How well do you take care of your teeth?
Proper dental hygiene is crucial to your overall health. Often, many people mistake that dental health and physical health are separate. However, your dental health is as important as your physical health.
Studies show that more than 26% of adults in the United States suffer from untreated tooth decay. If left alone, a cavity could lead to more serious oral health issues. If you want to avoid these issues, it's essential to know their signs.
In this article, we cover five signs of tooth decay. Knowing the signs and symptoms of tooth decay will allow you to know when to seek professional help. Read on to discover more!
Tooth sensitivity is one of the main symptoms of tooth decay. If you have a developing or present cavity, your teeth may be sensitive to certain things. Extreme hot or cold food and drink temperatures could cause you some discomfort.
If this pain lingers after consuming something hot or cold, you may have a developing cavity. Tooth sensitivity occurs when your tooth's enamel begins to wear away. This affects the hard layer of tissue below your enamel, called the dentin.
The dentin consists of microscopic hollow tubes. These hollow tubes are what create the lingering sensitivity you feel. When exposed, hot and cold foods or drinks can stimulate the nerves and cells in the dentin.
You may also experience a lingering sensitivity to sweet foods. If your teeth are sensitive to sweets or sugary drinks, you may have tooth decay. Sensitivity to these foods may also be a result of damaged enamel.
2. Visible Stains and Craters
Stains due to tooth decay may first look like white spots. These light stains become darker if you leave the cavity untreated. As a cavity develops, it can form dark spots on a tooth's surface.
Cavity stains may appear black, brown, or white. Holes and craters are also evident signs of tooth decay. Holes and pits usually begin to form after a cavity results in softened enamel.
The stain may turn into a hole or pits in your tooth. You may be able to see this when you look into the mirror. Other patients feel it when they run their tongue over their teeth.
However, not all stains, holes, and pits are visible. If you have a cavity in between your teeth, you may not see or feel them. The best way to determine if you have a cavity in these areas is if you experience pain or sensitivity.
3. Pain and Discomfort
A lingering ache in your tooth may point to a developing or present cavity. It is one of the most common symptoms of tooth decay. You may feel this after eating certain foods.
Some people who suffer from tooth decay may feel sudden pain or discomfort. You may also experience this in your mouth. Other patients may find it difficult to bite down on certain foods.
You may also experience this while flossing or brushing your teeth. Pain and discomfort may occur due to the exposed layer of dentin. If you start feeling pain in your teeth, consult your dentist immediately.
4. Swelling and Bleeding Gums
Plaque can lead to various oral health issues like tooth decay. If left untreated, tooth decay could lead to infection of the tooth's nerve, or weaken the tooth structure leading to a cracked tooth. Poor oral hygiene results in a buildup of plaque on your teeth.
Plaque buildup leads to gingivitis. Bacterial growth in the plaque buildup can irritate the gingiva, causing it to become infected and inflamed. This leads to swelling and makes your gums prone to bleeding. Long term gingivitis leads to periodontitis, a serious gum disease. Periodontitis involves the loss of the bone and gum that holds your teeth in place. Severe periodontitis can lead to loosened teeth or tooth loss.
You may also experience swelling and bleeding gums if your cavity is near the gum line. Patients often experience bleeding whenever they floss or brush their teeth. It's crucial to visit your dentist if your gums start bleeding.
5. Bad Breath
Bad breath is another telltale sign of tooth decay. Cavities occur when bacteria in your mouth damage the tooth's surface. Harmful bacteria are fed from the sugars that are introduced in the food or drinks that you consume.
The longer they stay in contact with your tooth, the more likely you will develop tooth decay. The bacteria that destroys your teeth is also what leads to bad breath. You may also find harmful bacteria on your tongue.
If you experience swelling and bleeding in your gums, you may also be suffering from bad breath. Undiagnosed periodontal disease and a tooth cavity is often the main reason for bad breath. If you have bad breath and can't figure out why then you may be developing a cavity and have periodontitis.
Factors That Increase the Risks of Developing Cavities
Anyone can develop a cavity if they don't follow proper dental hygiene. However, there are other factors that could increase your chances of developing cavities. Here are some risk factors that may cause cavities.
When to See a Dentist
If you experience any of these cavity symptoms, seek professional help immediately. Temperature, pain, or sensitivity are some of the first signs of tooth decay. Stains and toothache are also crucial reasons to visit your dentist.
Your dentist will be able to determine the root cause of your concerns. They will also prescribe the right treatment to help your teeth get back in proper health.
Know These Five Signs of Tooth Decay
Untreated tooth decay may lead to expensive and painful situations. From visible stains to tooth sensitivity, we've discussed some of the most common symptoms of tooth decay. Take note of these common symptoms and book a visit to your dentist.
Thanks for reading our article! Do you have any other concerns about your oral health? Contact us today and discover more oral health concerns to look out for.
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