The health of your teeth is key to your overall health. Preventing tooth decay or cavities is one of the most important ways to keep your teeth in good condition and to prevent other complications. Cavities left untreated can destroy your teeth and possibly create more serious issues.That’s why it helps to know the signs of a tooth cavity and to see your dentist as soon as possible if you think you have one.
Cavities are permanently damaged areas in the hard surface of your teeth that develop into tiny openings or holes. Cavities, also called tooth decay or caries, are caused by a combination of factors, including bacteria in your mouth, frequent snacking, sipping sugary drinks and not cleaning your teeth well.
When food and bacteria build up in your teeth, it can form plaque. The bacteria in plaque produce acids that have the ability to erode the enamel on the surface of your teeth. Brushing and flossing your teeth regularly can help get rid of the sticky plaque. If the plaque is allowed to build up, it can continue to eat away at your teeth and create cavities.
Cavities and tooth decay are among the world’s most common health problems. They’re especially common in children, teenagers and older adults. But anyone who has teeth can get cavities, including infants.
If cavities aren’t treated, they get larger and affect deeper layers of your teeth. They can lead to a severe toothache, infection and tooth loss. That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to any signs you may be developing a cavity in your teeth.
Sensitivity that lingers after eating hot or cold food could be a sign that you have a cavity. When the enamel on your tooth starts to wear away, foods that are hot, cold, sticky, or acidic can stimulate the cells and nerve inside your tooth. This is what creates the sensitivity you feel.
A continuous ache in one or more of your teeth can indicate a cavity. In fact, pain is one of the most common symptoms of a cavity. Sometimes this ache will come on suddenly, or it might happen as a result of something you eat. This includes pain and discomfort in or around your mouth, or feeling pain and pressure when you bite down on food.
Similar to temperature sensitivity, a lingering discomfort from sweets is often a result of damage to the enamel and, more specifically, the start of a cavity.
If a white spot on your tooth (indicating the start of a cavity) worsens, you will end up with a hole in your tooth that you may be able to see when you look in the mirror or feel when you run your tongue over the surface of your teeth. Some holes, especially those in between your teeth or in crevices, can’t be seen or felt, however you may still feel pain or sensitivity in the area of the cavity.
You may not be aware that a cavity is forming. That’s why it’s important to have regular dental checkups and cleanings, even when your mouth feels fine. However, if you experience a toothache or mouth pain, see your dentist as soon as possible.
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