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What can I drink that won’t stain my teeth?

Having a bright, white smile is important to many people. However, certain beverages can stain teeth, dulling their brightness. Thankfully, there are many drink options that are low risk for tooth staining.

Why Do Some Drinks Stain Teeth?

Tooth staining occurs when pigments in food and drinks become embedded in the hard outer enamel layer of the teeth. Over time, these pigments build up and discolor the teeth. The main culprits that contribute to tooth staining are:

  • Chromogens – Color pigments found in certain foods and drinks that cling to teeth.
  • Tannins – Plant-derived compounds found in drinks like wine, tea, and coffee.
  • Fluorosis – Too much fluoride intake during tooth development can lead to discoloration.
  • Plaque – Poor oral hygiene allows color-producing bacterial plaque to build up.

Beverages most likely to stain teeth include red wine, coffee, black tea, colas, and dark juices. This is due to their high levels of chromogens and tannins.

Beverage Options That Won’t Stain Teeth

Fortunately, there are many beverage options that will quench your thirst without staining your pearly whites:


Plain water is the best no-stain option. It helps prevent a dry mouth, which reduces plaque buildup and staining. Drink tap water or filtered water to avoid excess fluoride, which could cause fluorosis.


The calcium and phosphate in milk help strengthen tooth enamel, preventing stains. Choose plain milk over flavored milk, which contains added sugar.

Unsweetened Nut Milks

Nut milks like almond, coconut, and cashew milk won’t stain teeth. Select unsweetened varieties to avoid added sugar, which promotes plaque and stains.

Sugar-Free Drinks

Beverages like sugar-free iced tea, diet soda, seltzer water, and flavored water contain artificial sweeteners instead of stain-causing sugars.

White Wine and Champagne

The tannins in red wine promote staining much more than white wine and champagne. Limit consumption to avoid erosion of enamel.

Light Roasts Coffee

Light roasts contain less staining agents than darker roasts. Also go easy on adding creamer, which has staining sugars.

Herbal Tea

Most herbal teas like chamomile, peppermint, and ginger have minimal staining potential. Green tea has moderate tannins, so drink in moderation.

Fruit Juices

Select lighter colored juices like orange, apple, and grapefruit. But limit consumption due to the acidic and sugary properties.

Vegetable Juice

Freshly squeezed veggie juices like carrot, celery, tomato, and beet offer vitamins without excess sugar. Rinse mouth after beet juice which can temporarily stain.

Fluoride Rinses

Over-the-counter fluoride rinses strengthen enamel. Use as directed to avoid fluorosis.

Tips to Prevent Teeth Staining

In addition to drink choices, the following tips will keep your smile bright:

  • Brush teeth twice daily using a whitening toothpaste.
  • Floss daily to remove plaque-causing debris.
  • Avoid smoking and tobacco use which causes severe staining.
  • Drink stain-causing beverages quickly rather than slow sipping.
  • Rinse mouth with water after consuming staining drinks.
  • Get professional teeth cleanings every 6 months.

Natural Teeth Whitening Remedies

If you notice tooth discoloration or stains, try these simple natural whitening remedies:

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a mild abrasive that scrubs away surface stains. Make a paste with water and brush teeth with it 2-3 times per week.

Hydrogen Peroxide

As a bleaching agent, hydrogen peroxide can whiten teeth. Use a 3% solution and rinse mouth with it for 1-2 minutes daily.

Coconut Oil Pulling

Swish a tablespoon of coconut oil in mouth for 10-20 minutes to lift stains. Spit out and rinse well. Do this 1-2 times daily.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Acidic vinegar removes discoloration. Add 2 teaspoons to water and use as a mouthwash for a few minutes daily.


Strawberries contain a natural astringent, malic acid, which removes surface stains. Mash strawberries and gently rub on teeth.

Citrus Fruits

A combination of vitamin C and citric acid makes citrus an effective stain remover. Rub wedges of lemon, orange, or grapefruit on teeth.

When to See a Dentist

If at-home teeth whitening remedies aren’t working, consult your dentist. They can determine if stains are from surface issues or something more serious like cavities or dental erosion. Professional whitening procedures are available like:

  • Power whitening with hydrogen peroxide gel
  • Whitening rinses or paint-on strips
  • In-office laser whitening treatment
  • Custom-fitted whitening trays for at-home use

The Best and Worst Drinks for Dental Health

Here is a quick summary of the tooth-staining potential of common beverages from best to worst:

Best Choices Moderate Choices Worst Choices
Water Green Tea Red Wine
Milk Clear Fruit Juices Coffee
Sugar-free Drinks White Wine Cola
Herbal Tea Vegetable Juices Dark Fruit Juices
Champagne Black Tea


Teeth staining depends heavily on the types of beverages you regularly consume. By becoming mindful of stain-causing drinks and using teeth-friendly alternatives, it is possible to prevent discoloration and maintain a bright, healthy smile.

Implementing good oral hygiene habits and occasional natural whitening remedies can also counteract any stains that do develop over time. But if home treatments aren’t giving you the white smile you want, visiting your dentist for professional whitening services may be the solution.