Caries and tooth stains have similar characteristics, so it is difficult to tell the difference when we are not professionals. Is it the color? Pain ? How do you know if you have a cavity or stain on your tooth? How to prevent them? Explanations from Doctor Christophe Lequart, dental surgeon and spokesperson for the UFSBD.
Tooth stain and decay
What is a cavity?
The caries is an infectious disease of bacterial origin. “In the majority of cases, it is mainly the bacteria Streptococcus mutans which is the cause of the formation of cavities., indicates Doctor Lequart. “They are formed from sugars present in food. The bacteria in our mouth absorb these sugars and make acids. These acids demineralize the enamel, which is the outer shell of the tooth. This demineralization creates micro-holes on the surface of the dental enamel, into which bacteria rush. If decay is not treated, it causes dissolution of the enamel and the underlayer called dentin. There caries then progresses to the dental pulp, composed of blood vessels and nerves”, specifies the dental surgeon.
What is the color of a cavity?
As our expert explains, decay is neither visible nor symptomatic in the initial stage, when it only affects the enamel of the tooth. The demineralization of the enamel causes the appearance of whitish spot linked to the chalky appearance of the enamel. Caries can also take a brownish tint even black on the surface of the tooth. This black spot is linked to the stagnation of bacteria found in the grooves of the tooth.
What is a tooth stain?
Stains on the teeth are common and the origins are multiple.
Brown stain on tooth
The brown spot or brown is an external discoloration, on the surface of the tooth, caused by lifestyle habits. “Tannic deposits from drinking coffee or tea stain the teeth, but this type of stain disappears with scaling and then polishing carried out in a dental office.indicates Dr. Lequart.
White to brown color in children
“Almost 20% of dental stains in children are MIH (Molar Incisor Hypomineralization). Stains appear in the structure of the tooth, in areas of the enamel that are less well mineralized. white spots are benign, but the darker they become, the higher the risk of cavities. MIHs are formed in the in utero stage. We do not know the real causes, but we suspect endocrine disruptors, in particular bisphenol. The treatment is based on the application of an ultra-fluorinated varnish and the use of a fluoridated or highly fluoridated toothpaste. When the loss of substance is significant, dental reconstruction with resin is considered..
White to brown stain on teeth
Stains that originate from excess fluoride present a white to brown tint able to reach all teeth. However, the dental surgeon wishes to clarify: “fluorosis is linked to excess fluoride and not to the use of fluoridated toothpaste. These stains on the teeth particularly concern populations from the Maghreb. They are caused by tap water, which is very rich in fluoride and fluorine particles in the ambient air..
Streaked coloring from gray to brown
This coloring is especially visible in adults over 40 years old. It is linked to taking a family of antibiotics (tetracyclines), which today are no longer prescribed for pregnant women and young children. Indeed, this type of treatment can lead to gray to brown coloring on the teeth. In terms of dental treatment, it is possible to lighten the teeth, but the patient still retains these colored layers. One of the other treatment options is the installation of dental veneers.
Black stain coloring or black spot on the teeth
The presence of black spot on the teeth is known as black stain. “This stain appears in the form of a border or on the entire teeth. It is linked to bacteria present in the mouth: they are harmless, but they synthesize a black pigment which is only eliminated with professional cleaning in a dental office. This condition is more common in children than in adults.confesses the spokesperson for the UFSBD.
Good to know :
→ The first visit to the dental surgeon must take place between 1 and 2 years of age.
→ If you notice the appearance of a stain on a tooth, consult an oral health professional.
→ An annual visit to your dentist is recommended to check the health of your teeth.
What are the differences between a cavity and a stain on the tooth?
The caries is a progressive disease, which progresses from the outside to the inside of the tooth. “At the first stage, the caries is completely painless, the enamel is not innervated. When it reaches dentin (ivory), the symptoms are sensitivity to cold and sugars.. The patient may have tooth sensitivity to heat, although more moderately. “When decay reaches the dental pulp, a toothache appears, with unbearable pain triggered by cold and sugar. Sometimes the pain disappears, then reappears under the effect of heat due to the expansion of gases at the tooth root. The pulp becomes necrotic, and with heat and excess pressure, this leads to the formation of a dental abscess. warns the dental surgeon.
Preventing the formation of cavities inevitably involves twice-daily brushing with a fluoridated toothpaste to strengthen the mineral structure of enamel. Fluoride also makes teeth less sensitive to acid attacks after food intake.
“Oral hygiene must be combined with food hygienewarns Doctor Lequart. This hygiene requires reasonable consumption of sugars and acidic products, which demineralize tooth enamel. For example, diet soda is acidic, and therefore bad for dental health.”.
It is also advisable to avoid snacking. Indeed, as the expert explains, saliva neutralizes the acid formed after eating food (meals in particular); this is the buffer effect. Furthermore, saliva provides minerals to the enamel; its function is therefore its remineralization. However, the effects of saliva are gradual. However, if we snack, saliva does not have time to provide these protective effects. So our mouth is bathed in an acidic bath, which increases the risk of tooth decay forming.
Prevention of tooth stains
Brushing your teeth twice a day helps limit the occurrence of stains on your teeth. Also, the electric toothbrush is more effective than the manual toothbrush. Doctor Lequart recommends a so-called whitening toothpaste containing micropulverized bicarbonate. This bicarbonate has a polishing effect superior to a traditional toothpaste to erase surface coloring.
Attention : Baking soda should not be used alone on a toothbrush. Its high particle size has an abrasive effect. With baking soda, you gradually and irreversibly eliminate tooth enamel. Lemon juice is also not recommended for whitening teeth because it is too acidic. With bicarbonate or lemon, the risk is to weaken the tooth and promote the formation of decay.