How to Prevent Black Stains on Teeth

Even if your kids are pretty good about taking care of their teeth, they still may have black stains from certain foods and drinks. Don’t be discouraged! There are ways to prevent these stains and fix teeth that are already stained.

Black stains do more than spoil your child’s beautiful white smile. Some black stains can be signs of tooth decay. Knowing the different causes of black marks on teeth can help you protect your child from the pain of a decayed tooth.

Luckily, you can help keep your kid smiling bright with simple steps to prevent and remove black stains on teeth. A trustworthy dentist will be able to help you determine what caused the black tooth stains. At Kool Smiles, we provide several treatments for black teeth in kids.

The kid-friendly dentists at Kool Smiles know how to bring your kid’s white, shiny smile back. We know going to the dentist can be a scary experience for a kid, especially if they’re nervous about stained teeth. That’s why we go out of our way to make sure you and your child feel comfortable. Call us today at 254-781-0553 to book an appointment and get rid of the black stains on your child’s teeth.

What Causes Black Stains on Teeth?

In children, baby teeth can turn dark brown or black for many different reasons. Black stains are on the outside of the tooth and are caused by certain foods and drinks, as well as some medicines. Teeth may also have black spots due to internal decay from cavities or other serious tooth health issues.

Each person has a different amount of white to yellow coloring in their teeth. Even genetics can cause some discoloration in teeth. Most major black stains on teeth, however, are signs of a poor diet or poor dental hygiene.

Why Are Teeth White?

Although we usually think of teeth as white, teeth naturally range in color. Teeth are made up of layers. The bottom layer is actually a yellow color, and the top layer, called the enamel, is a blueish white shade. The enamel layer is slightly see-through, so the yellow beneath it causes teeth to look darker.

Children’s teeth tend to show more white color than adult teeth because baby teeth have more calcium. Each child’s teeth will be different and one kid’s teeth may naturally be more yellow than others. However, black stains in teeth are much darker than these natural shades.

Why Do Teeth Turn Black?

Teeth may turn black for a number of reasons. Black stains on kid’s teeth are commonly linked to diet. Common causes of black stains on teeth from foods and drinks are:

  • Acidic drinks like sodas and sports drinks
  • Dark colored berries and foods and drinks made with them
  • Dark colored sauces like soy sauce, tomato sauce and curry sauce
  • Liquid iron supplements

Stained teeth can be a sign that the child is not practicing good oral hygiene including brushing and flossing. Other factors including certain oral diseases can cause black spots and staining.

There are two categories for causes of black stains on teeth. External factors cause the outside of the tooth to change color. Internal stains affect the tooth from the inside out. Internally stained teeth in children may mean that the teeth are decaying. A tooth with a black spot from decay can quickly become painful.

External Causes of Stained Teeth

Black stains on teeth often come from external causes. Known as extrinsic stains, these black stains on teeth affect the outer tooth layer, the enamel. Since the enamel is on the outside of the tooth, the black stains are easier to avoid with simple lifestyle changes.

Children may have black stains on their teeth from several food or drink sources. Foods like chocolate, berries and pickles can cause black stains. Eating and drinking acidic foods like fruits or sports drinks can break down the tooth enamel. As the enamel layer weakens, it is more likely to get stained.

Other extrinsic causes of black stains on teeth are dark sauces like soy sauce or curries. Tomato sauce may not seem very dark in color, but over time it can be the cause of black stains on teeth. Black stains caused by external sources can be corrected with the help of a trusted dentist for kids.

Black Tartar on Teeth

Tartar on teeth can appear as black spots and stains. Black tartar is caused by a buildup of plaque that is not properly cleaned. Though they can appear above gums, black tartar spots usually show up on the teeth surfaces.

Over time, plaque, which is a sticky film on the teeth that contains bacteria, hardens on teeth and reacts to acids in foods to become tartar. Black tartar on teeth will grow over time if not treated. While plaque can be kept away by brushing, tartar is much harder to remove.

Internal Causes of Black Stains on Teeth

Black stains on teeth may also appear from the inside out. These internal stains, called intrinsic discoloration, are much more difficult to remove. This is because intrinsic stains are much deeper in the layers of the tooth. Generally, these deep stains in the tooth begin to form when the tooth is growing, often when the child is a baby.

Intrinsic stains may be caused very early in the formation of the tooth. Early causes of internal black stains on teeth include medications given to a baby that contain certain antibiotics. Excess fluoride when a child’s teeth are forming enamel can also cause internal staining.

An injury to a tooth can also cause internal black stains. Tooth injuries include falls that chip a tooth or an injury that damages nerves in the mouth. When a tooth becomes injured, the body sends more blood to the area to help the healing process. The excess blood flow can create dark red or black stains on the tooth.

Black Tooth Decay

One of the most common types of tooth stains is black tooth decay. Over time, poor dental habits such as not brushing and flossing can lead to tooth decay. Cavities are a common type of decay that can be caused by eating and drinking a lot of sugary or acidic foods.

Black tooth decay is usually caused by external factors but affects the inside of the tooth outward. Not brushing and flossing teeth at least twice a day is one of the most common causes of tooth decay. As plaque and tartar are left on a tooth, they break down the outer layer.

Once the outer enamel layer of a tooth is damaged, bacteria can find its way inside the tooth. This leads to black tooth decay resulting in cavities and infections. Decay can be extremely painful if left untreated.

What’s the Good News About Tooth Discoloration?

The good news is that there are ways to prevent and remove black stains on your kids’ teeth. In fact, preventing black stains can be as easy as teaching your kid a proper brushing and flossing routine. Other preventative measures can help stop black stains from forming.

Existing black stains are usually treatable. Black teeth treatment may include at-home remedies or over-the-counter whitening products. The safest way to treat black stains on teeth, however, is to visit a doctor who specializes in dentistry for kids.

Close up of an african father watching his son brush his teeth in the bathroom.

How to Prevent Black Stains on Teeth

You can help your kids prevent black stains by

  • Limiting the amount of carbonated drinks and sports drinks they have
  • Giving them a straw to drink with to prevent liquid from coming into contact with their teeth
  • Having them swish with water or chew sugarless gum after they eat or drink
  • Encouraging brushing and flossing teeth twice a day

Developing a lesson plan for brushing teeth may help your kid learn and apply healthy oral hygiene habits. If possible, brushing their teeth right after eating food that might cause staining can be one of the best ways to prevent black stains. Additionally, avoid letting your child eat or drink the foods that cause black stains on teeth too often.

If a toothbrush is not available, chewing sugarless gum after eating or drinking can help stop black tartar forming on teeth. Chewing gum works by releasing saliva and neutralizing acids from food and drink. The saliva helps to wash plaque off the teeth before it can harden.

Black Teeth Treatment for Kids

There are several treatment options for black stains on teeth. Getting professional treatment for black stains from a trusted dentist is the most effective way to remove stains. If your kid’s tooth stains are caused by tartar or a cavity, a visit to the dentist is necessary.

A dentist will use professional tools to scrape away tartar and plaque safely. Some home remedies or treatments can be harsh on teeth, especially the developing teeth of young children. At Kool Smiles, our dentists can help your child feel safe and talk with them to help them understand the importance of good brushing and flossing habits.

If your child has a serious internal black stain, such as a cavity, it is important to schedule a dentist appointment right away by calling 254-781-0553. Black tooth decay can worsen over time. Seeking help from a professional, kid-friendly dentist at Kool Smiles can save your child’s tooth by removing the decay.

Remove Black Stains on Teeth at Kool Smiles

If black stains are spoiling your kid’s smile, have them easily removed by a trusted dental professional. The kid-friendly dentists at Kool Smiles have the training and experience to keep your kid’s smile healthy and white. We specialize in making children feel comfortable at the dentist’s office.

We offer affordable black teeth treatment options to meet your budget. Our office accepts Medicaid and TRICARE as well as other payment options. Call us at 254-781-0553 today to find your local office and make an appointment.

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Sources:

Science Focus: sciencefocus.com/the-human-body/are-yellow-teeth-stronger/

The Mayo Clinic: mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/expert-answers/baby-teeth/faq-20057765

Tufts University Now: now.tufts.edu/articles/what-causes-discolored-teeth-and-there-any-way-cure-or-prevent-staining

WebMD: webmd.com/oral-health/features/foods-stain-teeth-feature

Colgate: colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/life-stages/adult-oral-care/black-tartar-on-teeth-0515

Mouth Healthy by the American Dental Association: mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/p/plaque?_ga=2.168089697.135621455.1536601193-2066387638.1536601193

Tooth IQ: toothiq.com/dental-diagnosis/intrinsic-stains/

Medical News Today: medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321480.php

Tooth Club: toothclub.gov.hk/en/en_adu_01_05_02_02.html