A heartwarming smile is all you need to create a beautiful impression in people’s minds. Perfectly set, pearly white teeth not only makes your smile appealing but also enhances your facial beauty greatly. But what if you develop black discoloration in different parts of your teeth? Those ugly dark stains will certainly hold you back from opening your mouth wide for a nice and bright smile. However, getting rid of them becomes easy when you know their possible causes. If you have also spotted such black spots on teeth, this article is going to reveal some effective home remedies to remove them as well as a few other treatment options to consider.
What Makes Teeth Appear Stained?
The normal color of our teeth is white. But it can range from whitish-yellow to whitish-gray. The color of teeth is determined by the amount of calcium present in their hard outer covering called ‘enamel’. As the natural hue of calcium is white, the teeth also take their tone. But the presence of other materials in teeth may add yellow or gray shades to them, thereby making them appear darker than their actual shades. When the enamel starts thinning with age and the underlying ‘dentin’ shows through, these stains on teeth become even more prominently visible.
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Symptoms of Black Spots on Teeth
Black spots are usually caused by the erosion or damage of the enamel on teeth. They can also be an indication of a serious oral problem, such as tooth decay, cavity, dental caries, etc. Here are the attributes that you need to keep in mind:
- The teeth do not change their color from whitish to black just overnight.
- The stains may appear brown or gray at first and turn black over time.
- In some rare cases, the teeth may develop small black dots themselves.
- These black spots can appear anywhere on teeth – on the inner side of the front teeth or the outer side of the molars.
- Dark lines can be noticed on the biting surface of the molars or tiny black dots can be observed on one or multiple grooves.
Children can also experience black spots on their teeth. However, these often occur near or just below their gumlines in pinpoint-like areas. (1)
Causes of Black Spots on Teeth
Before trying home remedies for black spots on teeth, it is essential to know the actual causes behind them. This will help you address the problem accordingly. Typically, these can result from both extrinsic and intrinsic factors. Just like some wrong practices, certain underlying dental diseases can also lead to black spots on teeth. Let’s take a look at them.
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1. Poor Oral Hygiene
Not rinsing your mouth well after each meal or not brushing your teeth properly twice a day can cause black spots.
2. Bad Food Habits
Eating foods that are loaded with sugar or drinking carbonated beverages are not good for the health of your teeth. When you consume such foods and they get deposited between your teeth, your mouth becomes the breeding ground for bacteria. These bacteria are known to feed on the sugar and destroy the enamel on teeth over time.
Smoking is another common cause of teeth discoloration. Habitual smoking makes the surface of the teeth stained to brown or black.
4. Intake of Tea/Coffee
Consuming too much tea or coffee can cause teeth staining. They contain caffeine, which stains the teeth to brown or black color. Moreover, the use of sugar in these beverages can promote bacterial staining of teeth.
5. Chewing Tobacco
Chewing tobacco is another cause behind the occurrence of black spots on teeth as the liquid in tobacco comes into direct contact with teeth. It is not only harmful to the teeth but also bad for our overall health.
6. Taking Certain Medications
If you are on certain medications like liquid iron supplements, you may find that your teeth are getting stained over time.
7. Developing Cavities
When bacteria destroy dental enamel, the teeth become decayed. The damage often progresses outward, thereby creating small holes behind. These holes usually look like dark spots on the teeth surface.
8. Having Tartar
Sometimes our teeth develop hard deposits of plaque or ‘tartar’ on the surface right below the gum line. This is mostly black and creates dark spots on teeth.
9. Undergoing Dental Restoration
Dental restoration procedures like crowns, fillings, etc. are known to make use of amalgams, such as silver sulfide. These may also make your teeth look darker with black spots here and there.
Teeth blackening or teeth lacquering was an ancient practice in which teeth used to be dyed black. In earlier days, blackened teeth were very popular in Southeast Asian and Oceanic cultures as a sign of civilization, maturity, and beauty. It was believed to preserve the health of the teeth for a longer time by acting as a natural sealant and preventing decay. (2)
Home Remedies for Black Spots on Teeth
If the staining of your teeth is not very severe, a few effective tips and home remedies would help you restore your genial smile easily. These are as follows:
1. Following Good Dental Hygiene
Nothing can be more important than following proper dental hygiene. Make it a point to brush your teeth twice every day with fluoride toothpaste. Swish your mouth with a high-quality mouthwash every time you eat or drink something. Also, do not forget to floss your teeth to remove any food particles deposited in the interdental gap. This is one of the major breeding grounds for bacteria.
2. Chewing on Raw Greens
Chewing on a lot of raw greens can help you keep your teeth clean, white, and stain-free. You can munch on veggies like celery, lettuce, etc., which not only keep your teeth clean but also keep your breath fresh.
3. Brushing with Baking Soda
Add a pinch of baking soda to your toothpaste before you brush. It has great abrasive properties, which help in eliminating superfluous stains easily. For more stubborn spots, make a paste of baking soda with water and apply it directly to your teeth in a circular motion. Scrubbing your teeth gently yet well will rid them of any stain.
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4. Rubbing with Salt
Rubbing the teeth with a pinch of salt will restore their mineral content while removing the spots gradually. Prolonged use of this remedy will make your teeth completely free of black spots.
5. Using Orange Peel
Rubbing the teeth with the inner part of an orange peel helps in removing stains and spots from the teeth. Make sure that you focus on the affected part of the teeth during the process.
6. Applying Strawberry Mixture
Make a paste by mixing the strawberry pulp with baking soda and salt. Rub it daily onto your teeth for 5-10 minutes. In this procedure, vitamin C in the fruit will remove the plaque while malic acid will eliminate the black stain.
Other Treatment Options to Consider
The staining or black spots reflect poorly on one’s dental hygiene and general habits. Hence, scheduling regular dental visits is vital to stay away from this. Check out below the most common treatment options recommended by dentists for this purpose (3):
- In most cases, a simple scaling can eliminate the issue.
- If tartar is the cause, scraping the buildup off your teeth with specially designed hand scalers will eliminate the issue.
- Brushing the teeth with pumice powder may also work.
- Severely stained teeth may need professional stain removal and teeth whitening.
But most black spots on teeth are recurrent and hence, a professional cleaning can be required to resolve the aesthetic problem. However, ultrasonic cleaning (using vibrating instruments for breaking apart the tartar) is never recommended for this purpose as it can lead to enamel removal.
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If the black spots on teeth do not go away with any of the aforementioned home remedies, then it is best to consult a dentist immediately to fix the discoloration. The longer you will allow the severe damage to happen, the higher will be your risk of losing the tooth.
Preventive Measures to Follow
Following are some simple preventive measures that can help you stay from black spots on teeth:
- Make sure that you follow good oral hygiene practice by brushing your teeth twice a day (once in the morning and once at night) and flossing regularly.
- Rinse your mouth thoroughly after every meal to get rid of any food particles deposited between the teeth.
- Cut down on sugary and carbonated foods as much as possible and rinse your mouth every time you eat something sweet.
- Avoid foods like beets, grapes, etc. that can stain the teeth.
- Use a straw while drinking caffeinated drinks.
- Kick the habits of smoking and chewing tobacco altogether.
Black spots are caused by the erosion or damage of the enamel on teeth. They can result from both extrinsic and intrinsic factors including poor oral hygiene, bad food habits, smoking, intake of tea/coffee, chewing tobacco, taking certain medications, developing cavities, having tartar, undergoing dental restoration, etc. If the staining is not severe, a few effective tips and home remedies would help you restore your genial smile easily. Start following good dental hygiene, chew on lots of raw greens, brush your teeth with baking soda, rub them with salt or orange peel, and apply strawberry masks to eliminate ugly black spots from your teeth. However, scheduling regular dental visits is vital to stay away from this and dentists may recommend some other treatment options based on the severity of your condition. Following some simple preventive measures is also necessary to steer clear of the issue.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is a Black Spot on Tooth Always a Cavity?
Not all black spots on teeth are cavities. Many of them can be stains caused by food or drinks too. Sometimes teeth with cavities may not have any spot-like signs at all.
Can You Reverse Tooth Decay?
If the decay is not too extensive and no cavity is formed, the damage of teeth enamel will also not be severe. This can be reversed with the help of the minerals from saliva fluoride toothpaste, etc.
Why Do I have Brown Stains Between My Teeth?
Eating too much sugary food often creates bacteria-filled plaque build-ups on teeth. When this bacteria produces acid and breaks down the enamel, the teeth starts developing brown stains on them.
How Do I Get Rid of Brown Stains Between My Teeth?
Make a paste by mixing baking soda with water and brush your teeth with it frequently. This will help you get rid of those pesky brown dental stains naturally.
- “What Causes Teeth to Turn Black?”, MedicalNewsToday.com
- “Teeth Blackening”, Wikipedia.org
- “Why Do Teeth Turn Black?”, Healthline.com