If your teeth are healthy but have a dark tint, it might be from what you’re consuming. Coffee, dark sodas, and cigarettes can stain your teeth. If the sticky film of plaque is left untreated, it hardens and turns into black calculus on teeth.

It might be a sign of dental disease or could be due to medications like liquid iron supplements. You can try brushing and flossing, but if it fails to go away, make a call to your dentist.

What Causes Black Tartar on Teeth?

Plaque forms on your teeth and gums when your saliva mixes with bacteria and food particles left in your mouth. You might notice it if your teeth feel sticky. Plaque starts to build up after eating or drinking and continues to grow until you remove it.

If not removed, plaque can harden into tartar, which happens when minerals from saliva harden in the plaque. Tartar feels rough because it has tiny pores that let bacteria in. It usually starts as an off-white or yellow color but can turn dark in certain situations. The following are some main culprits:

  • Food and Beverages

Certain things you consume can cause tartar to darken, such as:

  • Coffee
  • Red wine
  • Other dark-colored drinks
  • Sugary or starchy foods
  • Cigarettes
  • Smoking or using tobacco can stain your teeth and any tartar on your teeth or along your gumline.
  • Tartar Below the Gumline

Tartar can form below the gumline, and blood from damaged gums can mix with the tartar, creating a dark, stained appearance.

  • Trauma

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

Complications Associated with Black Dental Calculus

While tartar on teeth is mostly a cosmetic issue, it’s important to treat it quickly to protect your oral health. If you see black at the base of a tooth, it might be an early sign of tooth decay. If there’s black between your teeth and gums, it can irritate your gums and cause inflammation.

Research shows that almost half of adults over 30 in the United States have gingivitis. If untreated, gingivitis can turn into periodontitis, a common cause of tooth loss.

Periodontitis also increases the risk of other health problems, like diabetes, heart disease, and respiratory issues. Therefore, it’s best to address any black buildup on your teeth near the gums as soon as possible.

How to Remove Black Tartar from Teeth

If the plaque hasn’t hardened or turned dark into color, you can remove it at home. You can use a soft-bristled toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste designed to remove tartar and plaque. Once plaque hardens into tartar, removing it becomes more difficult and requires a dentist.

This process is called a deep cleaning. The first step is tooth scaling. Your dentist or dental hygienist will use a tool with a hook or loop to scrape the tartar off your teeth. If you have a lot of tartar buildup or if it’s tough to remove, you might need root planing.

This involves cleaning below the gumline, removing tartar from the roots of your teeth, and smoothing the roots. The deep cleaning process might take more than one visit.

Bottom Line

The development of black calculus on teeth usually indicates a lack of oral hygiene. This can be embarrassing and shatter your confidence in social situations. The best way to prevent this is to follow a proper dental hygiene routine and professional cleaning every 6 months.

Visit Dr. Tina Shah at Smile4ever Family Dentistry. Our doctor of dental surgery is experienced with all aspects of general dentistry. Call us at (281) 213-5668 or (832) 844-2266 to make an appointment.

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