Black Tartar On Teeth: Causes, Symptoms & Remedy

Black tartar on teeth is one of the few things that may be embarrassing in the oral cavity when it starts to show. Poor oral hygiene and eating sugary substances can cause plaque to form on the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film that is found on the teeth, this film is caused when bacteria and acid in the mouth feeds on leftover and sugary foods. If the plaque is not properly handled, they get hard and form tartar. 

Black tartar on teeth is usually yellow from start, what does it mean for it to become black? When the teeth start to develop tartar, it will start form the base of the tooth till it works and cover the rest. The color of the tartar will be yellow initially but with time, it will change to green, brown and black. When the tartar grows from beneath the gum line or at the base of the tooth, it will be black. What causes this dental condition and how can they be removed?


Black tartar on teeth can grow or even in between. After eating, there are leftovers in your mouth, bacteria and acid feeds on them to form a sticky film known as plaque. You may notice this film on your teeth after you eat or drink, it continues to grow until you clean the teeth. If you do not clean the teeth, this plaque gets harden by minerals from the saliva and develops into tartar. Tartar has a rough texture as it is porous which makes it easier for bacteria to slip into them. Tartar initially has a yellow color but with time and other circumstances, it may change to black.

Some of the factors that can change the color of tartar to black are:

1. Certain Foods and Beverages

Just like some foods can change the color of the teeth, certain foods and beverages we take can cause tartar to have a darker color. Some of these substances are coffee, sugary or sugary foods, wine especially red, and other colored drinks.

2. Smoking

Tobacco, cigarettes other nicotine products have tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide. These components or ingredients can change the colour of tartar and also cause them to form on the base of the gum line. Smoking or using these products in other ways can cause black tartar.

3. Tartar Below the Gum Line

Tartar can slowly build beneath the gum line and combine with blood from the damaged gums. This can cause the tartar to have a dark colour and appearance.

4 Trauma

The enamel can be injured or damaged, this can cause it to appear dark.


Black tartar on teeth can come with other symptoms, these symptoms can be another indication of a dental problem.

Black Tartar On Teeth
Black Tartar On Teeth

These symptoms are:

  • Bad breath from the mouth
  • Hard deposits on the teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Bleeding gums
  • Rough surfaces on the teeth
  • Swollen and red gums.


There is a relationship between tooth decay and black tartar on teeth, this is because tartar makes it difficult to clean the teeth like you should. When this happens, tooth decay and cavities set in. Having tartar above the gum line is very unhealthy and bad as bacteria from it can irritate and inflame the gums, continuous inflammation can lead to gum disease. 

The early stage of gum disease known as gingivitis can be reversed and prevented from becoming worse. You can do by brushing, flossing and regular cleaning and visits to your dentist. If proper care is not given, pockets or spaces can form between the gums and teeth, bacteria can also infect these pockets and cause periodontitis. Your body’s immune system can send chemicals to help fight back, these chemicals can mix with the bacteria and infection, this can lead to damage to the teeth bones and tissues. 


You should not ignore black tartar on teeth or count it off as minor as it can progress and increase your risk of having gum disease and tooth decay. Tartar accumulates along the base of the gum line and can cause irritation of the gums, this irritation can inflame the gums and cause gingivitis. 

Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums, it is caused by bacterial infection. If this inflammation is not treated, it progresses into a more serious gum infection known as periodontitis or gum disease. When this happens, the gums may start to recede and the teeth may become loose. Bleeding and pain can occur, in cases where the periodontitis becomes severe, you will feel intense pain especially when chewing. If there is no treatment, you can loose the affected teeth. 


You can get rid of black tartar at home by using some ingredients that are easily accessible.

Some of the ways of getting rid of black tartar on teeth at home are:

1. Baking Soda

Baking soda is one home ingredient that can do so many wonders, it is very effective in removing black tartar from the teeth. You only need toothpaste, a teaspoon of baking soda, salt and a toothbrush, the salt is optional. Mix the baking soda and salt or you can use only the soda. Apply enough powder on the bristles of your toothbrush and brush your teeth with it, rinse off with water. You can also mix the baking soda with your toothpaste, be sure that the soda is of the same quantity with the toothpaste because too much of the acid can harm the tooth enamel. You should do this twice a week to get the best result.

2. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera has a bitter taste but if you can withstand the bitterness, it works wonder on black tartar. You need a teaspoonful of aloe vera gel, 5 tablespoons of baking soda, four teaspoons of glycerin, lemon oil and water. Mix all ingredients to form a paste and rub it on your teeth. Do this for three or four days in a week, you will see results if you are consistent with it.

3. Guava

Guava leaves and fruits are both beneficial as they can clean out tartar and reduce swelling of the gums. You can either chew clean guava leaves and spit them out afterwards, this should be done every morning to reduce buildup of tartar in the mouth. You can also use unripe gauva fruits, sprinkle salt over it and chew at least once a day.

4. Orange Peel

Orange peel has acids that are good for the teeth, it can also remove yellow tartar as well. You can use the peels of an orange and rub the teeth with them, do this for 2 minutes. Allow the juice to stay on the teeth for minutes before you rinse off. The peels can also be made into paste, grind the peel and mix with water. Rub this paste on the teeth and allow to stay for minutes before you rinse off with warm water. You can do this twice or thrice a week.

5. White Vinegar

White vinegar can remove plaque and black tartar on teeth, it can also prevent them from accumulating at the base of the teeth because it has antibacterial properties. Mix half a cup of water, 2 teaspoons of white vinegar and half a teaspoon of salt. Make sure these are mixed very well, use the solution as mouthwash for rinsing your mouth twice a day.

6. Vitamin C Rich Foods

Tomatoes, strawberry and other vitamin C rich foods can help remove bacteria and prevent tartar because they contain antibacterial properties. Smash tomatoes and strawberries together to make a pulp, apply this on the teeth and leave for 5 minutes before washing off. Do this twice a week till you see changes.

Other methods of removing black tartar from the teeth at home are by:

1. Brushing With Fluoride-Based Toothpaste

Brushing the teeth will help to remove plaques before they become tartar. According to a research published by the National Institute of Health in 2019, using a toothpaste that has enough fluoride or has tartar control can be better than using regular toothpaste in removing tartar and plaque.

2. Flossing

Flossing is best for removing plaque and black tartar on teeth that are in between the teeth. You can either use a string floss or a water flosser.


Some black tartar on teeth cannot be removed at home without a dentist’s help. It is best to get help from a dentist especially when the tartar is serious and much on the teeth, a dentist will diagnose the teeth and find out the root cause of the tartar. To remove black tartar on teeth, there are two procedures involved – scaling and root planing.

1. Scaling

Scaling involves scraping out the tartar with a either a handheld scraper or a vibrating ultrasonic device. The device makes the tartar loose and breaks them off from the teeth. The cleaning can begin from the base of the gum line to the middle and base of the teeth crown. The cleaning is done from every angle to remove all black tartar on teeth and plaques from the teeth.

2. Root Planing

Root planing is done to remove all bacteria from the teeth and smoothen the surface as well. This involves going deeper into the roots and removing the cementum – a film-type layer that covers the roots.


Black tartar on teeth can be embarrassing to have as it can cause bad breath and other dental issues including discoloring the teeth. Tartar is caused by plaque and they start off with yellow color but with time and other circumstances, the color can change to black. You can remove black tartar by using some ingredients at home or seeing a dentist if your case is severe. 

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