Drinks to Avoid for a Brighter Smile

Everyone has a favorite go-to drink. A hot chocolate for warmth. Some wine for celebration. Drinks are how we flavor our lives. They provide us with a morning start, a soft comfort, or a happy ending. Unfortunately, while these drinks color our lives, some of them can also color our teeth. Some of our favorite drinks can leave behind unwelcomed surface stains. Drinks that have dark pigments or are acidic can stain your teeth. 

Unfortunately, enjoying our favorite drinks can come at a cost. Having white teeth is important to many patients. In fact, if you spend any time trying to whiten your smile, you should take a look at your diet. If you enjoy a dazzling white smile, you may want to second guess your morning coffee or afternoon tea. You don’t want to spend time and money whitening your teeth only to have your daily coffee upset your progress

Man undergoing teeth whitening process to remove stains dentists in Manhattan New York

Teeth-Staining Beverages

A combination of dark pigments (colors) and acids can damage the enamel or alter your teeth’s color. 


Coffee is a significant part of many people’s daily routines. You could almost call it a necessity for some. However, coffee can be one of the primary sources of discoloration for your teeth. Not only is coffee a dark color, but it also contains acids and tannins. Tannins are a chemical compound found in many drinks or foods that can cause the color to stick to your teeth. Tannins give coffee its strong or bitter taste, but they can also cause surface stains. 

Red Wine

Red wine is a common drink for dinners and celebrations, but it is highly acidic. In fact, acids can damage the enamel on your teeth. Enamel is the protective outer layer of your teeth that is white in color. When acids eat away at the enamel, the surface becomes more porous and susceptible to staining. 

Additionally, red wine is typically a deep burgundy color. The dark color leaves behind a purple or red hue on your teeth shortly after drinking it. The acid wears at your enamel, allowing the dark pigments to travel further into your teeth. This can make the stain more difficult to remove over time. 


Much like coffee and wine, tea is full of tannins, which stain your teeth. However, while tea is not as acidic as coffee or wine, it can color your teeth. Fortunately, a study done by The National Institute of Health (NIH) discovered that adding milk to tea helps your teeth. In fact, 2% milk can reduce tea’s ability to stain your teeth. Apparently, a protein found in milk can protect your teeth from limiting the staining power of tea. 

Dark Sodas and Energy Drinks

Sodas and energy drinks contain acids that can break down the enamel. Naturally, this affects your teeth by making them more susceptible to staining and cavities. Also, some sodas and energy drinks are dark in color, leaving stains behind. Like wine, the acids will damage the enamel and make it easier for the pigments to set into the teeth.