Cavity between teeth is a common type of tooth decay. They form when food particles and bacteria accumulate in the tiny gaps between the teeth due to not brushing and flossing your teeth well.
Ths leads to plaque formation, which can cause cavities and other dental issues .
This article aims to provide a clear understanding of cavities between the teeth, how they develop, and what steps you can take to prevent and treat them.
By understanding the causes of this common dental issue, you can take proactive measures to maintain good oral health and prevent further damage to your teeth.
What Are Cavities Between Teeth?
Cavity between teeth, also known as interproximal cavities, is a common type of tooth decay that occurs in the spaces between two teeth.
These cavities are prevalent because it can be challenging to brush and floss between teeth effectively, which results in the buildup of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, on the teeth.
The bacteria found in plaque produce acid that attacks the tooth enamel, leading to cavity formation.
Here is a step-by-step explanation of how cavity between teeth form:
- Plaque builds up on the teeth, especially in the spaces between teeth.
- The bacteria in plaque produce acids.
- The acids attack the tooth enamel, causing it to break down.
- A cavity forms in the weakened enamel.
Different Types of Cavity Between Teeth
There are three main types of cavities between teeth:
- Pit and fissure cavities: These cavities form on the chewing surface of teeth, where there are deep grooves and pits. Grooves and pits trap food and bacteria, causing plaque and cavities.
- Contact cavities: They form on the sides of teeth, touching each other. Brushing and flossing between teeth can be challenging, leading to plaque buildup and cavities.
- Root cavities: Forms on the roots of teeth, which are the hidden parts of the teeth below the gums. They are more common in older adults because their gums may recede, exposing the roots of their teeth.
In addition to the three primary types, several other cavities can form between teeth.
Recurrent cavities can occur around the edges of existing fillings, while secondary cavities can form under existing crowns.
Rapidly forming rampant cavities are also common in children with poor oral hygiene or certain medical conditions.
Symptoms of Cavity Between Teeth
The symptoms of cavity between teeth can vary depending on the severity of the cavity. However, some common symptoms include:
- Tooth sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks
- Pain or discomfort when chewing.
- Food is getting stuck between your teeth.
- Bad breath.
- A visible hole or dark spot between your teeth.
In some cases, cavities between teeth may not cause any symptoms.
It is vital to visit your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings, even if you have no symptoms.
Diagnosis of Cavities
Dentists can discover cavities between teeth during regular dental checkups.
To examine your teeth, they use different tools, such as a dental mirror and a probe.
Additionally, they may take X-rays to examine the spaces between your teeth better.
Managing caries lesions between teeth requires carefully evaluating the cavity’s severity to determine the best course of treatment.
Regular dental checkups can identify cavities before they worsen, leading to long-term problems.
Here are some treatment options to consider for cavities:
Dental fillings are a popular solution for treating tiny cavities in teeth.
The technique involves removing the decayed part of the tooth and filling the place with a substance such as composite resin, porcelain, or amalgam.
The filling material is carefully chosen to match the tooth’s color, providing a natural-looking outcome.
Dental fillings efficiently restore the tooth’s function and appearance while preventing further decay and damage.
When considering fillings, it is essential to be aware of the different types available, such as:
- Glass ionomer
The process of returning minerals to teeth to strengthen them and make them more resistant to decay is known as remineralization.
It’s a natural process that occurs constantly, but certain activities might speed it up, including using fluoride toothpaste and eating a nutritious diet.
There are two main ways to remineralize teeth:
- Topical fluoride: Fluoride is a mineral that strengthens tooth enamel and makes it more acid-resistant. You can apply topical fluoride to your teeth through toothpaste, mouthwash, or varnish.
- Diet: Eating a nutritious diet rich in calcium and vitamin D can also help to remineralize teeth. Calcium is the primary building block of tooth enamel, while vitamin D helps absorption.
In some cases, a dentist may also recommend professional remineralization treatments.
These treatments typically involve applying a high concentration of fluoride to the teeth.
Remineralization is a safe and effective way to treat cavities. It’s also a great way to prevent cavities from forming in the first place.
A root canal is a technique that extracts the infected tooth pulp and fills the area with a material called gutta-percha.
The technique prevents the infection from spreading and saves the tooth from being extracted.
If there is severe harm to the tooth, your dentist might recommend a dental crown.
A dental crown is a cap mounted to a tooth to protect and improve its appearance.
Complications of Cavities Between Teeth
When cavities between teeth are left untreated, they can cause several complications, such as:
- Toothache: As a cavity grows large, it can irritate the nerve in the tooth, causing pain or toothache.
- Infection: If the bacteria from the cavity reaches the tooth’s pulp, it can cause an infection. The infection can potentially spread to the jawbone and other body regions.
- Abscess: A buildup of pus that can occur at the tip of a tooth root or in the gums. Abscesses can be painful and cause swelling in the face and neck.
- Tooth loss: If you do not treat a cavity, it can eventually lead to the tooth breaking or falling out.
- Difficulty eating and chewing: Pain and discomfort can make eating a healthy diet challenging.
- Bad breath: The bacteria in plaque can produce gases that cause bad breath.
- Self-esteem problems: Missing or damaged teeth can affect your appearance and self-esteem.
Prevention of Cavity Between Teeth
Practicing good dental hygiene is the most effective strategy to avoid interproximal cavities.
It comprises brushing and flossing regularly and avoiding sugary foods and beverages since they increase the risk of cavities.
Here are some additional tips for preventing cavity between teeth:
- Use fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and increases its resistance to decay. Consider using a mouthwash that contains fluoride.
- Maintain a nutritious diet. Eat plenty of greens and fruits, and avoid sugary foods and drinks.
- Regular dental examination and cleaning are essential to detect and prevent cavities.
Risk Factors for Cavities Between Teeth
The following are risk factors for cavities between teeth:
- Poor oral hygiene: Plaque builds up on teeth when you don’t brush and floss regularly, leading to cavities.
- Sugary diet: Consuming sugary foods and drinks feeds bacteria, allowing them to generate acids that destroy tooth enamel and cause cavities.
- Dry mouth: Saliva aids in the removal of food particles and bacteria from the teeth. A dry mouth reduces saliva production, increasing the risk of cavities.
Other risk factors
Other risk factors for cavities between teeth include:
- Age: Cavities are more prevalent in children and older people.
- Family history: If you have a family history of cavities, you are more prone to develop them yourself.
- Certain medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes and eating disorders, are two medical illnesses that might raise the risk of cavities.
- Medications: Some medications can cause dry mouth, increasing the risk of cavities.
- Orthodontic work: Braces and retainers can make it more difficult to brush and floss teeth, which can increase the risk of cavities.
If you have any risk factors for cavities between your teeth, it is critical that you practice good dental hygiene.
Home remedies for cavities between teeth
There are a few home remedies that may help to prevent or lessen the severity of cavity between teeth, such as:
- Using sugar-free gum: Chewing sugar-free gum can help to improve saliva production, which can aid in removing food remains and bacteria from the teeth.
- Using mouthwash: A mouthwash containing fluoride can strengthen tooth enamel and prevent decay.
- Eating a nutritious diet: A diet low in sugary foods and beverages can help to minimize oral bacteria.
- Practicing good oral hygiene: Maintaining optimal oral hygiene through brushing and flossing effectively prevents interproximal cavities.
Interproximal caries are common and can be difficult to detect and treat.
Brushing and flossing are essential in preventing the formation of these caries, which occur due to plaque collection in the microscopic crevices between neighboring teeth.
You should seek immediate dental attention if you notice any interproximal caries, such as tooth sensitivity, discomfort while biting down, or food impaction.
- John Hopkins Medicine (n.d). Tooth Decay (Caries or Cavities) hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/tooth-decay-caries-or-cavities