you do consume these offenders, keep a glass of water handy. After every couple of mouthfuls, make sure to take a gulp and swish it around before in your mouth generously. Also, brush after every meal and keep a toothbrush handy while at work. Finally, foods like carrots, celery and apples work as natural stain removers.

Chris Turberville-Tully is a marketing strategist for, providing dental care in Sutton Coldfield.

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