To have healthy teeth, you must be aware of the warning indicators of tooth decay and gum disease.
When teeth are exposed to acidic foods and beverages for an extended period, they may be prone to decay. However, to consume the food, the bacteria generate harmful acids. The bacteria, acids, and food particles trapped between your teeth combine to form a biofilm coating on your teeth known as plaque.
Knowing the early warning signals of tooth decay is vital to preserving your teeth. Here are seven telltale signs of tooth decay:
1. White Flecks on the Teeth
The first indication of tooth decay is seen in white flecks on your teeth. The plaque acids have chipped away at the enamel layer, revealing the inner structure to show where damage has been done – if left untreated, this will lead to brown or black discoloration.
If you don’t brush and floss your teeth regularly, plaque builds until it hardens into tartar. The tooth decay process’s acids will eventually eat through all of your teeth’s layers, beginning with enamel and ending at the pulp, which contains blood vessels and nerves!
Tooth decay is one of the most prevalent health issues in the United States, especially among children and teenagers. On the other hand, adults suffer from tooth decay; according to the CDC, more than 26% of American adults have untreated tooth decay.
Enamel erosion is an indication of the next stage of tooth decay. On the surface, this creates a void or gap. You’ll likely notice it when you look in the mirror while brushing or flossing.
Over time, you may feel a tiny hole or gap in your teeth with your tongue. Keep in mind that if a cavity develops, the only remedy is to visit your dentist so it can be treated and filled.
2. Bad Breath
Bad breath is another common indication of tooth decay. This is generally caused by food trapped in a cavity or a buildup of harmful germs in the mouth. Brushing and flossing your teeth (at least once a day) are the most significant dental hygiene measures. If you still have bad breath, see your dentist right away.
Tooth decay is characterized by recurring pain or toothaches in the mouth. Pain is a sign that a tooth is diseased due to tooth decay. If you experience discomfort when chewing food, see your dentist.
4. Sensitivity to hot or cold foods
When you eat or drink something hot, especially if it has an even worse flavor, you might get a dull pain in your teeth. Tooth decay wears away the enamel or protective layer of the teeth. This exposes the dentin and pulp layer where your nerves lie. So any hot or cold food that you eat stimulates your nerves and blood vessels, causing pain.
5. Sensitivity to sweets
When you eat something sweet, you may experience minor or severe discomfort. We should only feel pleasure when we eat sweets, so pain indicates enamel damage.
6. Swollen gums or a tooth abscess
Tooth decay can affect your teeth in a variety of ways. If it reaches the pulp, you’ll most certainly acquire an infection because this is where nerves and blood vessels are!
7. Permanent tooth loss
The last stage and symptom of tooth decay is tooth loss. If the infection progresses far enough, a diseased or loose tooth can be ejected from its root with little help from your dentist; on rare occasions, they may even decide to pull the ailing region!
What to do to stop and correct the tooth decay
Tooth decay is a big problem, but there are methods to prevent it. If you eat many sugary foods or live an unhealthy lifestyle (eat sweets frequently), you may be at risk of getting cavities. In that scenario, the dentist may recommend varnish in afflicted regions and fluoride gel into everyday routines as added protection against future stains from plaque accumulation on teeth, which cause acid attacks on enamel – the hardest substance found inside the human body!
A crown or a filling is sometimes required in severe cases of tooth decay. A filling is used to fill the tooth after removing the damaged portion during a crown procedure. Tooth decay has progressed to the point that your pulp is dead, and you will require a root canal. Even if a root canal works to cure tooth decay, it may still fail. After healing, replace the lost tooth with a denture, dental implant, or bridge.