If you have found black lines on one or more of your teeth, you might be worried that they are cavities. But don't panic just yet—black lines on your teeth can occur for several reasons.
This article will help you determine if the black lines you see are caused by tooth decay or something less threatening, like staining.
The black lines could be stains
Stains can occur on teeth in the form of black lines. For instance, one type of tooth staining that dentists call "black line" staining occurs along the gum line. If you miss the area along the gum line while brushing your teeth, the plaque that normally forms on your teeth will harden into tartar. The surface of tartar, also called calculus, is rough and therefore prone to picking up staining molecules.
Staining molecules in dark-coloured foods stick to the line of tartar where teeth enter the gum and turn the tartar black. And this type of staining can also form if you have high levels of iron or copper in your body.
Black line staining also occurs in the pits and fissures of back teeth or molars. Examine your teeth closely. If the cause is simple staining along with tartar, you may see a raised layer of tartar on the surface of your teeth. The layer will feel rough if you run your tongue over it.
Fortunately, a dentist or dental hygienist can remove tartar with a thorough dental cleaning.
The black lines could be demineralization and staining
The surface of teeth can also lose mineral content, which is the first phase of cavity formation. This demineralization of tooth enamel happens if your diet is rich in acidic foods and drinks, or if your oral hygiene routine isn't sufficient to keep tooth decay-causing bacteria at bay. Demineralization causes grooves or holes in teeth where staining molecules from foods get trapped.
Demineralization can be reversed if you change your diet and improve your oral hygiene routine. Your dentist can also help your teeth heal with fluoride treatments.
The black lines could be tooth decay
Once a cavity forms in a tooth after demineralization has occurred, tooth decay will then take place. Tooth decay often appears black and can occur along the gum line and in the pits and grooves of back molars as black lines. If you can clearly see cavities in your teeth along with black lines, you need to see your dentist soon. A dentist can treat the cavities with fillings or dental crowns.
As a mum, I know how essential sport can be to children's development. Through team sports like soccer, kids learn persistence, sportsmanship and the value of supporting their team members. However, all that learning carries some risk as well, and a stray elbow or a ball to the face can result in oral injuries. I have been the mum rushing to the emergency room with a precious permanent tooth sitting in a cup of milk. Admittedly, at the time, I wasn't even sure if the cup of milk was the right solution. As a parent, you will face those situations, and I'm here to make sure you know what to do when they pop up. With this blog, let's explore children's dentistry and sports injuries together... I want you to have the info you need to stay cool, calm and collected, regardless of how many teeth are on the pitch.