Why Does My Food Stain My Teeth?

why does food stain my teethIf you like coffee, red wine, and other dark beverages, then you’re probably familiar with their penchant for staining your teeth. While some foods and beverages are notorious teeth strainers, the truth is that all of your meals have the potential to leave their marks on your smile. Because they occur naturally from something most of us do at least two or three times a day, teeth stains are among the most common cosmetic dental complaints. Fortunately, you have a number of options for treating them depending on their severity. Today, we explore how food stains your teeth, as well as a few measures you can take to help lessen the impact.

What Are Chromogens?

It probably wouldn’t shock you to learn that the darker your food or drink is, the more likely it will stain your teeth, but color isn’t the only determining factor. Sugary and/or acidic substances, like soda, can also lend a helping hand. Chromogens, which dictate your food’s color, are strongly-pigmented molecules that have a tendency to cling to your tooth enamel. This process is made easier when your enamel is weakened by organic acid, such as that produced by oral bacteria after consuming sugar and other carbs.

How Can I Protect My Teeth from Food Stains?

You can help lessen the impact of food stains by brushing and flossing at least twice a day to control the amount of acid-producing oral bacteria, and by rinsing your mouth with water after every meal to wash away food particles and their chromogens. In fact, good dental hygiene can help prevent most dental health issues as well as stains. However, stained teeth can indicate more than a few robust meals. Internal discoloration can be a symptom of some illnesses or a side-effect of some medications.


Awarded America’s Top Dentist since 2008, Neda Sayyah, DMD, is a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) and the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW), and is certified in the use of dental sedation through the DOCS Education program. Dr. Sayyah is also certified to provide Invisalign® clear braces for teens and adults. To learn more, call our office today at 425-688-0197, or email us at exceptionaldds@gmail.com. Located in Bellevue, WA, we proudly serve patients from Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Seattle, Mercer Island, and all surrounding communities.