Why Do I Have Black Spots on My Teeth? How to Get Rid of Them

Why Do I Have Black Spots on My Teeth? How to Get Rid of Them
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Why Do I Have Black Spots on My Teeth? How to Get Rid of ThemClinical Content Reviewed by Dr. Jay Khorsandi, DDS
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Table of Contents

  1. Why Black Spots Form
  2. Causes
  3. Treatment Options
  4. Preventing Formation & Return
  5. References

Black spots can form on your teeth for a number of reasons, but one of the most common causes is tooth decay. This can cause cavities to form that will need to be treated by a dentist.

Your teeth can become discolored from certain foods and drinks that can stain your teeth. Medications and an excess intake of fluoride can also cause black spots to form. Black spots on your teeth might indicate a medical issue, such as celiac disease.

To get rid of black spots, the treatment is going to depend on the cause. If your black spots are caused by tartar buildup and/or a cavity, the dentist will need to remove the decay and fill the cavity.

To prevent black spots from returning, practice good oral hygiene. You may also need to change your dietary habits.

Why Black Spots Form

You can get unsightly black spots on your teeth from many things, but the most common causes for dark discoloration on your teeth are cavities or underlying decay.1
When you eat, bacteria can form into plaque. This can harden into tartar that then builds up and stays on your teeth.2 Tartar can cause tooth decay, which can make your teeth appear discolored or as if they have black spots on them.

Causes of Black Spots on Teeth

Other reasons for black spots to form on your teeth include:3

  • Food or drinks. Some foods and drinks (particularly coffee, soda, and wine) can stain teeth.
  • Tobacco or nicotine products: These are well known to stain teeth.
  • Prior dental work: Fillings, crowns, and bridges wear down over time. If metal is used, it can transfer some of the coloring onto the teeth.
  • Age: As you get older, the enamel on your teeth naturally degrades, showing the yellow dentin underneath. This can then darken and appear brown or black.
  • Certain medications: Some medications, particularly the antibiotic tetracycline, can lead to tooth discoloration and the formation of brown or black spots on the teeth.

Brown, dark spots, yellow, white spots on your teeth can also be an indicator of a medical condition, such as celiac disease. Your molars and incisors are most often affected. Indications of the disease on your teeth can also include weakened enamel, translucence, and pitting.

Treatment for Black Spots

If you notice black spots on your teeth, talk to your dentist. These spots can sometimes indicate an underlying medical condition that needs to be managed.

They can also mean that you have tooth decay. Once the enamel on your teeth has eroded, it cannot be replaced. The goal is to catch tooth decay early enough to stop it from spreading. When treated during the early decay phase, your enamel can actually repair itself.

Treatment for black spots is based on the cause of the spots. For instance, if your black spots are caused by staining your teeth with food, drinks, medications, or tobacco products, the answer is to reduce your use or consumption of these products and practice proper oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth a few times a week with a solution of baking soda can help as well.

If you have a cavity, the dentist will need to remove the decay and then use a filling or crown to reshape your tooth.

Your dentist can also offer teeth whitening procedures that can help to restore the color of your teeth. There are many options for teeth whitening, but it is generally best to talk to your dentist before using any of these products and to find the actual cause of the black spots.

Professional dental treatments are often required to remove black spots from your teeth.

Preventing the Formation & Return of Black Spots

One of the best ways to prevent black spots from forming on your teeth is to practice good oral hygiene. This includes the following:4

  • Brush with a fluoride toothpaste at least two times per day.
  • Floss or cleaning between your teeth once per day.
  • Attend regular dental visits for a professional cleaning at least two times per year.
  • Reduce the amount of sugary and sticky foods you consume as well as use of products that can stain your teeth.
  • Eat balanced and nutritious meals.
  • Limit snacking.
  • Talk to your dentist about supplemental fluoride and sealants.

If you practice proper oral hygiene and take good care of your teeth, you can keep black spots from forming in the first place, but you can also keep them from coming back once you have removed them. Once you know what is causing the black spots to form, you can work to eliminate them at the source and then work to keep them from coming back.

Your dentist is the best resource for helping to find the cause of the black spots on your teeth. They can help you come up with a treatment plan for removing them and preventing them from returning.

General References

Dental Enamel Defects and Celiac Disease. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Date Fetched: July 22, 2021.

The Tooth Decay Process: How to Reverse It and Avoid a Cavity. (July 2018). National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). Date Fetched: July 22, 2021.

Medical References

1 Black Stain and Dental Caries: A Review of the Literature. (February 2015). BioMed Research Journal. Date Fetched: July 21, 2021.

2 Tooth Decay. (April 2016). U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). Date Fetched: July 22, 2021.

3 Sudden Onset of Tooth Discoloration. (October 2018). The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. Date Fetched: July 22, 2021.

4 Decay. Mouth Healthy. American Dental Association (ADA). Date Fetched: July 22, 2021.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to serve as dental or other professional health advice and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition or symptom. You should consult a dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.