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Black Tartar on Teeth: Causes and How to Get lt Removed

You noticed black stuff on teeth that won’t go away no matter how hard you try brushing. If that’s the case, it might not be a regular stain. You are...

You noticed black stuff on teeth that won’t go away no matter how hard you try brushing. If that’s the case, it might not be a regular stain. You are dealing with calculus or black tartar on teeth. This guide covers all details on how to tackle this dental problem. Whether you have black at the base of the tooth or in its upper section, here is what you should know about calculus and returning a perfect smile!

What Is Black Tartar?

Black tartar, also known as dental calculus, is a hardened form of plaque that becomes discolored due to various factors. This tartar forms when plaque isn't removed and continues to accumulate, eventually hardening on the teeth and below the gumline. The dark coloration can be attributed to the absorption of pigments from food, beverages, tobacco, or even certain medications.

What Complications Can Arise?

If left untreated, black tartar can lead to several oral health complications, including:

  • Gum Disease: The bacteria in tartar can cause inflammation and infection of the gums, leading to conditions like gingivitis and periodontitis.
  • Tooth Decay: The acids produced by bacteria in tartar can erode tooth enamel, resulting in cavities.
  • Tooth Loss: Severe gum disease can damage the structures supporting the teeth, eventually leading to tooth loss.
  • Bad Breath: The bacteria in tartar produce foul-smelling compounds, causing persistent bad breath.

Causes of Black Tartar

Several factors contribute to the formation of black tartar on teeth, including:

  • Poor Oral Hygiene: Inconsistent brushing and flossing allow plaque to build up and harden into tartar.
  • Diet: Consuming foods and drinks high in sugar and starch can increase plaque formation.
  • Smoking and Tobacco Use: Tobacco products stain tartar black and contribute to its formation.
  • Medications: Certain medications can cause dry mouth, reducing saliva flow and increasing plaque buildup.
  • Genetics: Some individuals are more prone to tartar buildup due to genetic factors.

Symptoms of Black Tartar

Identifying black tartar early can help prevent complications. Common symptoms include:

  • Dark deposits on the teeth, particularly near the gumline.
  • Swollen, red, or bleeding gums.
  • Persistent bad breath.
  • Tooth sensitivity or pain.
  • Receding gums.

Does Black Tartar Mean Cavity?

Black tartar itself does not mean you have a cavity, but it can increase the risk of developing cavities. The bacteria in tartar produce acids that erode tooth enamel, potentially leading to cavities if not addressed promptly.

Can You Get Rid of Black Tartar on Teeth?

While maintaining good oral hygiene can prevent tartar buildup, removing existing black tartar requires professional dental care. Dentists and dental hygienists use specialized tools to safely and effectively remove tartar from teeth and below the gumline.

Is It OK to Scrape Tartar Off Your Teeth?

It is not advisable to scrape tartar off your teeth yourself. Attempting to remove tartar at home can damage your tooth enamel and gums, leading to more serious dental issues. Always seek professional dental care for tartar removal.

How to Prevent Tartar on Your Teeth?

Preventing tartar buildup is crucial for maintaining oral health. Here are some effective strategies:

  • Brush Regularly: Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid damaging your gums.
  • Floss Daily: Flossing helps remove plaque from between teeth and along the gumline.
  • Use an Antiseptic Mouthwash: Mouthwash can help reduce plaque-causing bacteria in your mouth.
  • Limit Sugary Foods and Drinks: Reduce your intake of sugary and starchy foods that contribute to plaque formation.
  • Avoid Tobacco Products: Smoking and chewing tobacco can increase tartar buildup and stain your teeth.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drinking water helps wash away food particles and bacteria from your mouth.
  • Regular Dental Check-Ups: Professional cleanings and check-ups are essential for removing tartar and maintaining oral health.


Black tartar on teeth is a serious dental issue that requires professional attention. While you can take steps to prevent its formation through good oral hygiene practices, removing existing tartar should be left to dental professionals. Regular dental visits and proper home care can help keep your teeth and gums healthy, preventing the complications associated with tartar buildup.


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