Cavity colors do not always come in black or brown like many people thought. Cavity can come in many colors from white to black, in fact, some come in yellow. It all depends on the bacteria and how long the cavity has stayed in the mouth. When the cavity is just starting, the color can look like the stains that form on the teeth after drinking coffee or tea. As the bacteria grow, the color changes as well as the size and depth of the cavity. The symptoms will also become more obvious and increase too. If the cavity is not treated, it can lead to serious dental issues that may even affect the tooth nerves.
WHAT IS CAVITY
Cavities are holes that are form in the teeth when acid in the mouth wear out the teeth enamel. The enamel is the hard outer layer of the teeth. Cavities are common that they affect all ages. In fact, more than 80% of Americans have had tooth cavity in their mid 30s (Cleveland Clinic). This means that cavities can affect both adults and children, if not managed and treated, it can damage the teeth severely.
HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU HAVE TOOTH CAVITY
There are some signs that will show you have tooth cavity although these symptoms are mostly experienced when the cavity enters the inner layers of the tooth. Some of the symptoms of tooth cavity are:
- Swelling of the gums
- Sensitivity of the tooth when you eat hot or cold substances
- Bad taste and breath
- Bleeding gums
- Toothache and pain
- Holes in the tooth
- White, brown or black stains on the tooth
- Redness in and around the mouth.
WHAT CAUSES TOOTH CAVITY
The cause of tooth cavity is plaque, a sticky substance made of bacteria, saliva, food particles and acid that glues to the tooth (Healthline). However, there are some factors that can make you have tooth cavity like:
- Lack of fluoride in the mouth.
- Eating too much sugary and acidic foods or drinks.
- Practising poor dental hygiene.
- Lack of saliva or dry mouth.
- Eating patterns and disorders.
- Acid reflux disease.
Cavity colors can appear in different colors depending on the time they appear on the teeth.
1. Chalk-Colored Spot
This is the first cavity formation color and it is not easily noticed or spotted. This is because of the color, it comes as an on and off white spot which makes it difficult to notice. However, it is the first sign that your teeth is developing a cavity. When you finish eating foods that has acid or contain sugar without rinsing off the particles, little bacteria in the mouth feed on these particles and leave behind acid on the teeth.
With time, these acids deposited on the tooth break down the calcium and minerals on the enamel causing demineralization. Demineralization is the reason for the chalk-colored or white spots on the teeth. It will also make the surface of the outer layer of the tooth to become rough. When the color of the cavity is still white or chalk-colored, you can manage it with proper brushing and constant use of tooth paste with fluoride.
2. Yellow Or Grey Colored Cavity
The hardest tissue in the body is the tooth enamel, it is hard but this does not mean that it cannot be penetrated. After the enamel is attacked, the next stop for bacteria is the dentin. When your enamel goes through demineralization and care is not given to the tooth, the bacteria will continue to attack the enamel and break it down more. If the attack continues to the point of affecting the dentin, yellow or grey cavity starts to show.
Since the dentin does not come in one color, it varies in person to person so the color of the cavity at this stage will have different colors in different individuals. The color of the cavity can range from light grey to yellow.
This stage is even worse than the white cavity because the dentin does not have any living cells that can help it regrow. So, it is difficult to treat it using fluoride toothpaste or adopting good dental hygiene. Once the cavity shows, it cannot be reversed. However, to stop the decay from becoming worse and needing to fill the cavity, early treatments can be adopted. You can see a dentist for treatment.
3. Brown and black Colored Cavity
If the cavity is not treated when they are just white spots or yellow color, the bacteria will continue to attack and wear out the enamel till it becomes very weak and collapses. This will cause small holes to develop in the teeth. The bacteria will still continue to work on the tooth. They will pass through the holes in the enamel to get to the dentin. The dentin is softer than the enamel so it will be easier for the bacteria to cause decay faster to the rest of the tooth.
The more the bacteria and acid works on the tooth through the dentin, the hole becomes larger and will have brown or black color. To prevent the cavity from further developing and to stop the decay, your dentist can recommend that the holes be filled with tooth fillings.
CAVITY COLORS ON FRONT TOOTH
Cavity can affect any teeth but it is easier to notice the appearance of cavities on the front tooth than other teeth because you can easily see the front tooth (Ilajak Medical). Cavity on front tooth is caused by the same reason as the rest of the teeth and it is caused by bacteria and acid in the mouth break down the enamel.
The cavity will first start as simple stains, it will have white or chalk color spots. Some people may assume that the spots are mere teeth discoloration. If the spots are ignored and the tooth is ignored, the spots starts to have yellow or grey color, this is the signal that your tooth is decaying. After sometime, the cavity turns black and brown with larger holes this is the stage that only needs the help of your dentist to prevent tooth loss or further damage.
WHAT DOES A CAVITY LOOK LIKE BETWEEN TEETH?
Detecting cavity between teeth is the most difficult, this is because the teeth on each side of the cavity will cover the signs so the color cannot be seen. Cavity that develop between two teeth is called an interproximal cavity (Opencare 2021). You may not notice the white spot or chalk-colored stage when the enamel is going through demineralization. It may also be difficult to know when the bacterial attack is heading towards the dentin, the yellow or grey spots may be noticed depending on the shade of the color.
The only time you can notice the cavity is when the enamel had broken down and the decay has gone to the inner layer of tissue under the teeth, you may also notice large holes on the teeth. You can easily notice the brown or black color of the cavity. The only treatment is to see your dentist for teeth fillings.
WHY WE DO NOT ALWAYS NOTICE THE OUR CAVITY COLORS
Most cavities are in places where we cannot easily see them. Places like between teeth, on the molars, near the gum line is difficult to notice till they have become worse and change their color to black or brown. White or grey cavity can easily be detected with an x-ray or during a dental examination. This is why it is important you see your dentist if you notice any sign of cavity on your teeth.
CAN YOU STOP A CAVITY FROM GROWING
It is easy to stop tooth cavity from growing when it is just affecting the enamel. You can take care of the cavity when the color is still white or chalk-colored. You can use fluoride toothpaste and maintain good dental hygiene to correct the cavity. When the cavity moves to the dentin, you only need to see a dentist for tooth fillings.
WHAT ARE SOME HOME REMEDIES TO PREVENT CAVITIES
Preventing cavities is the best way to stop further damage and save your teeth from loss. There are some home remedies you can adopt especially if the color of the cavity is still white or grey. Some of these remedies are:
- Staying away from foods that contain acid and sugar. These foods will only cause the bacteria to attack your teeth more.
- Maintaining good dental hygiene by brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. You should also floss in the morning and evening.
- Visiting your dentist once every 6 months for professional cleaning. This will help to thoroughly clean your teeth and get rid of bacteria and dirts.
- Drinking lots of water every day to keep your mouth hydrated. Dry mouth is prone to bacterial attack.
- Using antibacterial mouthwash to rinse your mouth after eating. If you do not have access to mouthwash, you can rinse your mouth with water mixed with salt.
Cavity colors can vary from white, yellow to black. The different colors shows the stages of bacterial attack and how damaged the tooth has become. White it is often difficult to notice white cavities, it is important to check your teeth every day. This will make it easier for you to detect abnormal color. Make sure you see your dentist if you notice any symptom of tooth problem.