May 30, 2020

What Causes Black Line Stains?

There are droves of people that are frustrated with stains on their teeth. Most of them can figure out what’s causing it. Could be their favorite dark drinks or foods but many of you have something more mysterious. We call it “black line stain” and today you’ll learn what causes these black line stains.

Tooth stains come from lot of our favorite foods and drinks. That’s way more than we want to cover in this post but also easy to explain. Generally speaking, it’s the plaque and tartar on your teeth that is absorbing stains from dark liquids and foods, not so much your enamel. There are exceptions to this rule of course.

It’s a mystery…

The curious black stains we are talking about have a really specific pattern. It’s a distinct line of dark stain found just above or at the gum line and it follows the shape of the tooth. Often times, even a dental pro you ask for help can’t give you a straight answer. They ask the usual questions as a discovery session:

  • Is coffee, tea, red wine, or any kind of soda part of your daily routine?
  • Do you eat blueberries, soy sauce, or any other dark foods every day?
  • Are you a swimmer? (has to do with water pH)
  • Do you smoke anything?
  • Are you a mouth breather?
  • Do you eat candy or cough drops often?

When all of those answers area “NO”, lots of folks will just shrug their shoulders and leave the mystery alone. I mean, it’s not causing cavities or pain so you probably just lied about your bad habits. The hygienist scrapes and polishes your teeth and teaches you how to take better care of them. You may even be accused of not brushing your teeth well or flossing everyday. (Don’t worry, you aren’t alone)

Colorful Germs?

The dental nerds of the world will instead get all excited to tell you about the fascinating possibility that those stains could be caused by chromogenic bacteria! Staining like this isn’t isolated to adults with bad habits either. It’s also found on people that brush and floss really well. It’s lot of kids too: According to a study in India, “Out of 40 patients with chromogenic black stains, 35 had good oral hygiene, 5 had fair oral hygiene.” Many dentists and hygienists will raise their hands if you ask a room full of us how many have seen black line stain on someone that takes great care of their teeth.

So, just because you have black line stain does not mean you are necessarily slacking on your home care habits. It just indicates that you have a very specific type of germ that happens to give off a dark color. Sometimes grey, brown, green and even orange! These bacteria produce hydrogen sulphide that reacts with saliva in mouth and form black stains on your teeth.

The good news is most of stain can be removed by a dental professional. Now, they are a common anaerobic bacteria and germs on your teeth capable of causing cavities and disease. It’s important to use a really effective toothbrush (properly) that is going to annihilate a maximum number of germs in the shortest period of time. Brushing twice a day for 2 full minutes is key. Take note of where you are building up the most stain and focus on them when you brush and floss. The BURST brush uses sonic technology, a two minute time and soft tapered bristles that are infused with charcoal. This brush will help keep the stains off in between dental checkups.