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Cavity vs. Stain: Everything You Should Know

Cavities and stains are often confused by people. A cavity on the surface of a tooth or decay on its root is a permanent injury. Tooth cavities can grow larger and deeper if untreated, and a hole may form in your tooth.

The difference between stains and cavities is that stains tend to shrink or grow rather than steadily increase in size. Using proper toothpaste, whitening your teeth, or eating well may make statins disappear.

The most important thing is to determine whether it’s a stain or a cavity in the tooth. Consult your dentist when you notice any unusual signs on your teeth.

A stain is more likely to cause discolouration than a cavity when it affects the entire tooth. Cavities, on the other hand, may appear as brown, black, or grey spots on a tooth or several teeth.

In this article, we will explain how cavity vs. stains differ. You will learn how to spot cavities, what causes teeth stains, and what treatment you need. 

What Causes Tooth Cavities and Stains?

Several factors lead to tooth cavities, including:

Causes tooth cavities

Cavities and tooth decay are largely caused by poor oral hygiene. There are several potential causes of cavities, including:

  • Having not brushed or flossed regularly
  • Mouth feeling dry
  • Reflux of acid
  • Consumption of sugary or acidic foods and drinks regularly
  • Deficiency of fluoride

Causes of stains

The most common cause of tooth stains is deposits from food and drinks. In most cases, the stains appear suddenly and do not disappear quickly. If you consume too much tea, coffee, carbonated beverages, and wine, you’re more likely to develop stains.

Additionally, tooth stains can be caused by;

  • Tobacco use, such as smoking or chewing.
  • If teeth are exposed to too much fluoride during development, white spots may appear.
  • Teeth look stained when enamel wears away with age, exposing yellow dentin beneath.
  • Stains are caused by hardened plaque (tartar) on teeth
  • Medications such as antibiotics and antihypertensives can stain teeth.

Cavity vs. Stain Everything You Should Know

How do I Tell the Difference Between a Tooth Cavity and a Stain?

Both tooth cavities and stains can cause your teeth to become discoloured, but they are very different problems. By causing tooth decay, a cavity leaves a permanent hole in your tooth. Stains are discolourations on the surface of your teeth caused by food, drinks, or lifestyle habits.

Here are some tips on determining if you have a cavity or a stain on your tooth:

Cavity vs. Stain Everything You Should Know


  • Cavities: The appearance of cavities on your teeth is typically marked by dark spots or holes. Depending on the colour, they can be white, brown, black, or even grey. It is also possible for cavities to have a rough or sticky texture.
  • Stains: The colour and appearance of stains can vary. There are many colours to choose from, including yellow, brown, black, and green. There are many different types of stains on your teeth, including smooth stains, rough stains, and stains spread across multiple teeth.


  • Cavities: It is common for cavities to form between your teeth and on the surfaces of your teeth that you chew on. It is also possible for them to start on your teeth’s roots, but this is rare.
  • Stains: You can get stains anywhere on your teeth, but front teeth are most likely to develop them.


  • Cavities: Cavities are often rough or sticky.
  • Stains: The texture of stains depends on their cause.


  • Cavities: Cavities can cause toothaches, sensitivity to hot and cold foods, and chewing pain, among other symptoms. Sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks and pain when chewing.
  • Stains: Stains usually cause nothing more than discolouration of the teeth.

Also read:cavity between teeth

Cavity vs. Stain: Overlapping Symptoms

Cavities and stains can both lead to discolouration between teeth. They are, however, caused by different factors and treated differently. Cavities are areas of tooth decay caused by bacteria. In addition to brown stains between teeth, cavities can appear as tiny holes in teeth or white spots between teeth. 

A cavity occurs when the enamel on the outside of the tooth is damaged. Cavities must be treated, usually with fillings, or they will continue to grow. When cavities develop over time, they can cause tooth sensitivity and other symptoms, but at first, cavities cause no pain. 

In contrast, stains are areas of discolouration on teeth. They are not damaged, per se, and do not require treatment. Most stains affect only the enamel of the tooth and are called extrinsic stains. The other type of stain affects the entire tooth and is called intrinsic staining.

Also Read: Tooth Extraction

Healthy Teeth Tips 

After knowing the Cavity vs. Stain there are some tips to make teeth healthy. Both cavities and stains can be prevented with good dental hygiene. Here are some steps you can take to prevent cavities and stains on your teeth:

Cavity vs. Stain Everything You Should Know

  • You should brush and floss your teeth twice a day to remove plaque
  • A dentist should clean your teeth every six months
  • Consume fewer sugary foods
  • Drink sugary or discolouring beverages through a straw
  • If you notice damage to your teeth, speak with your dentist as soon as possible


Cavity vs. Stain are often confused by people. Even though these two may appear similar, they differ greatly in many respects. Cavities are a type of tooth decay that requires prompt treatment by a dentist. Alternatively, tooth discolouration can be treated effectively with whitening products.

 If you notice that your teeth have stains, seek dental assistance right away. The best way to maintain a healthy oral environment is to detect problems early on and take action. Cavities can lead to tooth loss, infection, and pain if left untreated.

Aside from practising good oral hygiene, it is strongly advised to schedule regular dental cleanings and check-ups every six months to prevent both minor and major dental problems from developing in the long run.


Huzaifa Tanveer
Huzaifa Tanveer
I am a content writer and Blog writer with around 1 year of experience in this field. I can create SEO-friendly, valuable content for every type of website, including blogs, digital platforms, and e-commerce stores


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