Why Does Coffee Stain Teeth? Why Does It Happen?

crazy by Editorial Staff | Posted on March 9th, 2023

We all know that coffee can stain our teeth, but do you know why?

In this blog post, we’ll explore the science behind coffee stains and what you can do to prevent them. So read on if you’re curious about why your teeth are a little yellow after your morning latte!

What are tannins, and how do they cause staining?

Tannins or tannic acid are organic compounds in coffee, tea, and other beverages. Tannins bind to the proteins in teeth, creating a sticky film that causes color compounds to stick. These compounds can then leave an unwanted yellow hue behind.


Poor oral hygiene can worsen this staining, leading to long-term discoloration of teeth if not taken care of properly. Fortunately, there are many ways to reverse coffee stains on teeth by whitening them and taking better care of oral hygiene.

The role of acids in coffee staining

Coffee is well known for its high acidity levels, which can lead to teeth staining if proper oral hygiene is not maintained. Here is how and why coffee stains your teeth.

Acids in coffee can erode enamel

It’s important to consider that acidic drinks like coffee can cause enamel erosion. The pH of coffee is low and can lead to demineralization of the enamel. This means that coffee’s acidity can weaken the teeth’ protective layer, leaving them more susceptible to staining. Poor oral hygiene can also lead to long-term staining, as acids in coffee can break down the enamel over time. 

Coffee tannins and pigments can stain teeth

Tannins are plant-based compounds that make it easier for stains to stick to teeth. Coffee tannins and pigments can cause staining to teeth over time. These substances are found in coffee and tea, but coffee contains higher concentrations, making it more likely to lead to discoloration. In addition, the acid in coffee can erode enamel, making it softer and rougher, increasing the potential for staining.

Chromogens penetrate the enamel and result in stains

While tannins play a role in staining teeth, chromogens are a major contributor to discoloration and should be considered when monitoring oral hygiene. Chromogens are pigments in coffee and other beverages, such as tea and red wine.

When these chromogens come into contact with the enamel of the teeth, they can penetrate and cause staining. This is why practicing proper oral hygiene and limiting your intake of beverages containing chromogens is important to maintain a bright, white smile. The acid in coffee can further erode enamel, leading to long-term staining.

Fortunately, there are ways to reverse the staining caused by chromogens, such as professional teeth whitening treatments. 

Poor oral hygiene can lead to long-term staining

Poor oral hygiene can lead to long-term teeth staining caused by coffee, tea, and other acidic beverages. The acids in the drinks wear away at the enamel, making it easier for the tannins and pigments to penetrate and cause staining.

Additionally, poor oral hygiene results in a build-up of plaque, which can trap tannins and chromogens and lead to staining. To prevent long-term discoloration from coffee or other acidic drinks, practicing proper oral hygiene by brushing at least twice daily with an enamel-strengthening toothpaste and regularly flossing is important. This will help protect your teeth from staining and prevent other dental issues.


Coffee can stain teeth due to tannins, chromogens, and acids. Tannins cause teeth discoloration, while chromogens penetrate the enamel and result in stains. Poor oral hygiene can lead to long-term staining and make removing coffee stains harder.

Fortunately, there are ways to reverse coffee stains on teeth, such as whitening treatments or special toothpaste. However, it is best to take preventive measures to reduce the risk of staining. Regular brushing, flossing, and professional cleanings by a dentist can help prevent long-term staining caused by coffee or tea.


Editorial Staff

The editorial staff at Crazy Coffee Crave is a team of coffee enthusiasts & Baristas who enjoy the one thing we all think about as soon as we get up in the morning. Trusted by thousands of readers worldwide.