Protein Powder & Teeth Stains: Myth or Menace?

Spread the love

It is a myth that high-protein foods and protein powders stain the teeth. That being said, some protein powders may contain excessive sugar, which is definitely not good for your teeth. As long as you practice good oral hygiene, such as brushing twice a day and flossing, then you won’t have anything to worry about.

Proteins Do Not Cause Tooth Discolouration

Three Separate Protein Shakes With Raspberries, Bananas, and Bluberries

There seems to have been a long standing myth that consuming large amounts of protein is somehow bad for your teeth.

If this were true then all bodybuilders would have stained yellow/brown teeth with numerous gaps in their mouth.

So NO, high protein consumption will not lead to discolouration or your teeth falling out.

And the same can be said for consuming protein powder.

In fact, upon researching this question further I came across many dentists who had responded to online fitness forum users.

And each and every one of them confirmed that a high-protein diet or consuming protein powder would not directly contribute to stained teeth. 

With that being said, I found it interesting to note that actual dental websites were fueling the fire to the protein powder and stained teeth myth.

In my mind this simply provided proof of which dentists were more into their fitness and supplementation.

It’s all well-and-good to receive advice from a medical expert, but sometimes this advice is better received from those who actually practice what they preach.

It’s much the same as a Doctor who tells you that the best way to lose weight is to do steady-state cardio.

Whereas, a Doctor who regularly exercises themselves would appreciate that fat loss is far more important than weight loss.

Anyway, back to the point, protein powder and stained teeth – in the main this should never be an issue. 

However, just to confuse matters slightly, not all protein powders are created equal.

I’m not saying that some protein powders may cause staining, but there are definitely some varieties that are far worse for your dental health.

Beware of Added Sugar

“While a small amount of sugar or artificial sweetener likely won’t derail your progress, if you’re constantly reaching for protein powders loaded with added sugars and artificial sweeteners, it can contribute to increased sugar cravings and potentially even negatively affect your gut health.”

Layne Norton, PhD & Bodybuilder

I think the main reason for the negativity I found around protein powder and oral health on dental websites is due to sugar content.

Of course, consuming high quantities of sugar is definitely not good for your teeth.

And unfortunately some protein powders contain an excessive amount of sugar and artificial sweeteners.

In fact, if you’re consuming a specific weight gain protein powder it can contain up to 75g of sugar per scoop.

I can tell you now that consuming that amount of sugar with your protein shake on a regular basis will spell trouble for your teeth.

With that being said, it wouldn’t specifically stain your teeth, but it can definitely lead to plaque build up and cavities.

So, you do need to be wary of your protein powder’s sugar content.

There are of course many unsweetened protein powders in the marketplace.

Plus, many “normal” powders contain less than 1g of sugar per scoop.

So, in reality your choice of powder can make a difference.

I will also say that of the standard powders, chocolate typically contains less sugar than strawberry or vanilla.

The choice is down to you.

Practice Good Oral Hygiene

It should go without saying that stained teeth will often come about through poor oral hygiene.

Admittedly, certain drinks like coffee, carbonated drinks/sodas, fruit juices, and red wine are notorious for causing stained teeth.

However, if you were to brush your teeth twice a day and floss regularly, as well as making your 6-monthly trip to the dentist, this would be far less of an issue.

The exact same can be said of drinking protein powder, whether sweetened or otherwise.

If I’m being honest, it’s human nature to blame everything but ourselves when we do have certain problems.

So, it can be easy to say that your stained teeth are down to coffee, wine, juice, soda, and of course, protein powder.

But, if you’re not taking good care of your teeth in the first place, you’re simply exacerbating the problem.

Drink Through a Straw

It’s dentist approved.

Drinking through a straw is much better for the health of your teeth, as the liquid doesn’t touch your teeth as much.

This is even recommended for regular soda and juice drinkers.

There are even those who drink coffee through a straw, although it’s best not to do it while it’s piping hot.

I guess you could also drink red wine through a straw, but be wary of the drunken impact it may have on you.

So, if you are worried about your teeth then there’s no harm in consuming your protein shake through a straw as well.

Admittedly, this may get you a few strange looks, but you can rest-assured that less of your shake will come into contact with your teeth.

“Clean” Your Teeth With Other Ingredients

I know that many of us typically feel that gritty film across our teeth whenever we drink a protein shake.

This generally happens when the protein powder is high in sugar content.

So, rather than immediately brushing your teeth after every protein shake you can “clean” your teeth in other ways.

The most obvious way would be to follow your protein powder up by drinking water..

In reality, the more you exercise, the water you should be consuming anyway.

But, it also happens to have a cleaning effect on your teeth after you consume food and drink.

The same can be said for sugar-free gum. 

In fact, chewing on sugar free gum can help to protect your teeth from cavities, as well as removing acid build up from food and drink.

Key Learning Points

  • Protein powder, and protein in general, don’t actually stain your teeth.
  • Many protein powders contain a high sugar content, or use various artificial sweeteners, so, prolonged use can definitely have an impact on your teeth.
  • Practice optimal oral hygiene by brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing regularly.
  • If you are worried about staining your teeth you can consume your protein shake, and other liquids, through a straw.
  • Ensure that you drink plenty of water, especially after taking your protein shake.
  • Chew sugar-free gum to keep your mouth fresh and free from bacteria.

My next article focuses on another worry that many of us have about protein, namely will you lose muscle if you stop taking protein powder?

Leave a Comment