Tooth Decay Symptoms

When the bacteria in your mouth produces acid as a result of the sugar and starches in your foods and drinks, tooth decay is in its first stages. In its later stages tooth decay is not reversible and needs to be treated by a dentist to avoid serious health issues.

The bacteria forms a thin layer of film on the teeth called plaque which builds up, hardens and turns into tartar. Plaque can cause cavities, dental caries, gum disease or even dental abscesses without proper professional treatment.

How do you know if you have tooth decay or if you are risking developing significant dental problems?  Here are some of the common symptoms of tooth decay:

  • Tooth Sensitivity

If you start to notice that hot foods or cold drinks start to bother your teeth, the enamel of those teeth may be compromised.  The enamel protects the teeth and if the enamel starts to wear away, there is less buffer around the nerve endings.  As the enamel thins and erodes, the temperature of your food and drinks are more noticeable in the areas where there is tooth decay.

  • Toothache

If the tooth decay has progressed past the enamel and started to affect the inner layers of the teeth, or the pulp and the dentin, the tooth decay causes inflammation.  When the inner dentin and pulp get irritated from the tooth decay, the swelling tissue presses against the hard exterior of the tooth.  The pressure is painful, but can be relieved when the tooth decay is treated.

  • Visible spots on your teeth

You may start to notice small white, grey, brown or black spots on your teeth where the tooth decay has started to progress.  Depending on how long you have gone without treating the tooth decay, the discoloring will become more noticeable and darker.

  • Bad breath
  • Bad taste in your mouth

Seeing a dentist

If you do not regularly keep twice yearly appointments with the dentist for cleaning and exams, then you may have tooth decay that is going untreated.  At its early stages, tooth decay is easier and less expensive to treat.  The dentist can treat and diagnose your tooth decay before it affects your gums and jaw bone.

Preventing tooth decay

While tooth decay is a health problem that affects people of all ages all across the world, tooth decay is preventable.  At home, you will want to do the best you can to care for your gums and teeth.  The best way to keep them healthy between dental cleanings, you need to brush twice a day, floss and use an oral rinse.  You may even want to consider using a toothpaste with fluoride to help restore minerals in your enamel.  When you are choosing your meals and snacks, you will want to keep sugary and starchy foods to a minimum.  Tobacco use and excessive alcohol can reduce your saliva production, erode your tooth enamel, and make your mouth a more conducive environment to the tooth decay causing bacteria.

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