“Three of my teeth recently turned black in color and I don’t know what to do. This is embarrassing and I need to have a nice smile for my job. Are my teeth dead? What should I do.” J. Castillo – Northwest Side, San Antonio.

Our teeth get all kinds of wear and tear every day. If you think about the different foods and drinks we consume, and the acids and the sugars in those foods and drinks, then you can probably envision why your natural, winning smile has a finite shelf life. Sometimes what you eat contributes to a disturbing discoloration of your teeth and they start to turn black.


It is a part of life. Food and drinks wear away your tooth enamel, but some do far more far more damage. If enamel erosion occurs in your mouth, the dentin of your teeth may be exposed, which is the tissue beneath the enamel. The dentin is yellow in color.

Your teeth may turn black if you put things in your mouth that are dark in color. Heavy coffee drinkers or tobacco users usually experience teeth stains. But for tobacco users, the the color of your teeth is somewhat inconsequential compared to the other mouth problems that come along with years or smoking.


Dr. Jason Kboudi at Advanced Smile Care points to another common culprit of tooth discoloration: tartar.

“When a patient does not take care of their mouth, it leads to a build up of plaque and eventually tartar forms on their teeth. The color of tartar can be dark or black. We see tartar form along the gum line and it is difficult to remove unless you seek the help of a dental professional,” said Dr. Jason Kboudi, Advanced Smile Care.

Plaque is a sticky film in your mouth that contains bacteria. It develops from eating or drinking and not maintaining healthy oral hygiene habits. As Dr. Kboudi explains, if a person does not brush or floss their teeth, that film of plaque gets hard and turns into tartar. Besides the unsightly color, you may be experiencing swelling or bleeding of the gums. This condition opens the door for gum disease.


A dark or black tooth could be a sign of a dead nerve. This means there is no access to blood flow in your teeth. That causes a slew of other health problems. You could experience an infection which spreads to other teeth or other parts of your body. Advanced Smile Care has a previous blog post detailing the symptoms and treatment of a dead tooth.

“If you’re ever unsure about the source of a black tooth or several teeth, stop by our dental practice to get it checked out immediately,” said Dr. Kboudi.

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