Cavity vs Stain: How To Find Out and cure – Health Salubrity

cavity vs stain

People might mistake a cavity vs stain. Cavity, also known as tooth decay, refers to a permanent area of damage on your tooth’s surface that can feel sticky. Tooth decay can grow more profound and more significant over time.

It could lead to a hole in your teeth. You must call a dentist.

Although they may look like cavities, stains can shrink or grow and not get more prominent. You can even get rid of them by changing your diet or brushing your teeth.

Sometimes, however, it’s not so easy to tell the difference. Let’s take a closer view of your teeth to determine if a cavity vs stains cause discoloration.


Simply to explain cavity vs stain, a cavity can be described as a tooth with a sticky surface. A stain is caused by the drinks or foods we consume.

Tooth stains can be caused by eating sugary or starchy foods. To avoid plaque buildup, it is crucial to maintain good oral hygiene when eating these foods. Plaque forms tartar, which is a hardened layer that is difficult to remove.


A cavity is different than a stain. A cavity can cause sensitivity or tooth pain, as well as a hole in the teeth. A toothache that persists is unacceptable and requires a dental exam to determine the cause. Tooth cavities can also cause sensitive teeth.

Sometimes, tiny cracks can occur in teeth that the dentist detects during an examination. It is usually due to a cavity in the tooth that requires immediate attention.

The difference between stain and cavity

A cavity is indicated by a brown, black, or grey spot on your teeth.

A stain causes discoloration.

Stains are not sticky and are caused by drinks or food.

The cavity can cause damage to the teeth. It creates an ideal environment for bacteria to grow and plaque to build up, eventually causing tooth decay. In some cases, the teeth may develop small cracks, become sensitive and create hidden crevices. Before it gets worse, see a dentist.

The Appearance of a Cavity vs Stain

Although cavity vs stain may appear similar, stains and cavities can look very different. Cavities are usually seen as dark brown, black, and grey spots on teeth.

Dark spots are caused by bacteria destroying tooth enamel (the tough protective layer covering the teeth). Darkened enamel holes can cause the teeth to look discolored.

By contrast, stains can come in almost any color: brown, yellow, or black, and orange, purple or red. The cause of a stain’s color will determine its color.

For example, brown stains can be caused by smoking or chewing tobacco. Red or purple stains could result from wine or other foods.

Orange stains can be caused by bacteria that are present on the teeth’ surface. Fluorosis is a condition where too much fluoride is used during tooth enamel development.

Tetracycline may also cause brown stains during enamel development Plaque and tartar can also cause tooth discoloration.

Plaque is a layer of bacteria, saliva, and food debris.

Plaque can form from inadequate flossing and brushing habits and eventually become tartar, a hardened, calcified deposit. Tartar, which is yellow- or brownish-colored, is difficult to remove at your home.

Stains and their causes

Teeth stains can be caused by tooth decay, tartar, and fluorosis. Sugary foods can cause tooth decay. Plaque builds up, and it damages the teeth beneath. The plaque forms tartar when it hardens. It is difficult to remove.

The tartar is not easily removed by brushing. Fluorosis occurs when stains begin to appear on the teeth due to an excessive intake of fluoride. Consult your dentist.

A cavity is not a good sign

A developing cavity, in addition to stains, is not a good sign. Consult your dentist if you have tooth pain, visible cavities, or sensitivity when eating or drinking.

You may feel uneasy if you have a cavity in your teeth. As the discoloration grows, it becomes more visible.

What causes tooth stain vs cavities?

Tooth stains are often caused by residue from food or drinks. These stains can appear quickly and sometimes disappear just as quickly.

If you drink a lot, staining could occur.

  • Wines
  • Tea
  • Sodas
  • Coffee

Tomato-based foods can cause tooth staining. You can reduce or eliminate tomato-based foods from your diet to help minimize the appearance of staining.

Tooth stains can also be caused by:

  • Aging: The enamel can wear away, leaving behind yellow dentin.
  • Antibiotics and antihypertensive medications, the buildup of tartar on teeth
  • Tobacco and smoking
  • Too much fluoride consumed when your teeth were developing can cause white spots on your teeth

Plaque forms on your teeth. Your enamel can weaken, causing holes and pits to form in your teeth.

How can I tell the difference between a stain and a tooth cavity?

It has spread far.

Consider first how large the stain is. Is it a single spot? Is the whole tooth discolored?

It’s more likely to be a stain if discoloration affects an entire tooth or the surrounding teeth.

A single area on your teeth or spots around your teeth in one of the following colors could indicate a cavity.

  • gray
  • Brown
  • Black

Begin with symptoms

A cavity can also be indicated by a brown or black spot on the tooth. Cavities also have symptoms that don’t occur with a tooth stain, including:

  • Tooth pain. Tooth discomfort can become chronic and severe if not treated. Pain occurs when cavities cause inflammation in your pulp, which is your nerve in the center part of your tooth. The pain can radiate to the jaw, ear, and cheek.
  • Teeth with holes Cavities can cause visible openings or holes in your teeth. If the cavity is not cured, it can grow from a small hole to a larger one.
  • Sensitivity. Sensitivity may occur around a tooth that has been affected by a cavity. It includes sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks.

Is it a Cavity?

Are you noticing discoloration in your teeth while you brush? Are you unsure if a stain causes discoloration? Both can be fixed, but it is vital to identify which one. It will help you get the proper dental treatment. Innovative Smiles can provide all the information that you require.

What causes staining of your teeth?

Understanding the causes of stains on your teeth is the first step. It will help you determine cavity vs stain. Here are three direct relationships to food stains.

  1. Tooth decay – This is the most common cause of tooth stains. Sugary and starchy foods are a direct cause of tooth decay. It is crucial to stop eating and drinking sugary or starchy foods and beverages if you notice discoloration.

These foods and drinks can cause plaque to build upon your teeth, causing damage to the tooth beneath. If you suspect that this is the reason for your staining, it is best to avoid eating them and brush right away if you do.

  • Tartar- Dental specialists say tartar forms when plaque builds up on your teeth. Plaque can’t be removed by brushing your teeth with toothpaste.
  • Fluorosis- Teeth can become discolored due to excessive fluoride intake. In mild cases, these stains appear as white streaks on your teeth. They can also form black or brown lines in more severe cases. Innovative Smiles can provide more information about fixing fluorosis.

What are the signs of Cavity, and how can they be treated?

Let’s look at some common signs of cavity. It will help you to identify which one is yours. These are the most common sign of cavity.

  1. Tooth pain – Do you feel pain or ache in your teeth? It could be a cavity. You should see your dentist have an examination. It is essential to have your dentist examine you.
  2. Sensitivity – Are you sensitive to a particular tooth or area of your mouth? It is often a sign of a cavity. Do you feel any discomfort when drinking or eating? It is a sign that you have a cavity.
  3. Visible holes – Are there visible pits or holes in your teeth? It is the most visible sign of a cavity. Are you noticing pain in the area? Do you see discoloration or a small gap in your tooth? You most likely have a toothache.

What to do if my tooth is stained?

There are many ways to treat and remove stains.

Tooth stains

  • To prevent discoloration and further staining, reduce or eliminate foods and drinks that stain teeth.
  • Brush your teeth every day. It is essential to brush your teeth after eating, snacking, or drinking dark-colored drinks to prevent discoloration and staining.
  • You can use at-home whitening products. Over-the-counter whitening treatments, such as whitening strips and whitening toothpaste, can help remove surface stains.
  • Professional whitening services are recommended.
  • You may be eligible for other procedures depending on how severe your discoloration is.

How can cavities be treated?

If you have a cavity in your tooth, there is no home treatment. You may be able to end the early signs of tooth decay, like a dark spot, by improving oral hygiene and avoiding sugary foods.

If you are experiencing symptoms such as:

  • Pain
  • You have holes in your teeth
  • Sensitivity

Untreated cavities can cause nerve damage and lead to tooth loss.

Your dentist will mention treatment depending on the extent and size of your cavity to protect your teeth and prevent nerve damage.

What to do to prevent tooth stains or cavities?

Here are some tips to help prevent more tooth discoloration or cavities.

Tooth stains

  • After drinking dark-colored beverages such as tea, coffee, or cola, rinse your mouth with water.
  • To reduce staining, drink beverages through straws
  • Reduce or stop smoking, and quit using tobacco products.
  • To lift stains that are difficult to remove, you can use teeth-whitening toothpaste.
  • To remove food particles, floss between your teeth every day.


  • Brush your teeth twice and floss at the very least once per day.
  • Make sure to schedule regular dental cleanings at least once a year.
  • Sealants are applied to the tooth surface and help protect it from corrosion.
  • To reduce the risk of germs and plaque buildup, use mouthwash that contains fluoride and other antibacterial ingredients. For at least 30 seconds, tint your mouth with mouthwash.
  • To strengthen your teeth, and prevent cavities, use fluoride toothpaste.

Symptoms and signs of Cavity

Stains are not known to cause any other symptoms than discoloration. On the other hand, Cavities can cause a wide variety of symptoms that serve as early warning signs. These symptoms include:

  • Toothache
  • Sensitivity
  • Visible holes

Cavities are produced by bacteria eating away at the enamel of teeth. If left untreated, bacteria can lead to tooth decay and further damage to the tooth’s enamel and deeper structures. The dentin is located just below the enamel. It surrounds and protects dental pulp, which contains blood vessels and nerves. The nerves are exposed as the cavity progresses through the dentin. Eventually, visible holes might appear.

Stains and Cavities Can Be Fixed

Repair cavities

To healing a cavity and stop tooth decay, your dentist could recommend a filling. The dentist will numb your gums, teeth, and surrounding tissues to minimize or eliminate any discomfort you may feel during the procedure. Your dentist might use a drill or other instrument to extract the decayed tooth. The dentist will then fill the cavity with a safe material to give structure and prevent the decay from spreading.

Teeth whitening to remove stains

Teeth whitening can repair teeth to their natural tooth shade or even whiter than their natural tooth shade. Opalescence Teeth whitening at Triangle Dentistry can make your teeth as white and bright as possible.

Many people confuse cavity vs stain. The cavity or tooth decay refers to permanent damage to the root or surface of a tooth. If the cavity is not treated promptly, it can grow more profound and more severe and cause a tooth to become damaged.

Stains may appear like cavities but tend to shrink or get more prominent instead of growing steadily.

It is essential to know if the stain is a tooth cavity vs stain. It is crucial to see your dentist immediately if you notice unusual signs or changes in your teeth to prevent any problems.

If discoloration is present on an entire tooth, it’s more likely to be a stain than a cavity. A single spot or multiple spots on a tooth can indicate a cavity. It could be brown, black or gray.

What causes tooth decay and stains?

Tooth decay is a common cause.

Tooth decay and cavities are most often caused by inadequate oral hygiene. Cavities can be caused by:

  • Acid reflux
  • Consume sugary or acidic foods, drinks and beverages often
  • Deficient fluoride
  • Do not floss or brush your teeth regularly
  • Dry mouth

Staining causes

Tooth stains are most commonly caused by food and drink deposits. Stains can develop quickly and may not disappear immediately. Consuming too many carbonated beverages, such as tea, coffee, wine, and other carbonated drinks, can increase the likelihood of developing stains.

There are also other causes for tooth stains, such as:

  • Aging: The enamel begins to wear away over time, leaving behind yellow dentin underneath. It looks like there are stains on your teeth.
  • Some medications, such as antihypertensive and antibiotic medications, can stain teeth.
  • Stains are caused by hardened plaque (tartar), which builds upon the teeth.
  • Tobacco chewing and smoking.
  • Too much fluoride might cause white spots in teeth if it was consumed during the development of teeth.

How to remove tooth stains and cavity

There are many ways to treat and remove stains. You can keep your smile looking great by taking good care of it.

Tooth stain treatment

  • Get whitening treatments. To remove surface stains, you can use whitening toothpaste and whitening strips.
  • Professional dental whitening services are worth looking into. Your dentist will quickly make your teeth whiter. Your dentist will recommend the best treatment for your teeth, depending on the severity of the stain.
  • Proper technique should be used to brush your teeth at least twice a day. Brushing your teeth properly after eating, snacking, and drinking dark-colored drinks helps prevent tooth stains.
  • Stains can be cured with in-office treatments such as dental bonding, veneers, or crowns.
  • To prevent discoloration, limit or reduce the intake of foods and beverages that stain teeth.

Cavity treatments

There are no home remedies for tooth decay. You can’t stop tooth decay from occurring if you don’t act quickly to improve your oral hygiene and limit sugary foods. However, you’ll need to see a dentist sooner or later for further treatment.

Also, consult your dentist immediately if you feel pain, discomfort, or holes in your teeth.

Untreated cavities can lead to more problems. These are some dental treatments your dentist might recommend.

  • Filling – This is the most common way to treat cavities. It involves removing decay and filling the cavity with resin. This procedure restores the function and shape of the affected tooth.
  • Root canal – If a tooth is infected by a cavity that is too deep or causes nerve damage, it is necessary to have a root canal.

How to avoid tooth stains and cavities

Maintaining good oral hygiene is fundamental to preventing cavities and stains. You can prevent tooth decay and stains by brushing your teeth correctly for at least 2 minutes. You can also do the following:

  • Avoid sugary and carbonated foods and drinks
  • Don’t ignore any unusual signs or symptoms of poor oral health
  • Floss your teeth daily
  • Visit regular dental checkups

Dental assistance is essential

Bad breath, bad taste, and chalky white spots on teeth are just a few of the other problems a cavity could cause.

Cavities might cause a bad taste in the mouth, making it difficult to eat their favorite foods, drink their favorite drinks, and smoke their cigars.

Also, bleeding can occur in the gums from cavities, especially when brushing. It can irritate the nerves. It is vital to get treatment. Otherwise, the infection will spread deep into the roots.

Cavity vs Stain: What’s the Difference?

I can remember looking in the mirror and wondering why my teeth had yellowish spots a few years ago. My excessive coffee consumption was causing yellowish patches on my teeth. I was able to find out during my dental exam.

To get my smile back, I had to make some changes. We often confuse a cavity vs stain. However, they are two different things. A stain is the discoloration or darkening of teeth. Cavities are also caused by bacteria damage to teeth.

Tiny holes are caused by acid, which is produced when bacteria attack the enamel. Comparing cavity to stain is not the same thing.

What is a dental cavity?

The cavity affects many people. It can happen at any age, and it can be fatal. Even though holes are less common in people who practice good oral hygiene, they can still occur in those who do not. Sugar intake is a significant cause of cavities.

We all love sweet treats and sugary drinks. Bacteria convert sugar into acid by consuming it. This acid reacts with enamel and travels to the pulp and blood vessels. Brushing can stop the spread of bacteria in the early stages.

If the bacteria reaches the pulps of the teeth, it can cause cracks and sensitivity. The worst-case scenario is when the tooth may need to be extracted.

What causes tooth stains?

The stain can also be caused by tooth decay, poor eating habits, or other factors. This category includes:

  • Beetroots, etc.
  • Berries
  • Coffee and tea
  • Cola
  • Few fruit juices
  • Red wine

They can cause stains to your teeth, despite their health benefits. In this instance, the stain can be removed with proper brushing and rinsing your mouth. It is more difficult to remove stains that are caused by bacteria decay.

You might need to get dental care. Fluoride intake is another reason for discoloration. Fluoride can cause discoloration if it is taken in a small amount. However, it can also form brown or black lines on enamel.

Signs of a cavity

Dental treatment is required if a cavity forms in your mouth. These are some of the most common symptoms and signs.

  • High sensitivity to cold and hot foods or drinks. It could cause severe discomfort and disrupt your daily life.
  • Toothache and pain in the surrounding gums. The pain will get worse over time and can spread to other parts of the mouth. Hence, do not delay your dental appointment.
  • Your teeth will develop tiny cracks over time. You have two options: save your teeth, or lose them forever.


Although they may look the same, a cavity vs stain is not the same. A cavity can lead to a tooth stain. However, the discoloration can be caused by lifestyle and food choices.

A few minor adjustments can reduce discoloration and the likelihood of developing cavities. These adjustments include:

  • Brushing more often
  • Limiting certain foods and beverages
  • Rinse your mouth with warm water

If you have got a cavity, your dentist can help. You may need to have your tooth cleaned if you have a cavity.

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