3 Main Types of Tooth Cavities and Their Causes

It is very easy to assume that all tooth cavities are the same and are caused by the same factors. In fact, many people in different parts of the world do not understand the cavities as well as the factors that cause them. There are three main types of tooth cavities.


Even though these cavities have similar end results, in the long run, the factors that cause them as well as the progress of their development is very different. Below is a short overview of the three top types of cavities along with the factors that cause them and their risk factors.

Also Read: How to deal with sensitive teeth


Smooth Surface Cavities

This is by far the most widespread of all the tooth cavities but also the easiest to treat if you know what you are doing. It can be caused by any large number of factors. As its name suggests, this cavity forms on the smooth surfaces of the teeth.

The factors that cause smooth surface cavities are the ones that allow the buildup of plaque in the mouth. Plaque is a thin layer of bacteria that feels slimy and which usually covers the surfaces of the teeth.


The bacteria acts on any food remains inside the mouth and releases acids which corrode the teeth and result in their decay. The easiest way to prevent and control smooth surface tooth decay is through practicing good oral hygiene and developing good dental habits.

For instance, you should brush your teeth after every meal to prevent the buildup of plaque on their surfaces. Flossing the teeth helps to clean the areas between the teeth and get rid of any food particles that may be caught in between those spaces.


Pit and Fissure Cavities

These cavities are a little harder to treat compared to the smooth surface cavities. They go deeper into the teeth and can be a lot more painful. In most cases, the pit and fissure cavities occur as a direct result of smooth surface cavities that have been left untreated for long.

As such, prevention measures for this type of cavity are very similar to the ones mentioned above. Regarding treatment, you should seek the professional opinion of a qualified dentist before you attempt to deal with this problem.


There are many clinical, corrective measures for this type of tooth decay, and your dentist will be able to determine the treatment options that suit you best.


Root Cavities

As the name indicates, the root cavities affect the root and lower parts of the tooth. Because the roots are not covered with enamel like the other parts of the tooth, root cavities tend to progress and develop very fast.

They are also a lot more painful and can result in greater dental damage if they are left untreated for a long time.

The main cause of root cavities is the recession of the gums. When the gums recede due to any of a large number of factors, the roots of the tooth are exposed and susceptible to attacks by bacteria that cause tooth decay.

Of the three types of tooth decay, the root cavities are by far the most difficult to treat and usually require professional and expensive procedures to completely remove the decay.


Most of the time when the root decay is left to go on without any treatments or corrective measures, the result is the loss of the teeth.

Even though different factors influence the above three types of tooth cavities, some major oral care routines have been found to be very effective in the prevention of all the three types of cavities.

Obvious oral care routines, and to which we usually give very little thought, such as regular brushing and flossing of the teeth can go a long way in preventing the development of all these cavities.

Other measures such as eating the right diet, avoiding tobacco, etc. can also contribute significantly to their prevention.

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