Development of black spots on teeth reflects very poorly on one's dental health, and can be a very unnerving problem, as the stains may be stubborn in nature, leading to a very unsightly smile. Black spots can occur anywhere on the teeth. They could be visible on the front teeth or even on the molars. This discoloration, or staining, can be dealt with easily, provided, it is caused due to external factors, as internal factors leading to staining are a lot more difficult to deal with.
What Causes Black Stains on Teeth?
➺ Smoking is one of the main causes. Smoking leads to small black deposits on teeth, which appear as black spots. These spots appear due to the already present calculus and tartar on the teeth. Often, smokers are not able to maintain good oral hygiene, which only further worsens the condition of their teeth.
➺ Chewing tobacco is another cause. Tobacco chewing initially causes discoloration and staining of teeth, although its long term effects could be much more hazardous, like leukoplakia, which is a pre-cancerous lesion.
➺ Excessive consumption of caffeine can lead to this condition. It is a well-known fact that caffeine, which is present in coffee and tea, causes staining of teeth. People who are addicted to caffeine, and people who have aesthetic restorations done on their teeth are more susceptible to black spots caused due to caffeine.
➺ Dental caries is another cause of such black spots. The bacteria that cause tooth decay lead to formation of black spots.
➺ Certain restorations, like silver amalgam restorations, can leak over a long period of time, leading to black spots near the gingival margin, which are called 'oral tattoos'.
➺ Black tooth stains may develop after consumption of iron supplements, various other medicines, or after use of mouthwashes containing chlorohexedine.
➺ The treatment will depend on the underlying cause of the discoloration. If these black spots are extrinsic in nature, like if they are caused due to smoking or tobacco chewing, then the only treatment option is to get the teeth cleaned, by getting an ultrasonic cleaning done, by a certified dental hygienist. The cleaning will remove the stains that are present on the surface of the teeth.
➺ For stubborn stains, another option would be to go in for cosmetic dentistry procedures. In these procedures, there are many options, which can be as simple as bleaching teeth, or smile designing. In teeth bleaching, there is removal of the stain, but this may be partial or complete. The basis of its action is, it causes lightening of the surface of teeth, which in turn, lightens these black spots.
➺ Other teeth whitening methods include the use of home remedies. Although the effectiveness of these methods on stubborn black spots is doubtful, and most dentists will advise against it, some people still opt for whitening teeth with hydrogen peroxide.
➺ It is best to go for safe and risk-free methods of whitening teeth at home, like by healthy eating, that is, by incorporating healthy food in your diet. Maintain dental hygiene by using proper tooth brushing and flossing techniques.
Thus, this needn't be a very alarming condition, because as long as the cause is not an internal factor, it can easily be treated. But the most important thing to remember is to make dental care a top priority, and as detestable as it may sound, to visit your dentist every six months!
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.