Have you ever applied a coat of lipstick, smiled at yourself in the mirror and been disheartened to see that it has only amplified how yellow your teeth are?

While teeth whitening procedures and products are becoming increasingly popular, the easiest way to keep your teeth pearly white is by not staining them in the first place.

A leading dentist has shared 10 of the more surprising foods and drinks to avoid.

Here Tariq Idrees, owner of Carisbrook Dental in Manchester, reveals the ways you probably never knew were wrecking your gleaming smile.


Dr Idrees says: "The basic rule I follow when advising patients on which foods to avoid to minimise teeth staining is to steer clear of foods which you would not want to spill on your clothing.

"If food leaves a stain on a white T-shirt, it will also stain your teeth. So avoid acidic foods which are rich in colour.

"These tend to be rich in tannins which leave a layer of stain on your teeth. You can minimise the damage by cleaning your teeth straight after eating these foods - but this will only remove between 50-60 per cent of the staining."

But he says it doesn't matter how hard you brush - there will always be some staining.

And whitening toothpastes can do more harm than good because they destroy the natural protection which teeth have.

To avoid discolouration when drinking, Dr Idrees advises using a straw - because the liquid bypasses the teeth.

Tomato sauce

It's acidic and rich in colour - not good for teeth staining, Dr Idrees says.

He adds: "Just think how tough it is to get a ketchup stain of a T-shirt - it's the same with your teeth."

White wine

White wine is more acidic than its red counterpart, which may cause more damage and discolouration to the teeth, he says.

Its acid and tannins make your teeth fair game for other types of stains.

Dr Idrees adds: "Cutting down will definitely help to keep your teeth white."

Soy sauce/balsamic vinegar

Soy sauce and balsamic vinegar are a nightmare to get off your clothes if you spill them while eating a Chinese takeaway or a salad.

Dr Idrees says you should avoid them completely if you want to keep your smile bright.

Indian takeaways

If you're concerned about stained teeth, you may need to rethink your favourite Indian takeaway.

He says: "All Indian food which is rich in colour is bad for your teeth.

"It tends to be made with lots of artificial colouring which can badly stain your teeth."

Dr Idrees advises people to go easy on turmeric when making a curry at home because it's rich in colour and can easily stain teeth.

Fruit teas

We all know that tea and coffee can stain our teeth but this is not just confined to regular teas and coffee.

All types of tea stain your teeth, particularly fruit based teas: green tea and strawberry and raspberry tees, Dr Idrees says.

He adds: "They are rich in colour and rich in tannins which leave surface staining on your teeth."

Pasta sauce

Tomatoes in pasta sauce cause can leave your teeth vulnerable to staining because of their acidity, bright red colour and tendency to cling to the teeth.

But you can protect your teeth beforehand by dining on some dark green vegetables - broccoli, kale, rocket or spinach - to create a protective film over the teeth.

Dr Idrees says: "The film will ward off tomatoes' staining effect, so opt for a green salad as a starter."

Ice blocks

They may be one the perfect treats for a warm afternoon - but refreshing ice lollies can wreck your smile.

Dr Idrees says: "Lollies contain colourants that will transfer to the teeth and embed in the porous enamel."


Some of us go out of our way to avoid them, but they'll always be found in our burgers.

They may seem innocent, but pickles have a high acidic level which is dangerous for your smile.

Dr Idrees adds: "Again it is the acid - which makes your teeth vulnerable to staining."

Any type of cola

No-one can deny how refreshing a cold glass of cola can be after a long day - regardless of how bad it can be for the body.

The caffeine kick it provides keeps our mind awake but the browny colour is bound to cause problems for the teeth.

He says: "They are highly acidic and rich in colour - very bad for staining."

Any type of berry

Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries - all berries rich in colour should be avoided if you want a bright smile.

Dr Idrees says: "The acid and the strong colours easily stain your teeth."