Black stains on teeth: causes and solutions

  • By Regenerate Enamel Science

It may be easy to assume that black stains on teeth are a product of bad oral hygiene but surprisingly it can be down to other factors. In this article we will explain the appearance of black spots on teeth, how to remove black stains from teeth and how to prevent them from happening.

What are black stains on teeth?

Teeth owe their colour to the amount of calcium found in the enamel, the hard outer layer of your teeth designed to protect the inner, more vulnerable layers of your teeth. Black stains on teeth can be caused simply by staining from food and drink, but they can also be the symptom of something more serious.

What are the causes of black spots on teeth?

Bowl of blackcurrants

There may be various reasons as to why your teeth are stained, but it is always best to consult your dentist if you are worried about the causes:

  • Tooth decay: One of the main symptoms of tooth decay is the appearance of discolouration of the teeth, in particular grey or black spots¹.
  • Cavities: Just like tooth decay, cavities can cause black stains on teeth. This is because the cavity exposes the tooth’s internal dentin which is darker than the outer surface (white enamel) of the teeth¹.
  • Staining from consuming certain food and drink: Eating and drinking dark-coloured or staining food products can cause black stains on teeth. As well as tea, coffee, and carbonated drinks, this also includes common foods such as blackberries and blueberries, balsamic vinegar, and soy sauce².
  • Smoking: Smoking is also a common cause of black stains on teeth. Smoking often leads to your teeth becoming yellow, but continued use will likely turn them darker. Chewing tobacco may eliminate the smoke, but will have similar effect, making it difficult to remove black stains from teeth.
  • Excessive fluoride intake³: Consuming too much fluoride can cause dark pits on the biting surface of the teeth—especially the back molars—and discolour the enamel. Children are particularly prone to discoloration from too much fluoride. 

Other factors that can create black spots on teeth are tooth enamel weakening as a result of a person aging, or fillings and crowns that begin silver but can change to black over time.

How to get rid of black stains on teeth

If you want to remove black spots from teeth that are superficial – not caused by tooth decay – there are a few options:

  • Whitening treatments³: For a simple solution to removing black stains from teeth, teeth whitening treatments, either at-home treatments or professional, can help. For more information about at-home and professional teeth whitening you can use this guide.
  • Dental prophylaxis³: This is a treatment performed by a dental professional whereby a prophylactic paste is used to remove dental plaque and tartar, as well as helping to remove surface stains.
  • Veneers: This is a more expensive solution to the problem. For particularly stubborn stains, your dentist may recommend veneers to hide black stains on teeth³.

It is always best to speak to your dentist before choosing any stain-removal treatments as they will be able to advise you on the best and safest option for your teeth.

How to prevent the appearance of black stains on teeth?

Woman drinking glass of water

Black spots on teeth often occur over a period of time, and so the best way to get prevent them through good dental hygiene:

  • Drink water regularly throughout the day, especially after eating, as this will help to dislodge any lingering food.
  • Avoid using nicotine products.
  • Limit the number of teeth-staining foods and beverages you consume.
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day using a soft bristled toothbrush, such as the Regenerate™ Toothbrush with ultra-soft bristles, specifically designed to provide gentle but thorough cleaning.
  • Choose a toothpaste designed to keep your enamel healthy and strong. REGENERATE Enamel Science™ toothpaste is powered by an exclusive and clinically proven NR-5™ technology which helps to reverse the early enamel erosion process.
  • Regular flossing will ensure any lingering food is removed from the surfaces of your teeth.

Following the tips in this article, as well as using products designed to promote strong, healthy teeth, will help to keep your teeth healthy and pearly white.

The advice in this article does not constitute medical advice; it is solely available for information purposes. We recommend that you consult your dentist If you are experiencing any dental problems. 



1 NHS – Tooth Decay

2 NCBI - Dental Black Plaque Risk Factors

3 NCBI - Remediation of Adult Black Dental Stains

4 NCBI – Veneers Masking of Dark Dental Stains

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