Black Tartar on Teeth: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments

Tartar can become stained or appear in a darker black shade, although it mainly starts out white or even yellow. Black tartar on teeth forms under the gum line. Thereby it is given this terminology.

Your teeth can be seriously stained, leading to gum issues and bad breath due to black tartar. Black tartar can also lead to cavities and severe gum diseases without any effective treatment.

Black tartar has to be treated initially by a professional dentist as it is not possible to remove any professional aid.



What is Black Tartar on Teeth? 

Bacteria forms on your teeth, especially while eating or drinking specific starchy or sugary things. It leads to the formation of plaque with the buildup of bacteria.

It mainly looks yellow as plaque builds up and hardens into tartar on your teeth. Plaque can harden and turn into tartar or calculus if they are not treated.

The longer the tartar stays on your teeth, the more likely it is to become discolored and potentially turn black. Tartar can also build up under your gum line, and this is black tartar.


What causes black tartar on teeth?

Black Tartar on Teeth

Plaque develops onto your teeth along with the gumline when the saliva mixes with bacteria and the particles of food left behind in your mouth. You may even notice it when your teeth appear tacky and sticky.

After you eat or drink, it starts to build upon your teeth, and it keeps growing till you are removing it. It can harden and transform into tartar when the plaque is not removed. It is when the minerals from the saliva harden in the plaque.

Tartar appears to be quite rough due to its porousness. It means that bacteria would slip down the pores. Tartar mainly starts as an off-white or yellow color as it can transform the dark in a few circumstances.

The following are the reasons behind the formation of black tartar:

Food and beverages 

There are a few substances that you will be consuming leading to tartar taking into the darker shades, such as:

  • coffee
  • red wine
  • other dark-colored drinks
  • sugary or starchy foods



The use of tobacco or smoking will stain your teeth and any tartar that would cling to your teeth along with your gum line.


Tartar below the gum line

Tartar can surely go beyond the gum line, and the blood from the damaged gums would be combined with tartar for creating darker, stained appearances.



Damage or trauma to the enamel covering your teeth can also make them look dark.


Risks or complications tartar poses on your health? 

Quite interestingly, the existence of the extrinsic black stains on their own will not seem to have any connection to a higher rate of dental cavities, according to the studies and analysis. The researchers have found that people with black stains surely appear to have low incidences as well the cavities.

It does not mean that you should ignore the dark-colored stains on the teeth. You also have to speak with dentists about the potential causes of the stains and whether you will be taking action or not.

You do not have to ignore the tartar as it can build up and even enhance your risk of developing any tooth decay, putting your teeth and the gums at risk. It can even collect along the gumline, thereby irritating your gums, leading to gingivitis’s distinctive kind of inflammation.

Gingivitis will progress into periodontitis or gum diseases when they are left untreated.

The gums would start receding from the teeth, and the teeth would start to feel loose. You would experience pain and bleeding. You can experience significant pain mainly during chewing, even if you lose a tooth with severe cases of periodontitis.

There are other kinds of health risks that are associated with periodontitis going beyond your mouth with an increased risk for:


How to get rid of black tartar on teeth?

Black Tartar on Teeth

At home 

You can easily brush off the plaque from your teeth. Toothpaste contains fluoride and a few diligence with brushing into every nooks and cranny in your mouth, helping you sweep away the plaque before it hardens but make sure that you are using a soft-bristled toothbrush.

Studies suggest that using a toothpaste that controls tartar would be extremely effective than regular toothpaste.

The plague that has settled down between your teeth can be removed through flossing with the use of string floss or a water flosser.


At the dentist 

The plaque can be quite complicated to remove once it hardens into tartar. You will need the assistance of a dentist to remove the tartar at that point, and it is usually a technique that is known as deep cleaning.

Tooth scaling is the first process. You can use an instrument with a loop or hook at one end, and your dentist will then be scraping the surface of your teeth to remove the tartar.

You will have to proceed to the next step if you have got a lot of tartar buildup or are quite stubborn, which is considered root planning. It is a cleaning that goes below the gum line by removing any tartar that has built up along the roots of your teeth and then smoothing the roots out.

The whole deep cleaning process will be done in more than one visit.


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Symptoms of Black Tartar on Teeth 

It is an abnormal sign when the tooth rapidly changes from a whitish shade to a black and darker one. A few smaller brown or grey spots are visible before the tooth starts turning black completely in most cases. Commonly the black tartar appears on the interior region of the molars—smaller holes forms in areas where the tooth enamel have damaged.

The following are a few signs of black tartar:

  • Bad breath
  • Dark staining on the surface of the teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Hard deposits on the teeth        
  • Red, swollen, or bleeding gums

It can also be a sign of gum disease if you are experiencing black tartar on your teeth and some severe gum issues. You can rinse with a fluoride mouthwash for aiding in reversing the gum disease and keeping your gums healthy if it is in its early stages.


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Ongoing Care and Prevention Methods 

You will have to keep up with the routine cleaning at the dentist’s office at least twice a year in order to prevent the black tartar from returning.

You may have to schedule an appointment with your dentist for frequently cleaning if you are specifically prone to the buildup of tartar and plaque. The main aspect here is keeping black tartar at bay by following proper oral hygiene.

It is on you to prevent the tartar from returning after it is removed by a dentist or your dental hygienist. Prevention is the best way in which you can manage black tartar after the initial professional cleaning in order to have it removed. The prevention methods aim specifically at oral hygiene and healthy habits, along with paying attention to any changes in your mouth, gums, and teeth.


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Below we share some questions related to “Black Tartar On Teeth”.

1. Is black tartar on teeth normal?

Black tartar can be a sign of underlying tooth decay. It should be treated instantly by consuming specific food items and drinks, adding stains on the tooth’s natural enamel leading to discoloring teeth.


2. How do you get rid of black tartar on your teeth?

The only way you can remove tartar is by getting a dental cleaning with the help of a dental professional. Try aiming for a checkup and dental cleaning every six months.


3. Does black tartar mean cavity?

Initially, these are the stains that appear like cavities, as they are not. They are not general tooth discoloration that is related to beverages and foods. The black lines on the teeth are generally are, in reality, a form of tartar considered dental calculus.


4. What causes black tartar?

The common cause of black tartar is bad oral hygiene which is the lack of proper tooth flossing and brushing. As a result, the black tartar forms under the gum line, disrupting the blood vessels in your gums.


5. What color is tartar?

Tartar is generally brown or yellow-colored deposit formed when the plaque hardens on teeth. The tartar buildup on teeth is bonded strongly to the tooth’s enamel that can only be removed by a dental professional.


6. Can you scrape tartar off your own teeth?

It is never a good idea to make use of it on your own, although the scrapers can be bought in a few stores online. Improper use of it can damage the delicate gum tissues since plaque scrapers are sharp.


7. Is tartar removal painful?

The discomfort would vanish within a few days, although the process of tartar removal would be a bit painful.


8. How much does it cost to remove tartar from teeth?

A general tartar removal mainly costs between $75 and $200 as it depends on the dentist and the kind of cleaning required. However, you can get it all covered with dental insurance.


Final thoughts 

Prevention of tartar is the preferred mode of treatment, along with several other health benefits.

You may have to reconsider any habits that may have predisposed you to develop dark-colored tartar.

You may be able to eradicate the black tartar on your teeth if you are following better oral hygiene.


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