Red Wine and Coffee- How They Stain Your Teeth and 4 Things YOU can do to Prevent it!

 In Dental health

Many of us love drinking red wine or coffee, whilst equally loving our white teeth. Unfortunately, the two things don’t always go together! At Strand on the Green Dental Practice, we have treated many patients who have been consuming strongly coloured liquids or foods for years and have started to notice their teeth losing their brilliance. In this blog article, we will discuss why and how these types of drinks affect the teeth enamel and also provide you with a few handy tips to keep your teeth white!

Why Does Red Wine or Coffee Stain Your Teeth?

As the years pass our tooth enamel can undergo changes, for example, lines and cracks form on the tooth surface. When we eat or drink substances high in acids, chromogens (foods with pigments) and tannins, these foods or drinks leave stains behind in these small crevices.

Tannins can be found in red wine, tea and coffee, as we know, but also in a whole list of other foods, such as grapes, pomegranates, berries, chocolate, and even things like rhubarb, squash, chickpeas and beans. This is not to say that we mustn’t eat these very nutritious foods if we want our teeth to stay white, but if we can identify which foods contain tannins we can take steps to prevent them from staining our teeth. Furthermore, another thing to avoid is artificially brightly coloured food such as sweets, ice lollies and coloured soft drinks. Berries, cola, tomato and curry sauces can be very highly coloured too and the food dye in them is quite aggressive, easily transferring to your teeth.

Which is Worse for Your Teeth – Tea or Coffee?

It could be quite surprising to find out our beloved morning coffee, which is high in chromogens and acid, is in fact not as bad as tea. Britain’s favourite beverage is slightly worse for the colour of our enamel with higher levels of tannins. Likewise, red wine contains lots of tannins and chromogens (as the ruby-red colour suggests) compared to white wine and is highly acidic.

How to Prevent Your Teeth From Being Stained

It is generally accepted that if a particular food or drink is good at staining your clothes, it can stain your teeth too. So, what can you do to lessen the staining effect?

Here are four handy changes you can make to lessen the effects of strongly coloured food and drink:

Tip 1: Enjoy tea and coffee after a meal, rather than having several coffees in the morning

Tip 2: Switch from red to white wine, from a rainbow-coloured ice-lolly to creamy vanilla ice cream

Tip 3: Use a straw for high coloured drinks and don’t let the drink linger in your mouth

Tip 4: Wash out your mouth with water as soon as possible after consumption and follow with sugar-free gum

What Else Can You Do if Your Teeth Are Stained?

Some staining is unavoidable, unfortunately. We cannot all live on grapefruit, cauliflower, cheese or other colourless foods! The first step, as well as implementing the handy diet tips above, is to use an electric toothbrush when cleaning your teeth in the morning and evening.

If you find that staining has become very noticeable and you feel self-conscious about it, you might consider a tooth whitening treatment. These treatments are effective and safe when carried out under the supervision of an experienced dental practice such as Strand on the Green. Our aim is to give the best care and help make you confident in your teeth and your smile.


For more information on whitening your teeth, click here. If you would like to come in for a consultation, please call us on 020 8995 0298 or email

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