Having black stains on your teeth can be unsightly and embarrassing, affecting your confidence and self-esteem. There are several factors that can cause black stains, including poor oral hygiene, consuming staining foods and drinks, severe tooth decay, and smoking or using tobacco products, among others.
Fortunately, it is possible to get rid of these stains and restore the natural whiteness of your teeth. From brushing and flossing regularly, to using whitening toothpaste and strips, to professional teeth whitening treatments, to dental veneers or bonding, there are options available to help you achieve a brighter, more confident smile
Everyone loves the appearance of bright smiles with dazzling pearly whites, but how do these people prevent their teeth from staining with shades of yellow, brown, gray, or even black? Tooth discoloration can be difficult to prevent or get rid of, but it’s possible. There are certain things that you can cut out or limit to get a brighter smile. Think of it like this: anything that can stain a white shirt can also discolor your teeth, including chocolate, soda, coffee, tea, grape, berries, and red wine.
Teeth might become discolored under a variety of conditions. In most cases, the discoloration is caused by external factors (extrinsic) such as consuming colored foods and drinks. In such cases, the staining only affects the tooth enamel – outer surface of the tooth – and can normally be successfully prevented by brushing your teeth immediately after consuming meals that can darken them. You should also make sure you floss daily and brush your teeth at least twice a day, and limit your intake of foods and drinks that can discolor your teeth.
That said, it is not uncommon for you to brush your teeth every day, yet the shade of your teeth continues to turn yellow. The color of your teeth is determined by factors other than just brushing them, thus it is neither your fault nor within your power to change. If you brush them every day and the yellow teeth don’t whiten, intrinsic staining, not extrinsic staining, is to blame for the discoloration. The toothbrush’s bristles can only get to the tooth’s outer surface; therefore, if the discoloration is caused by deeply ingrained stains, it won’t be removed by simply brushing your teeth.
Types of discoloration of teeth
Generally, teeth discoloration can be either intrinsic or extrinsic.
With extrinsic tooth discoloration, the enamel, or the tooth’s surface, is probably the only part of the tooth that is being stained. Extrinsic stains are most frequently caused by lifestyle and dietary habits.
This type of stain is embedded in the tooth, which makes it harder to remove using over-the-counter whitening solutions. Your teeth may appear grey. Common causes of intrinsic stains include:
- Tooth decay
- Trauma or tooth injury
- Some medications
- Too much fluoride
Teeth discoloration by stain color
Teeth stains appear in different colors, ranging from yellow to brown to black. According to Rhonda Kalasho, DDS, of GLO Modern Dentistry, you can determine the likely cause of discoloration based on the color of the surface stain as follows:
1. Yellow discoloration
It is common among people who smoke or chew tobacco products. That said, yellow discoloration can also be caused by:
- Beverages like tea, coffee, or red wine
- A diet that’s high in simple sugars
- Certain medications
- Poor oral hygiene
- Chronic dry mouth
2. Brown stains
Brown spots on your teeth can be caused by multiple factors, including:
- Use of tobacco products
- Colored beverages Like black tea or coffee, Coke soda, And Red Wine
- Dark colored fruits Like Blueberries, Blackberries, And Pomegranates
- Untreated Tooth Decay
- Tartar buildup
3. White stains
Too much fluoride can also result in the forming of white spots on your teeth, which is a condition known as fluorosis. A cavity can also cause a white spot on your tooth that turns darker as it becomes more advanced.
4. Black stains
A black spot or stain can be caused by:
- An advanced dental cavity
- Fillings and crowns that contain silver sulfide
- Liquid iron supplements
5. Purple discoloration
This type of stain is common among people who consume a lot of wine.
How to remove black stains from teeth naturally
There are several ways to get rid of black stains on teeth at home:
1. Good oral hygiene
To prevent your teeth from staining, it is important that you exercise good, consistent oral hygiene, which includes:
- Rinsing your mouth with water after consuming anything
- Flossing and brushing every night and morning, as well as 30 minutes after eating or drinking colored liquids
- Regular professional cleanings
These daily and occasional tips help to remove surface stains and prevent plaque buildup, which is one of the things that contribute to black stains.
Even if brushing your teeth doesn’t do much to remove fundamental stains, it can make them whiter and keep them that way for a longer period of time. The rationale is twofold: first, extrinsic stains on your teeth will make you appear more yellow, and second, by routinely eliminating these stains, you can stop extrinsic stains from turning into intrinsic ones.
2. Using whitening strips
Whitening strips can be applied to the teeth for a certain amount of time to help remove surface stains. Whitening toothpastes contain mild abrasives and chemicals that can help to remove surface stains. The abrasives work by physically scrubbing the stains from the teeth, while the chemicals break down and lift away the stains.
That said, not all whitening toothpastes are created equal and some may be more effective than others. It’s best to choose a toothpaste that has the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance for whitening.
When using a whitening toothpaste, make sure to use the directions of the manufacturer or your dentist. This may include:
- Brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day.
- Use gentle pressure and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brushing too hard or using an abrasive toothbrush can actually damage your teeth.
- Some people may experience sensitivity when using a whitening toothpaste. So make sure to follow the product instructions carefully and to talk to your dentist if you experience any discomfort.
Overall, using a whitening toothpaste can be a simple and convenient way to help remove surface stains and improve the appearance of your teeth. But it may not work for everyone, and more severe or stubborn stains may require more involved treatments such as professional teeth whitening, or bonding and veneers. Please discuss with your dentist for the best course of action for your specific case.
3. Avoiding staining foods and drinks
Coffee, tea, red wine, and tobacco are some of the most common causes of black stains on teeth. Limiting consumption of these items can help to prevent further staining.
Dental procedures to remove black stains
A dentist can provide in-office teeth whitening treatments, or provide custom-fitted whitening trays for use at home, or even recommend ways to cover up deep stain susing veneers or dental bonding.
1. Teeth whitening
Also referred to as dental bleaching, teeth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic dental procedures in the US. It not only removes dental staining, but also restores the shine and radiance of your smile.
Teeth whitening can be done at home or in-office. The latter only requires a single appointment, though stubborn stains often require two visits or more. During the procedure, a gel or rubber shield is applied over your gums and soft tissue to protect them from the bleaching agent applied to the teeth. This agent is activated with a special light to start the cleaning action.
For those who prefer at-home teeth whitening, you can get a customized mouth guard – where you put the bleaching gel – that you insert in your teeth for a specific amount of time. There are also some over-the-counter teeth whitening kits, though they are not as effective as the customized ones.
A dental whitening treatment typically lasts for decades, if you maintain a proper diet and personal habits, and follow the recommended oral hygiene products and lifestyle changes.
2. Cosmetic Dental bonding and dental veneers
Dental bleaching can yield brilliant results for teeth whitening, but it works best on teeth stained yellow by smoking, taking colored drinks, and age. Brown stains may be harder to remove, while gray discoloration can completely resist bleaching. In such cases, you may consider alternatives to teeth bleaching, like:
- Dental bonding – a technique that uses the same tooth-colored resin as that used in cosmetic fillings to seal gaps between teeth and cover tooth discoloration
- Dental veneers – a technique that involves covering the discolored teeth with a thin layer or composite resin or porcelain
Both techniques are more invasive and costly than bleaching, but are resistant to stains. You should, however, note that just as porcelain is resistant to stains, your veneers cannot be affected by bleaching agents once they are set. So, if you intend to whiten your teeth, you should do so before initiating the veneer process.