We all want to keep our teeth white and shiny for the perfect smile, but some of the drinks and foods we eat on a daily basis may be our enemy, staining our teeth. WebMD agrees. Before you find out what stains teeth the most, here's what you should know about teeth discoloration. 

How does teeth discoloration work?

Your teeth can become discolored by stains on the surface or by changes inside the tooth. There are three main types of tooth discoloration: extrinsic, intrinsic and age-related

Extrinsic discoloration occurs when the outer layer of the tooth, or the enamel, is stained. Coffee, wine, soda or other drinks or foods can stain teeth. Smoking also causes extrinsic stains.

Intrinsic discoloration is when the inner structure of the tooth, or the dentin, darkens or gets a yellow tint. You can get this type of discoloration for different reasons, but it's not really food-related.

Age-related discoloration is, well, just as it sounds. It's a combination of extrinsic and intrinsic causes working together. The enamel covering the teeth becomes thinner as you get older, which allows the dentin to show through. 

Find out now

My focus is on the foods and drinks that lead to extrinsic discoloration. Here's what stains teeth the most:

1. Acidic and Citrus Food

juice, grapefruit, citrus, lemon
Justin Schwebel

Acidic and Citrus Foods break down the enamel to expose the dentin - yellow-ish tissue beneath the enamel that is made up of calcium and phosphate crystals. 

2. Coffee

coffee, cappuccino, espresso, milk, mocha, cream
Alex Frank

To all coffee-lovers out there, I'm sorry. Coffee contains tannins that results in staining and discoloration. It’s also acidic, altering the pH balance of the mouth. What does this mean? Other acidic foods will damage your teeth even more quickly. 

3. Tea

tea, oil, jam
Jocelyn Hsu

According to Colgate, the darker the tea, the more likely it will stain your teeth. Herbal and white teas can still wear away the enamel of and cause stains, too.

4. Sweets

candy, chocolate, sweet, cake, chips, goody
Ellis Linsmith

Sweets can change your tongue's color, which means they can also stain your teeth. But unless you eat them frequently, you'll probably be okay. 

5. Curry and tomato sauce

vegetable, meat, curry, chicken, sauce, chili
Caroline Mackey

They may be tasty, but curry and tomato sauce cause teeth stains. Not only are curries and tomato sauce highly saturated, color-wise, but they’re also acidic. Try using light-colored or creamy sauces. Rinse your mouth and brush your teeth soon after eating. 

6. Sports and Energy Drinks

beer, ice, coffee, milk, water, tea
Alexa Rojek

Sports or energy drinks can erode enamel as well, leaving your teeth more vulnerable for stains. The citric acid in the drinks not only serve as preservatives enhancing flavor and shelf life, it's also eroding your enamel. 

7. Wine

wine, red wine, alcohol, grape
Emma Delaney

It's true. The acid and tannins contained within red wine, however, are the main contributors to staining. Wine is an acidic beverage – just like coffee, tea and soda – so it promotes enamel erosion. Do you think white wine is a safer bet than red wine? Don't be fooled by the lighter color. The acidity level is still there. 

8. Soda

wine, beer, soy sauce, juice, alcohol, liquor
Christin Urso

The dark compounds in dark-colored sodas cause surface staining on your teeth. Then, your tooth enamel absorbs these compounds, causing brown or yellow discoloration. Once again, acids and dyes are the culprits. 

So what should we do?

Now you know how these foods and drinks could be staining your teeth. But don't worry just yet - there's no need to cut all of these out of your life. Instead, I'd suggest cutting back. Try using straws for drinks (and lid for coffee), and swallow food quickly so that the evil agents don't have time to get to your teeth. Rinse your mouth or brush your teeth ASAP, and hopefully you'll be able to prevent some discoloration.