Cavity Between Teeth – Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

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When it comes to oral health, cavities are a common concern. While most people associate cavities with the surfaces of the teeth, it’s important to understand that cavities can also occur between teeth. This type of cavity, known as an interproximal cavity or cavity between teeth, is a result of tooth decay that starts in the hard-to-reach areas where toothbrush bristles may not reach effectively. In this article, we will delve into the causes, treatment options, and prevention methods for cavity between teeth, ensuring that you have all the information necessary to maintain a healthy smile.

Table of Contents

Causes of cavity between teeth

The primary cause of cavity between teeth is the buildup of plaque.Plaque is a sticky coating that develops on teeth and contains bacteria. Consuming sugary or starchy foods causes the production of acids by plaque bacteria, which later on attack the tooth enamel. Over time, this acid attack can weaken the enamel and create small holes or cavities. In the case of cavity between teeth, plaque can accumulate in the tight spaces between teeth, making it difficult to clean and increasing the risk of decay.

Other factors that can contribute to the development of cavity between teeth include poor oral hygiene habits, inadequate brushing and flossing techniques, and the consumption of sugary drinks and snacks. Additionally, individuals with crowded or misaligned teeth may be more prone to cavity between teeth due to the difficulty in effectively cleaning those areas.

Signs and symptoms of cavity between teeth

Detecting cavity between teeth can be challenging since it is not easily visible to the naked eye. However, there are some signs and symptoms that may indicate the presence of interproximal cavities. These include:

  1. Tooth sensitivity: You may experience increased sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods and beverages.
  2. Pain or discomfort: You may feel mild to moderate pain or discomfort when biting down or chewing.
  3. Visible holes or pits: In some cases, you may be able to see small holes or pits on the surfaces of your teeth.
  4. Food getting stuck: If you frequently notice food getting trapped between your teeth, it could be a sign of cavity development.

It is important to note that these symptoms may vary depending on the severity and location of the cavity between teeth. Regular dental check-ups and X-rays are essential for early detection and accurate diagnosis.

Cavity Between Teeth - Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

Diagnosing cavity between teeth

Diagnosing cavity between teeth requires a thorough dental examination, which may include visual inspection, dental X-rays, and the use of special dental instruments. During the examination, your dentist will carefully examine the surfaces of your teeth and use a dental probe to check for soft spots or areas of decay. X-rays can help reveal cavities that are not visible to the naked eye, especially in the areas between teeth. By combining these diagnostic tools, your dentist can accurately diagnose and determine the extent of cavity between teeth.

Treatment options for cavity between teeth

The approach to treatment for dental cavities depends upon the severity of the dental decay. In the early stages, when the cavity is small and confined to the enamel, your dentist may recommend non-invasive treatment options such as fluoride treatments or dental sealants. Fluoride treatments help strengthen the enamel and reverse the early stages of decay, while dental sealants provide a protective barrier on the chewing surfaces of the teeth, preventing further decay.

If the cavity has progressed beyond the enamel and into the dentin or pulp, more extensive treatment may be necessary. This may involve removing the decayed portion of the tooth and placing a filling, inlay, or onlay to restore its structure and function. In severe cases where the cavity has reached the tooth’s nerve, root canal treatment may be required to save the tooth. Your dentist will determine the most appropriate treatment plan based on the extent of the cavity between teeth. 

Preventing cavity between teeth

Prevention is key when it comes to maintaining optimal oral health and preventing cavity between teeth. By adopting good oral hygiene practices and making certain lifestyle changes, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing interproximal cavities.

Preventing cavities through oral hygiene practices

Brushing technique: Brush your teeth at least twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a gentle circular motion, paying close attention to the gumline and the surfaces between teeth.

Flossing: Floss daily to remove plaque and food particles from the spaces between teeth. Be sure to use proper flossing technique, gently sliding the floss up and down the sides of each tooth.

Interdental brushes: Consider using interdental brushes or floss picks to clean between teeth, especially if you have gaps or spaces between them.

Mouthwash: Rinse with an antimicrobial mouthwash after brushing and flossing to further reduce bacteria in the mouth.

Diet and lifestyle changes to prevent cavity between teeth

Limit sugary and acidic foods: Minimize the intake of foods and beverages that are high in sugar and acidity, as these can potentially contribute to the development of tooth decay. Choose healthier alternatives such as fruits, vegetables, and dairy substitutes.

Drink water: It is advisable to consume plenty of water throughout the day, as it helps wash away food particles and neutralize oral acids.

Quit smoking: If you smoke, consider quitting. Smoking not only causes tooth discoloration but also increases the risk of developing gum disease and tooth decay.

Regular dental check-ups: Regularly visit your dentist for regular check-ups and professional cleanings. Your dentist can detect early signs of cavity between teeth and provide appropriate treatment before it worsens.

Visiting the dentist for cavity between teeth

Regular dental visits play a vital role in maintaining good oral health and preventing cavity between teeth. During your dental check-up, your dentist will thoroughly examine your teeth, gums, and mouth, looking for any signs of decay or other dental issues. If a cavity between teeth is detected, your dentist will discuss the treatment options with you and create a customized plan to address your specific needs. It is important to follow your dentist’s recommendations and attend regular check-ups to ensure that your oral health remains in optimal condition.


Can cavity between teeth heal on its own?

 No, once a cavity develops, it cannot heal on its own. It requires dental treatment to prevent further decay and restore the tooth’s health.

What happens if I ignore a cavity between teeth?

Ignoring a cavity between teeth can lead to further decay, tooth sensitivity, pain, infection, and even tooth loss. It is crucial to address cavities promptly to prevent complications.

Can I prevent cavity between teeth by brushing alone?

While brushing is an essential part of oral hygiene, it may not effectively clean the tight spaces between teeth. Flossing and using interdental brushes are equally important for removing plaque and preventing cavity between teeth.

Conclusion and final thoughts

Cavity between teeth is a common dental issue that can be prevented and treated with proper oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits. By understanding the causes, recognizing the signs and symptoms, and adopting preventive measures, you can maintain a healthy smile and minimize the risk of cavity between teeth. Remember to brush, floss, and visit your dentist regularly for check-ups, ensuring that your teeth remain cavity-free and your oral health remains optimal. Take control of your oral health today and enjoy a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.