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Do you know why teeth can sometimes turn black? Many of us have seen it before: a mouth with some – or all – of the teeth having turned an unappetizing dark spot.

It’s usually startling, if not downright alarming at first glance, but there are some reasonable explanations for why tooth discoloration occurs and how it can be prevented.

We’ll dive into what causes black tooth and explain where it may stem from so that you can better understand your oral health and make decisions that result in brighter-looking smiles.

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Causes Of Black Tooth Enamel


Staining is one of the most common causes of tooth turning black, resulting in black teeth. Black stains on the tooth’s outer layer, or dental enamel, can occur when we consume certain foods and drinks, including tea, coffee, red wine, and cola.

Tooth Decay

root canal

Another cause of black teeth is dental decay caused by an acidic environment in the mouth. Bacteria on the tooth create acid in the root canal, which can eat away at the enamel, creating dark spots that may be visible through the tooth’s surface.


Certain medications, particularly antibiotics such as tetracycline, trigger the tooth to turn black when taken for prolonged periods of time. This discoloration may appear as a grey or black hue on the tooth enamel.


Trauma to the tooth, such as chipping or cracking, can cause one or more of the tooth to turn black. In some cases, trauma can lead to a fracture in the tooth that will expose both the dentin and the root, leading to a black tooth.


Genetics can also play a role in black teeth. Some people are born with a genetic predisposition for discoloration of the tooth, especially on the front lower teeth. This type of discoloration is typically more difficult to treat than other causes of black teeth.


root canal

Tartar, or calculus, is a hard deposit that forms on the teeth and may cause black teeth. Black tartar can be difficult to remove and may require professional cleaning to restore the tooth’s natural color.

Liquid iron supplements can also lead to tartar formation, causing a black tooth appearance.


Tobacco use is another major reason why teeth turn black. The chemicals in tobacco can penetrate the tooth enamel and cause discoloration, as well as an increased risk for gum disease and tooth decay.

Dental Restoration

Dental restorations like fillings and crowns contain amalgam and silver sulfide that blackens the tooth.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Poor oral hygiene is another common cause of black teeth. When plaque builds up on the teeth and gum line, it can lead to staining and discoloration. Besides the unsightly color, you may be experiencing swelling or bleeding of the gums. This condition opens the door for gum disease. There are many ways to prevent black teeth developing as you age, which includes taking care of your gums.


Certian foods can cause discoloration of the teeth, including acidic fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, cranberries, and oranges.

Sugary drinks such as soda or sports drinks can also contribute to staining. Avoiding or limiting these types of foods and drinks can help to prevent black teeth.


During aging, the teeths’ hard outer layer begins to wear away, and the dentin beneath it becomes more exposed, causing the tooth to become yellow, brown, or black in color. Regular dental check-ups can help to identify any signs of tooth decay and your teeth turning black.

How To Treat Tooth Decay

Simple Cleaning

black lines

You need to brush and clean your teeth at least twice a day using fluoride toothpaste to prevent discoloration.

Make sure to brush for at least two minutes each time, paying extra attention to the back of your mouth and between the teeth. Regularly flossing will also prevent the gums from bleeding due to inflammation.

Flossing can also help remove any plaque that builds up and might cause blackness.

Regular Dental Checkups

Visiting your dentist regularly is a great way to prevent black teeth.

Your dentist can check for any signs of decay, the underlying cause and recommend additional treatments you might need to keep your teeth healthy.

For tartar, the dental unit must have ultrasonic instruments to break it down, making it easier to get rid of the stains. If the decay is in its early stages, then you’re lucky your teeth color can be restored.


Using an antibacterial mouthwash containing chlorine dioxide can help remove bacteria that cause blackness in the teeth. It also gives your mouth a refreshing, clean feeling. It is effective for root canal treatment as it penetrates the gum tissue.

Whitening Toothpaste and Whitening by Dentist

Using a whitening toothpaste that is specifically designed to target discoloration can help diminish any black stain or black line on your rotten teeth.

However, it’s important to note that these kinds of teeth whitening products don’t always work and may take several months before the white appearance.

Whitening Strips

Whitening strips are thin and flexible pieces of plastic that you place onto your teeth. They contain a whitening agent which breaks down discoloration, leaving you with brighter, whiter tooth.

The effect usually takes several weeks to be noticeable and may need to be repeated every few months in order to achieve optimal results.

Avoiding Certain Foods And Drinks

Certain food and drinks, such as coffee, red wine, and cigarettes, are known to stain teeth. If you’re looking for dental restoration, try to avoid these items as much as possible.

Additionally, eating different foods like crunchy fruits and vegetables can help clean away surface discoloration, while dairy products like milk and cheese can protect the teeth enamel from further damage.

When Is Tooth Removal Advised?

You can remove your black tooth if its severely decayed or damaged, infected, crowded and causing misalignment, impacted and blocking other teeth from erupting, or otherwise preventing the healthy eruption of other teeth.

dental practice

If a tooth has an abscess that cannot be treated with antibiotics, then you could be forced to visit an emergency dentist, and it may be necessary to remove black teeth.

A dentist (dental professional) will assess your individual situation and advise you on some of the best treatments for your specific dental needs.

Your dentist may also recommend having the dead tooth removed if it is preventing you from properly brushing and flossing, as this can lead to other dental problems.

Ultimately, removing a dead tooth will be based on your situation and what’s best for your oral health. More problems may only occur if left untreated.


Identifying the cause of the black spots on your teeth is the first and most important step in taking action to improve your oral hygiene. Visit your dentist to accurately assess and explore treatment options that are best for your dental restorations.

In the meantime, continue to brush and floss regularly, eat a balanced diet, and drink plenty of water to keep your mouth healthy and free from harmful bacteria.

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