gumline cavity - causes, treatment & more - colgate australia

What Is A Gumline Cavity?

If you’ve recently developed a gumline cavity or any cavity, you might feel a little better knowing you’re not alone. Most of us belong to the Cavity Club! Tooth decay is so common that according to Australia’s Oral Health Tracker, only 10.7% of Australian adults (15+) have never experienced decay in permanent teeth. But this doesn’t make it okay. Tooth decay can weaken or destroy your tooth, and once it’s gone, there is no natural replacement. This article will discuss the common causes, treatments, and prevention tactics that can help stop tooth decay from worsening and lessen the risk of future cavities.

Causes of gumline cavities

Dental cavity formation starts when plaque, a sticky bacterial film that builds up inside the mouth, adheres to a tooth. These bacteria combine with sugar to produce acids that dissolve the tooth’s surface. Our enamel is the hard surface that works as a protective layer against tooth decay. When this protective layer begins to dissolve, different types of cavities have the potential to form.

Have you ever wondered which areas of the mouth are most prone to tooth decay? Not all teeth surfaces are created equal. Plaque tends to accumulate more easily in certain areas. For example, the back teeth’s (molars’) pits and fissures are a hot spot for plaque, along with the spaces in between the teeth. Plaque also builds up quickly along the gumline, and if not removed, a gumline cavity can form.

Gumline cavities can also be associated with exposed tooth roots. Gum tissue usually protects the roots, but the roots will be vulnerable if the gum tissue recedes. That’s because roots are covered in a material called cementum, which is much weaker than tooth enamel.

Treatment of gumline cavities

As the Australian Dental Association explains, your dentist has various options to restore your tooth’s shape and function. You may require a filling if your tooth structure has been compromised due to trauma or decay. To create a filling, a dentist numbs the surrounding area, drills, or lasers to remove the decayed material, and then fills in the hole with a protective material like composite resin or dental amalgam.

Treatment for tooth decay at the gumline is similar to other cavity treatments but with some slight differences. If the cavity extends beneath the gumline, it can be challenging for the dental professional to access it with their drill or laser. In these situations, your dentist may perform minor gum surgery to access the cavity.

How to prevent gumline cavities


While there’s no such thing as guaranteed gumline cavity prevention, you can take daily steps to fight them. The best way to prevent cavities is to brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Brush along your gumline with a proper brushing technique. This involves placing your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gumline and using a back-and-forth motion to brush each tooth. Once the gumline area is clean, move on to the rest of the tooth surfaces for complete cleaning.

Interdental cleaning

For the hard-to-reach plaque around your teeth and gumline, a daily routine of flossing will also help to prevent disease. To floss beneath your gumline, curve the floss around each of your teeth at their base and make sure to be gentle to avoid cutting or bruising the gum tissue. Water flossing is an excellent alternative to flossing. At the same time, you can also add mouthwash to your daily oral health routine to rinse out bacteria.

Professional teeth cleanings

Like all preventative health measures, a regular dental checkup is paramount to your overall oral health. A dental professional can thoroughly clean your teeth and remove plaque and tartar from along the gumline that you could not remove with your at-home measures. They can then thoroughly examine your mouth and look for conditions like gum recession that could put you at risk of gumline cavities.

No one enjoys hearing the news that they have a cavity at the gumline - or anywhere. Still, the more you know about tooth decay, the more confident you’ll feel with your dental professional's recommendations. Combine these recommendations with excellent oral hygiene and you can be confident you can reduce the chances of any more gumline cavities, or proactively treat them if required.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.