Early Signs of Tooth Cavities
Ignoring the signs of tooth decay and cavities can cause serious damage to your teeth, but it can also cause additional health problems as well. Serious tooth decay can cause lost teeth and other health problems like respiratory and cardiovascular disease, oral cancers, diabetes, and more.
You can significantly reduce your chances of adverse health effects related to tooth decay by recognizing early signs of cavities and visiting a dentist in North Pole, AK, as soon as possible. North Pole family dentistry can help treat cavities and provide education and care to reduce further chances of tooth decay. But how can you tell if you have cavities in the first place? Here are common signs of cavities to watch for.
What Are Cavities?
First of all, it's important to understand exactly what cavities are. A cavity is literally a hole, or cavity, that forms in the tooth when it's subjected to decay. Bacteria in your mouth use starch or sugar to produce acid. This acid can erode and soften the enamel on your teeth, which is the hard covering on your teeth. Once the enamel is worn away a cavity begins to form in the mouth. The cavity, if left untreated, will begin to grow and can eventually destroy the whole tooth, requiring the extraction of the tooth. It can even infect the tooth and cause root problems as well.
Signs of a Cavity
Stains and Pits
One of the earliest signs of a developing cavity is a pit or stain on the tooth. Unfortunately, many people don't examine their teeth closely enough to notice this, so this symptom is usually only detected during a regular tooth exam. However, if you do notice discoloration on your teeth, you can sometimes reverse the decay with fluoride treatments. Stains and cavities are often related, but having a stain on your tooth doesn't necessarily mean it will develop into a cavity. Pits, on the other hand, are usually only noticeable on an x-ray done by the dentist and require additional treatments.
Pain can occur when a cavity has progressed far enough to reach the dentin layer of the tooth, which is below the enamel. You may only notice some tooth sensitivity when eating or drinking hot, cold, acidic, or sweet foods. More severe pain is generally a sure sign of a cavity, especially if you notice it when biting down.
Bad Taste and Smell
The bacteria that break down the food particles and causes tooth decay releases unpleasant smells and tastes in your mouth. While there are many causes for bad breath and a bad taste in your mouth, continuously struggling with this symptom could indicate one or more cavities.