Tartar is one of the few things that is not welcomed in the oral cavity yet becomes a part of it. Regular brushing and flossing are important components of the oral hygiene regime; anyone who fails to do so faces the issue of plaque buildup. Plaque is an aggressive accumulation of bacteria and food debris that feed on your teeth. If the issue is not handled, it hardens to form calcified tartar. Tartar on the teeth usually appears yellow, but may turn black, what does that indicate?

 If you think that black tartar is much worse than regular, that is not true. Both have an equally negative impact on oral health. Initially, tartar starts growing at the base of the tooth and then works up its way to cover the rest. Primarily, it appears yellow, but as time passes changes into green, brown or black. Tartar that grows beneath the gum line, the base of the tooth, is often black.

 Even with good care, bacteria can form tartar on your teeth. It is wise to take a few seconds from your busy routine and examine yourself, including the mouth. Screening your teeth can help in the early detection of oral issues, like black lines or dots, yellow buildup, etc. Everyone is much familiar with cavities, but what about the black stuff near gums? What are the causes of its growth? Let’s have a look.

Causes of Black Tartar on Teeth

Tartar only has one way to originate on the teeth. It starts as yellow but turns black due to certain external and internal factors. Do not think your teeth will change directly from white to black due to tartar. It will happen gradually; firstly, brown dots will appear then progress into black color. The reasons for this change are:

 External Factors 

  •  Smoking – mostly tobacco use through smoking or any other method can turn tartar present on the gum line black in color. A cigarette comprises tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide. The three components together take a toll on the color and form black tartar on the gum line.
  • Consuming beverages that are dark in colors such as black tea, black coffee, red wine, dark fruit juice or soda, etc.
  • Ingestion of dental fillings or crown.

 Internal Factors

  •  Enamel is the outermost protective layer of the tooth. If it gets damaged, the teeth start having a black tartar look.
  • Tartar that grows on the gums baseline of the teeth is mostly black and known as subgingival tartar. The reason behind this is the interaction between blood from sensitive gums and the tartar. It also indicates that gum disease is getting worse.

 Symptoms of Black Tartar on Teeth

 Tartar on teeth, be it black or not, does not come alone. It is accompanied by various other symptoms, namely;

  • Bad or foul breath, a condition known as halitosis.
  • Loose fragile tooth
  • Calcified hard deposits on the tooth
  • Swollen red colored bleeding gums

How to Get Rid of Black Tartar on Teeth?

It is not possible to remove tartar – of every kind, from the teeth without a dentist’s help. Getting deep professional cleaning always helps in the longer run. The dentist will first make a proper diagnosis and get to the root cause of the issue for appropriate treatment.

Scaling and Root planing is the procedure performed to get rid of tartar buildup. It is a procedure that usually takes two sittings to complete. Do not worry; the procedure is painless. However, if you feel the need, ask your dentist to administer a local anesthetic to numb the area.


Scaling is the procedure in which the dentist will scrape off the tartar from the tooth using either a handheld scraper or a vibrating ultrasonic device. Both devices first loosen the tartar and then break them apart. Usually, the cleaning starts from the removal beneath the gum line then towards the middle and base of the teeth crown.

The scaler is used at an angle between 45 to 90 degrees from the tooth to remove plaque effectively. The cleaning is done in every direction, vertical, horizontal as well as circular.  

Root Planing

Root planing achieves smooth surfaces and complete removal of subgingival bacteria. The dentist will go deeper and reach the roots for cleaning. Planing gets rid of the cementum – a film-type layer that covers the roots.

Tips to Control Growth of Black Tartar on Teeth

  • Regular brushing and flossing at least for 2 whole minutes using a soft-bristled toothbrush. It is vital to make sure that the size of the toothbrush is as such to reach the rear side of the mouth.
  • Use fluoride-containing toothpaste to aid in the remineralization of enamel.
  • Use mouthwash as a rinse daily to steer clear of any bacteria left and bad breath.
  • Try avoiding food items that are high in sugar or acidic content.

Final Outlook

Black tartar is not just a health issue but also ruins your appearance. It is one of the first few things to get noticed. Therefore it is best to perform self-examination on a daily basis, practice a good oral regime and walk straight to the dentist in case of tartar buildup.