Noticing a dark-colored spot on your tooth isn’t exactly fun. You start brushing away, trying to get it to come off. Is it a cavity, or is it a stain? This question plagues your mind, and you’re left wondering in a slight panic. But don’t worry, we’re here to solve all your troubles. In this blog, we’ll discuss everything related to a cavity vs. stain. Read on to find out about the dark spot on your tooth.
What is a Cavity?
Usually, the bacteria in your mouth are normal; they’re somewhat healthy. But when you consume too much sugary or starchy foods, it can give birth to a bad kind of bacteria. This ultimately leads to plaque formation, causing further, more serious dental diseases down the line. One of these diseases is a cavity.
A cavity is a tooth-decaying process that starts from your tooth’s enamel. When this strong outer layer of your tooth starts to wear down due to bacteria, it leaves the insides of its body exposed. Thus, a cavity occurs when the bacteria find their way over to the dentin or the pulp. Since the nerve endings of your tooth are deeply rooted inside its body, you might experience intense pain and sensitivity when the bacteria reach that point.
Moreover, tooth discoloration during a cavity is pretty normal. The once pearly white tooth may turn an odd yellowish hue. With time, the color only darkens. Shades of dark gray, brown, or black might unfurl soon after.
What is a Stain?
Quite unlike a cavity, dental stains are nothing more than a discolored blemish. They don’t cause any pain or damage in any way or form. You might notice the blotch of color on either one side of the tooth or the entire tooth’s surface. Neglecting your dental health can lead to a stain getting worse.
In most cases, you can categorize these stains into two types: Extrinsic and Intrinsic.
Extrinsic stains form on the outer shell of the tooth, the enamel. They’re the easiest when it comes to removal. Be it through a home remedy or professional teeth cleaning; extrinsic stains don’t linger around permanently. On the other hand, an intrinsic stain is more on the permanent side of things. These stains are found in the middle of the tooth — on the dentin and are almost impossible to remove.
Cavity vs. Stain: What Causes Them?
Although both forms of discoloration look the same, here’s what causes a cavity and stain to take shape:
- Poor Oral Hygiene
- Dry Mouth
- Acid Reflux
- Unbalanced and Improper Diet
- Flouride Deficiency
- Smoking Tobacco
- Tartar Buildup
- Side Effects of Aging or Medicines
- Drinking Liquids with High Food Coloring
Cavity vs. Stain: How to Prevent Them
Maintaining a healthy oral hygiene routine is the best way to prevent both a cavity and a dental stain. Make it a daily habit to brush your teeth every morning and once again before you go to bed.
Pay attention to your diet. The food you eat and drink can also highly affect your tooth’s condition. Drinks like coffee or wine can cause an adverse reaction and stain your teeth. Whereas drinking too many sweet and fizzy drinks can lead to cavity formation.
Cavity vs. Stain: How to Tell Them Apart
It might be a little hard to tell a cavity apart from a stain. However, try paying close attention to the discolored spot. Is the blemish covering the entirety of your tooth, or is it concentrated in one area? Is there any pain or sensitivity in the area? Depending on these factors, you can find the culprit behind the dark spot on your tooth. Nonetheless, for accurate results, visit a dentist.
Long Story Short
There are many similarities between a cavity vs. stain, but you can avoid them with proper care and attention. Contact Smiles on Greatwood Dentistry at (281) 937-7530 to schedule an appointment for an in-depth dental evaluation. In the case of a cavity, it’s better to get it treated as soon as possible.