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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 469392, 6 pages
Review Article

Black Stain and Dental Caries: A Review of the Literature

1Department of Maxillofacial Orthopaedics and Orthodontics, Wroclaw Medical University, Krakowska 26, 50425 Wroclaw, Poland
2Department of Prosthetic Dentistry, Wroclaw Medical University, Krakowska 26, 50425 Wroclaw, Poland

Received 10 October 2014; Revised 22 January 2015; Accepted 22 January 2015

Academic Editor: Kazuhiko Nakano

Copyright © 2015 Tomasz Żyła et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Black stain is characterized as a dark line or an incomplete coalescence of dark dots localized on the cervical third of the tooth. Over the last century, the etiology of black stain has been the subject of much debate. Most of the studies concerning this issue were conducted in pediatric population. According to the reviewed articles published between 2001 and 2014, the prevalence of black stain varies from 2.4% to 18% with equal sex distribution. The majority of the authors confirm the correlation between the presence of black stain and lower caries experience. The microflora of this deposit is dominated by Actinomyces spp. and has lower cariogenic potential than nondiscolored dental plaque. Iron/copper and sulfur complexes are thought to be responsible for the dark color. In patients with black stain saliva has higher calcium concentrations and higher buffering capacity. Factors such as dietary habits, socioeconomic status, and iron supplementation may be contributing to the formation of black stain.