Can Chocolate Stain Your Teeth?

Aerial view of a chocolate cake with reddish-brown frosting on a white plate on a yellow counter for Valentine's Day

If you’re a chocolate lover, or maybe you’ve received a delicious-looking box of chocolates from your Valentine, you may be wondering whether your favorite treat can stain your teeth. Read on to learn whether chocolate can change the color of your smile. We also provide a few tips for protecting your teeth from discoloration!

Chocolate vs. Teeth

Chocolate contains tannins, which are acidic polyphenols that can cause staining. So if you eat enough chocolate, your teeth may become a little discolored over time. But fortunately, many chocolate treats can easily be washed away by drinking a glass of water, and unlike other candy that is sticky, gooey, and hard, chocolate doesn’t linger as long on your teeth. Therefore, chocolate is definitely one of the better choices when it comes to satisfying your sweet tooth! However, chocolate contains sugar and is not a low-calorie food, so be sure to indulge in chocolate only in moderation.

Other Foods & Beverages That Stain Teeth

There are a large number of things that can stain your teeth:

Coffee, Tea & Wine

Coffee, tea, and red wine are a few of the most famous culprits for teeth staining. This is because these three drinks contain that element which can also be found in chocolate: tannins.

Acidic Drinks

Sodas and citrus-flavored sparkling water can cause discoloration because they are acidic, which means they can dissolve and thin the mineral structure of your enamel. This allows the yellow dentin that’s under your enamel to show through, which makes your teeth look more yellow (and makes your teeth feel more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures and sugar).

Acidic Foods

Other acidic foods that can damage enamel include tomato sauce and citrus fruits.


Curry, a common spice used in Indian cooking, can stain your teeth. Its naturally deep yellow pigmentation can cling to your teeth and stain them over time.

Balsamic Vinegar & Berries

Similarly, the deep color of balsamic vinegar and berries, like cranberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries, can stick to your teeth and lead to staining if not washed away soon after eating.

How to Prevent Teeth Discoloration

  1. Drink plenty of water after you eat any of the aforementioned foods. This will help wash away any of the staining particles before they cling to your teeth.
  2. Chew sugar-free gum for at least 20 minutes after eating to stimulate the production of saliva, which will help rinse your mouth and protect your teeth.
  3. Make smart dietary choices to keep your teeth from staining. Consume foods that discolor teeth in moderation. Avoid soda and wine as much as possible. Additionally, eat crunchy fruits and veggies that are high in fiber like celery, carrots, and apples, which naturally clean your teeth as you munch.
  4. Maintain superb oral health habits. Gently brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time, floss at least once a day, and use a fluoridated toothpaste. Avoid using excessive pressure, which can wear away your enamel.
  5. Wait to brush your teeth for at least 30-60 minutes after consuming acidic foods and beverages to allow your enamel time to re-harden.

Interested in a Whiter Smile?

If you have any other questions about foods and beverages that can stain your teeth, or if you’d like to discuss whitening options at our Helotes dental office, contact us today!

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Helotes Family Dentistry

Helotes Family Dentistry