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Root Cavities

A photo of root cavities.

What are root caries (root cavities)?

  • Root cavities develop at the gum line and are caused by factors such as improper brushing of the teeth , receding gums that expose the root surfaces of the teeth, and a diet high in sugar.
  • Older adults have an increased risk of developing root cavities, especially if there are physical or cognitive limitations that make regular tooth brushing a challenge.
  • Other factors contributing to root cavities later in life are gum disease , generalized poor health, systemic diseases (i.e. diabetes , multiple sclerosis ) and multiple medications.

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How can I prevent root caries?

  • Brush teeth twice a day and floss once a day.
  • If flossing is difficult, a rubber tipped stimulator, special toothpicks, or a small pointed tooth brush may replace flossing . The combination of loose fitting partial dentures and poor oral hygiene can sometimes worsen root caries.
  • Ensure natural teeth and dentures are cleaned well daily and dentures fit properly.

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What will my dentist do about root cavities?

  • A dental health professional will repair your teeth and provide additional information for daily care.
  • More frequent dental visits may be required.
  • Additional rinses or topical medications may be prescribed by the dental professional.

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