Black Teeth: Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment (2023 Guide)

Our in-depth guide explores black teeth, their symptoms, causes, and the latest treatment options available for 2023. Gain insights on how to prevent black teeth and keep your smile bright with NatruSmile.

10 min readBlack Teeth: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Are you tired of hiding your smile due to black teeth? Fret no more! We've got you covered with our comprehensive 2023 guide on Black Teeth: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment. In this overview, we’ll delve deep into the nitty-gritty of what could be causing your teeth to turn black and provide expert advice on how to regain your pearly white smile.

From identifying the telltale signs of black teeth to understanding the underlying causes, and finally, exploring the various treatment options, our guide has it all.

Say goodbye to the days of feeling self-conscious about your smile and gain the confidence to flash your teeth proudly. Get ready to embark on a journey towards a healthier, more attractive smile that will leave you feeling like a million bucks!

Symptoms Of Black Teeth

The symptoms of black teeth can range from minor to severe, depending on the underlying cause. These may include:

  • Discoloration, ranging from dark brown to black, affecting one or more teeth
  • Tooth sensitivity or pain, which may worsen when consuming hot, cold, or sweet foods and beverages
  • Bad breath or an unpleasant taste in the mouth
  • Swelling or redness in the gums surrounding the blackened tooth

What Causes Teeth To Turn Black? Common Reasons

There are several reasons why your teeth may turn black, and understanding these causes can help you seek appropriate treatment options.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is caused by bacteria in your mouth that break down your tooth enamel, resulting in cavities or dental caries. When left untreated, these cavities can cause a tooth to decay, leading to blackening or darkening of the affected tooth. People suffer from black teeth stains or tooth decay — extended periods of poor oral hygiene, frequent sugar consumption, and acid-producing bacteria contribute to its development.


Various foods and beverages, such as coffee, tea, red wine, and tobacco, can stain your tooth enamel over time, causing the teeth to appear black or darkened. These extrinsic stains accumulate on the tooth's surface, affecting its color, and can become more pronounced over time if not addressed through regular dental cleanings.

Tartar Buildup

Tartar or calculus is hardened dental plaque that has accumulated on the teeth, typically along the gumline. When left untreated, tartar can cause teeth to appear yellow, brown, or even black, as it absorbs pigmentation from various food and beverage items. Additionally, tartar buildup leads to gum disease or periodontal disease, which can further harm your oral health.

Unfortunately, tartar buildup has differential effects across populations. Whether this is because of different dietary preferences or sociocultural factors has yet to be determined, but one thing is clear: if your diet is high in simple sugars (like soda, candy, or sweet teas), consider cutting back to improve the longevity of your smile.

Dental Trauma

An injury to the tooth, such as a severe knock or impact to the mouth, can cause internal bleeding within the tooth, leading to a condition called pulp necrosis. In such cases, the affected tooth may appear black or significantly darker than the surrounding teeth, as the blood inside the tooth discolors the enamel.

Treatment Options For Black Teeth

Restorative Treatments

For teeth that have turned black due to tooth decay, your dentist may recommend filling the cavities or, in severe cases, performing a root canal to remove the decayed tissue and seal the tooth. In cases of severe decay or trauma, tooth extraction may be the only option.

Professional Teeth Cleaning And Whitening

Regular dental cleanings can help remove plaque, tartar, and stains from your teeth, restoring their natural color. Additionally, professional teeth whitening treatments can significantly improve the appearance of discolored teeth by using high-concentration bleaching agents to break down stains.

Veneers Or Dental Bonding

For cases where the tooth's appearance cannot be restored through cleaning or teeth whitening, dental veneers or dental bonding can offer an effective and aesthetically pleasing solution. These treatments involve applying a thin layer of tooth-colored material, such as porcelain or composite resin, to the affected tooth's surface, disguising the discoloration and improving the tooth's overall appearance.

Preventative Measures

To prevent black teeth, maintain a proper oral hygiene routine, including regular brushing, flossing, and dental checkups. Additionally, reduce consumption of stain-causing foods and drinks, and consider using a straw when consuming beverages that can contribute to tooth discoloration. Some studies have also shown the consumption of collard greens alongside red wines – counterintuitively – actually decreases the likelihood of black stains on teeth, so it may be worth exploring.

Rotten Teeth

A rotten tooth, medically referred to as a cavity, is the consequence of severe tooth decay that has reached and penetrated the pulp of the tooth, resulting in an infection. When left untreated, this infection can spread and lead to abscesses and other dental complications. One of the telltale signs of a rotten tooth is a black or dark spot on the tooth. In order to address this issue, it's crucial to consult a dentist immediately to assess the extent of the damage and plan the necessary course of action.

Injury Or Trauma

Injuries to the mouth or dental trauma can manifest in various ways, one of which is a tooth turning black. When a tooth experiences trauma, the soft inner tissues and blood vessels can rupture, causing the blood inside the tooth to clot and lead to discoloration. Over time, the tooth may darken and ultimately turn black. Depending on the severity of the injury, treatment options can range from root canal therapy to tooth extraction. Again, consulting a dentist is crucial to determine the best course of action.

Tartar Or Calculus

Tartar, sometimes called calculus, is a hard, calcified deposit that forms on teeth due to the prolonged accumulation of plaque, which is a sticky biofilm consisting of bacteria and food debris. When tartar buildup occurs, it can cause teeth to appear black, particularly near the gum line. This can lead to various dental issues, including gum disease and tooth decay. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings can help keep tartar at bay and preserve your oral health.

Tobacco Use

Both smoking and chewing tobacco are notorious for causing discoloration and staining of the teeth. The chemicals found in tobacco products can lead to the formation of black or dark spots on teeth, in addition to increasing one's risk of gum disease and tooth decay. Reducing or eliminating tobacco use can significantly lower your chances of developing black spots and other dental issues.

Dental Restorations

Metal amalgam fillings, crowns, or other dental restorations may darken a tooth and eventually turn it black over time. This discoloration occurs as the metal ions from the filling or crown leach into the tooth structure, leading to a darkening effect. In these cases, consult your dentist about potentially replacing these restorations with tooth-colored alternatives such as composite resin or porcelain materials.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Neglecting proper oral hygiene can lead to various dental troubles, including black lines, black stains, or even black gums. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste and flossing daily can help prevent tartar buildup and discoloration. Additionally, visiting your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings can ensure that your teeth and gums stay in optimal health, reducing the likelihood of black spots forming on your teeth.

For some patients, a blend of natural teeth whitening remedies (such as oil pulling, using baking soda, or consuming stain-preventing foods) alongside professional dental treatments can help improve their smile's appearance.

In any case, it's essential to consult with a dental professional to determine the most appropriate treatment for your specific situation.

How To Prevent Black Teeth: Comprehensive Tips and Techniques To Keep In Mind

Maintaining Oral Hygiene

To keep your teeth, gums, and overall oral health in top shape, it's crucial to follow a proper oral hygiene routine. This starts with brushing your teeth for at least two minutes, twice a day, preferably using a fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride toothpaste helps to strengthen tooth enamel and protect your teeth against decay. Additionally, make sure to replace your toothbrush regularly, about every three months, to ensure optimal effectiveness. Investing in a tongue scraper is also a great idea, as it will help you remove bacteria and plaque from your tongue that could contribute to bad breath and tooth decay.

Taking Care Of Your Gums

Your gums play an essential role in maintaining good oral health. Black teeth can result when there is an accumulation of plaque, leading to gum disease. To prevent this, gently brush along the gum line when cleaning your teeth, using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Be on the lookout for signs of gum disease, such as red or swollen gums, bleeding when brushing or flossing, or receding gum lines.

Visiting your dentist regularly for checkups and professional cleanings will also ensure that any potential issues are swiftly detected and managed.

Using Mouthwash For Additional Protection

Mouthwash is an excellent tool for supporting your oral hygiene routine. It can help to kill bacteria, reduce bad breath, and dislodge leftover food particles from your teeth. To maximize the benefits, opt for a mouthwash that contains fluoride, as this can help to further strengthen your enamel and protect against decay.

By thoroughly following these preventive measures, you can significantly improve your oral health and avoid issues such as black or dark spots on your teeth. Remember that consistency is key - maintain your oral hygiene routine diligently, and visit your dentist regularly for optimal results.

Floss Between Your Teeth Daily – The Importance Of Dental Hygiene

Flossing should be an integral part of your dental hygiene routine. It helps to remove plaque and food particles from the spaces between your teeth and below the gum line – areas where your toothbrush simply cannot reach. By flossing on a daily basis, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues that may contribute to the appearance of black dots on your teeth.

Limit Food And Drinks Such As Coffee Or Coca Cola – Controlling Tooth Staining

Teeth staining can be caused by a variety of foods and beverages. Drinks such as coffee, tea, red wine, and dark-colored sodas, like Coca Cola, are known culprits when it comes to staining your teeth. Similarly, foods with strong pigments or colors, like berries or tomato sauce, also have the potential to stain your teeth. By limiting your consumption of these teeth-staining items, you can improve your smile and prevent the development of black or dark dots on your teeth.

Are Black Teeth A Sign Of Oral Cancer? Understanding The Risks

Black teeth, in and of themselves, are not necessarily a direct sign of oral cancer. Some cultures, like the Austronesians, actually stain their teeth black as part of their traditional heritage.

But most of the time black teeth are a sign of chronic inflammation or untreated oral health issues – and both potentially increase your risk of developing oral cancer in the long run. By visiting your dentist for regular checkups and maintaining a proactive approach to your oral health, you'll be better equipped to monitor and manage any changes or concerns that may arise. In doing so, you not only help prevent black dots on your teeth but also reduce the chances of more serious oral health complications.

How Long Does It Take For A Tooth To Go Black?

The time frame for a tooth turning black can vary greatly and is largely dependent on the underlying cause. In cases of tooth decay or dental injuries, the tooth can darken within a matter of weeks or months. On the other hand, staining of the teeth due to regular consumption of beverages like coffee, tea, or red wine as well as the use of tobacco products can lead to gradually darkening teeth over an extended period of several years.

How Can I Remove Black From My Teeth?

The process of removing black stains from your teeth will ultimately depend on the root cause of the discoloration. In many cases, a visit to the dentist for a professional cleaning or teeth whitening procedure can successfully eliminate surface stains. However, if the problem at hand is linked to deeper stains or significant tooth decay, more intensive dental treatment ranging from dental fillings to crowns, or even root canals, may be necessary to restore the affected tooth to a healthy state.

Are Teeth Blackening Permanent?

Teeth blackening or discoloration is not always a permanent problem. In some cases, the issue can be effectively reversed with professional teeth cleaning or whitening treatments, which are specifically designed to target and remove superficial stains caused by various external factors. However, if the blackening is the result of damage to the tooth's internal structure or extensive decay, the discoloration may persist even after treatment. In such cases, the tooth may need to be restored using dental fillings, crowns, or veneers to improve its appearance, or in severe scenarios, be extracted entirely and replaced with a dental implant or bridge.

Can A Black Tooth Be Whitened?

Black or discolored teeth can be concerning, but whether they can be whitened depends on the underlying cause. In cases of surface stains or minimal discoloration, teeth can often be whitened effectively using professional or at-home teeth whitening treatments. However, for more severe staining or issues within the tooth, more extensive dental procedures like fillings, crowns, or veneers may be required to restore the tooth's appearance and functionality.

Does A Black Tooth Need To Be Removed?

The necessity of removing a black tooth depends on the specific cause and severity of the problem. Not all black teeth need to be extracted. It is essential to consult your dentist for a thorough examination and professional advice based on your individual situation to determine the most appropriate course of action.

What Drugs Cause Teeth To Turn Black?

There are various medications and drugs that can contribute to teeth turning black or cause black triangles to form between teeth, resulting in an unappealing appearance. Notable examples include certain antibiotics (like tetracycline), antihistamines, blood pressure medications, and some antipsychotic drugs. It's crucial to consult with your doctor or dentist if you suspect your medication is causing discoloration.

Will Teeth Turn White Again If They Are Black?

Whether black teeth will turn white again largely depends on the cause of the discoloration and the chosen treatment options. Some teeth can be whitened with professional or at-home treatments, but others may require dental procedures such as fillings, crowns, or veneers to restore their appearance. Consult your dentist for personalized guidance and treatment recommendations.

What Antibiotic Causes Black Teeth?

Antibiotics, specifically tetracycline and its derivatives (like doxycycline), can cause permanent staining and discoloration of teeth. This discoloration tends to be more common and severe when the medications are given to children whose teeth are still forming during development. Consequently, caution should be exercised when prescribing these antibiotics for children.

Does Brushing 3 Times A Day Remove Black Teeth?

Maintaining good oral hygiene through regular brushing is essential for preventing the buildup of plaque and new stains. While brushing three times a day can keep your teeth clean and promote good oral health, it may not be sufficient to remove already-existing black stains or discolorations. In such cases, professional dental cleanings and teeth whitening options might be necessary to improve the appearance of black teeth. Your dentist can provide personalized guidance on proper oral hygiene practices and the most suitable treatment options for your situation.