Black Spot On Tooth: Causes and Treatment

A set of healthy white teeth can help build your smile and self-confidence, so having black stains or spots on your teeth can be quite worrisome.

These spots can appear on your teeth for a variety of reasons. Before worrying about the aesthetic issues, you need to find out the exact cause and get the proper treatment.

Black spots can signify the start of a serious tooth problem or can be a result of stains from different foods or drinks like tea, coffee or other beverages.


What Causes Black Spots On Teeth?

1. Fluorosis

Fluoride is available naturally in water and in toothpaste. If taken excessively during the early stages of tooth formation, it results in a condition called fluorosis. This can show on the teeth as black or brown discoloration. This condition is only cosmetic and the teeth appear healthy.

2. Antibiotics

Certain antibiotics like tetracycline can cause black discoloration and stains on the teeth when given to young children less than 8 years of age. Also if given to pregnant women, it can cause discoloration of the baby’s teeth when they start forming.

3. Celiac Disease

People with celiac disease, a condition that affects the small intestine, may have teeth that are not properly developed. The appearance of white, yellow or black spots may be noticed on the teeth and these effects are permanent.

4. Pulp Necrosis

Trauma to the tooth can cause black discoloration on the affected tooth surface over time. This happens because the innermost layer of the tooth (the pulp), which contains the nerves and blood vessels, is affected and dies off – a condition called pulp necrosis.

5. Cavity

One of the earliest signs of a cavity is a black spot on the tooth. These spots occur mostly on the chewing surfaces of molars and premolars and the cutting surfaces of the incisors. It can be caused by a high intake of refined sugars and poor oral hygiene.


6. Tartar

Tartar is also known as calculus. This is a bacterial plaque that forms on the surface of the teeth which has hardened over time and cannot be removed by your toothbrush. This build-up is noticed at the gum line and can appear as a black band.

7. Other Causes

Certain foods, habits or medications can also cause black stains on the teeth.

  • Eating or drinking dark food products like black tea, coffee, red wine or kola nut.
  • Taking liquid iron supplement medication
  • Some kinds of toothpaste and mouthwashes can cause black spots on the teeth over time
  • Smoking cigarettes or other tobacco products
  • Tooth filling materials


The treatment depends on the cause.

Scaling and Polishing

Black spots as a result of stains from tea, coffee, tobacco, and the likes can be treated by professional cleaning at a dental clinic called scaling and polishing. Stain removal procedures using pumice can also be done in the clinic.

Good Oral Hygiene

Proper oral hygiene practices such as brushing twice daily with a medium textured toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride, flossing and using mouthwash can help to prevent plaque and tartar build-up. Because tartar cannot be removed by your toothbrush, professional cleaning is recommended.


Change Filling Material

If you have silver tooth filling materials on your tooth, discuss with your dentist on changing it to other tooth-colored filling material like composite, glass ionomer cement or even placing a crown on the tooth in cases of severe weakening of the tooth structure.

Root Canal Treatment

If the black spot is as a result if a cavity, then your dentist will fill the tooth. If the damage is extensive, then a root canal or extraction of the tooth will be carried out.

If the discoloration is due to pulpal necrosis, a root canal treatment is done first to treat the infected or dead pulp, then treatment to improve the appearance is done afterward.

Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening can also be done. This is a procedure that is done to whiten the teeth using a gel that contains hydrogen peroxide. The whitening procedure can be done in a dental clinic. They are also sold over the counter in some pharmacies as a whitening kit but they have to be used under proper supervision by your dentist.

Cosmetic Treatment

Veneers: These are materials made from composite or porcelain. They are layers of material placed over the teeth to improve their appearance.

Crowns: A crown, also known as a dental cap, is a material that is cemented over a tooth to completely cap it. They are usually made from acrylic, stainless steel or porcelain. They can also be placed on a heavily filled tooth to give the tooth extra strength and support.


Black spots on teeth can be prevented in the following by:

  • Proper oral hygiene practices like brushing twice daily and flossing.
  • Visiting your dentist at least twice a year for routine checks and professional cleaning. Don’t wait until it gets really bad before going to the clinic.
  • Reducing your intake of refined sugars, soda, and other carbonated drinks. If you have to take them, make sure you brush your teeth, rinse your mouth with water or chew on sugar-free gum afterward. Chewing on gum helps to clean the teeth as saliva is being produced thereby minimizing the build-up of plaque.
  • Also limit your intake of tea, coffee or other colored food that can stain your teeth.
  • Programs that help people quit smoking will be beneficial to prevent stains caused by smoking and other tobacco products.
  • Mouthguards should be worn, especially in people who engage in contact sports to prevent trauma to the teeth
  • Toothpaste, mouthwashes or liquid iron supplements that may cause black spots on the teeth should be avoided as much as possible.
  • Antibiotics such as tetracycline should not be given to children less than 8 yrs old or pregnant women so that it does not cause discoloration as the teeth are being formed.


Black spots are usually caused by a number of factors, both intrinsic and extrinsic. Ensure you visit your dentist on time if you notice any changes in the color and appearance of your teeth.

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