The health of your teeth is crucial to your overall well-being. What happens when you experience tooth decay, or cavities, can have detrimental effects to more than your mouth. Knowing the signs will help you get to the dentist’s office faster and remedy those pesky and important issues sooner rather than later.
A Cavity Explained
If food and bacteria build up on your teeth’s surface and in between, it can cause plaque. The acids created by the bacteria have the potential to break down the essential, protective layer of enamel which covers your teeth.
If you diligently and adequately brush and floss, chances are you successfully remove most of the sticky debris. If you don’t, you’re at serious risk of creating cavities.
Cavities are little holes and crevices inside your tooth from where the enamel is eroded. Areas in your mouth that may be at a higher risk of developing plaque include:
- chewing surfaces of your molars where bits of food can collect in the grooves and crevices
- between your teeth, the bottom of your teeth near your gums.
The consequences of tooth decay can be tooth loss, tooth abscess, even a life-threatening infection from an abscess.
Frequently eating foods that adhere to teeth also increases your risk of a cavity. Examples of these include:
- dried fruit
- energy drinks
- hard and gummy candy
- fruit juice
- sugary foods (ice cream, cake, cookies)
Signs You Have a Cavity
There are several indicators of a cavity. But keep in mind, some of these symptoms may be a sign of other dental concerns. Whenever you suffer from tooth discomfort, it’s recommended that you consult your dentist sooner rather than later.
Hot and cold sensitivity
The enamel of your tooth has an inner layer called dentin. If the enamel starts to erode, the dentin, which contains little hollow tubes, becomes exposed.
Foods that are hot, cold, sticky, or acidic can stimulate the cells and nerve inside your tooth. This is what creates the tooth sensitivity you feel.
Lingering sensitivity to sweets
Although hot and cold are the most common sensitivities when you have a cavity, a lingering sensitivity to sweets and sugary drinks can also point to tooth decay.
Like temperature sensitivity, a lingering discomfort from sweets is often a result of damage to the enamel and, more specifically, the start of a cavity.
Pain is probably the most common symptom people experience that indicates the presence of a cavity. Often it is sudden, seemingly out of nowhere, or it may happen as a result of something you eat.
Spot or hole in your tooth
A white spot on your tooth indicates the start of a cavity. As it worsens, you will experience a hole in your tooth. Some holes, especially those in between your teeth can’t be seen, but you can still feel pain or sensitivity in the area of the cavity. Damage like this is a clear sign that you have tooth decay.
Questions about tooth decay and how to avoid it? Contact Asheville Dental. We’re always happy to set you up with a free consultation. The best defense against cavities is a dental practice you trust and a daily oral hygiene regimen.