black spots on teeth and gums causes, prevention and treatment blog post image of a woman brushing her teeth

Black Spots on Teeth & Gums: Causes & Treatment

Black stains on teeth or dark discolouration on your gums are far more common than you may think!

There are many reasons why some people see staining, discolouration, or even natural pigmentation inside their mouths. Depending on the situation, some are completely normal, while others are not.

Why Do I Have Black Spots On My Teeth?

Have you noticed any black spots on your teeth or dental work? Causes can vary from environmental factors, hobbies or active dental infections. Although a black tooth may make you think of decay, here are just some of the reasons why you might see dark discolouration across your enamel:

Dental Plaque

Although it’s not common to see black plaque on teeth, it is normal for dental plaque to pick up the pigmentation. If you’re not brushing as thoroughly (or often) as you ought to, there’s a good chance that the plaque buildup will start to change in colour over time.

Black Tartar Buildup

When plaque isn’t removed, it will calcify into black tartar (calculus). Depending on how long the tartar has been left on your teeth, and whether the buildup is below or above the gumline, the buildup can take on a brown, green, or black stain.

Pool Swimming

For some odd reason, swimmers and other aquatic athletes sometimes see a dark stain or tiny black spots on their teeth after spending a lot of time in the pool. If your child enjoys swimming during the summer months, you may notice similar discolouration.

Food And Drink Choices

Enamel is covered in thousands of tiny pores called “tubules.” The porous texture attracts stain particles. So if you frequently eat or drink things like these, you may see more stains:

  • Berries
  • Curry
  • Tea
  • Red wine
  • Coffee
  • Tomato sauce

Nutritional Supplements

Do you take vitamins or nutritional supplements? If so, some people tend to see staining with specific types of products (varying from person to person.)


Any time a tooth dies, it’s normal to see a natural discolouration start to take place. It may be within a month, or it could be a decade or longer before you notice the symptoms. Generally, the affected tooth may appear brown, grey, or even blueish compared to its neighbours.

Tooth Decay

Black tooth decay isn’t something you’ll usually notice until the cavity is advanced.It may start as small tiny dots in the grooves of your teeth, or between your teeth where they touch one another.

How Do I Get Rid Of Black Spots On My Teeth?

Fortunately, most are superficial. That is, we can clean and polish them away during your six-month check-up. If the discolouration is linked to decay, we can restore the area many times without anesthetic, and a beautiful white filling.

How to Prevent Black Staining

Most cases are preventable with regular hygiene visits and good homecare. During your visit, we’ll thoroughly clean away any stain, plaque, or tartar and then discuss adjustments you can make at home to reduce the amount of buildup in the future. If necessary, your dental hygienist may recommend more frequent visits.

Reasons for Black Spots on Gums

There are a couple of very common reasons why someone may see a dark area or even black spots on their gum tissues.

Amalgam Tattoos

Older silver (amalgam) dental fillings tend to leach out into the adjacent gums and teeth as they age. As a result, they create a blue or greyish-coloured tint in the opposing area, similar to what you would see from a tattoo.

Natural Pigmentation

Not everyone with darker skin pigmentation has the same colour of gums. Some individuals have the common coral-pink colour of gingival tissues and inside of their mouths. Others may see spotting or consistent dark hues across their mouth. Both are completely normal!

How to Get Rid of Dark Spots on Gums

Typically, we don’t recommend removal unless they’re posing a noticeable aesthetic challenge. For instance, you might have one specific area of dark gum tissue in your smile zone that seems out of place. If it’s bothering you or you feel self-conscious about the way it looks, there are alternative cosmetic treatment options to lessen the visibility of the pigmentation (such as soft tissue laser therapy).

Cosmetic Dentistry in Sarnia

Whether you need black tartar cleaned away, brown areas of decay repaired, or would like to discuss Laser Therapy, please call Dr. Karen Davis Dentistry at 519-542-8876 to reserve your complimentary cosmetic dentistry consultation!





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