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Tooth Decay – How to Tell if You Have One

Tooth decay, or cavities, is a common dental health problem in young children, teens, and even older people. The plaque formed on the tooth’s surface, later on, creates cavities, which are holes or tiny openings in the hard surface of the teeth and if left untreated, these can cause more serious health problems. Tooth decay is caused by food stuck on your teeth such as sugar or honey, mouth bacteria, dry mouth, not cleaning your teeth well, and many other reasons. If you have never had tooth decay before, here are obvious signs that you may have one right now.


Toothache is the most common and obvious sign of having a cavity. If you experience ongoing pain in one tooth or more, it means that you probably have tooth decay and you should visit a dentist immediately. However, this pain sometimes comes all of a sudden or mostly when you eat something, especially cold food. Toothaches also include when you feel pain or discomfort in or around your mouth while biting down on food.

Hot and Cold Sensitivity

If you feel a lingering sensitivity after drinking a hot cup of coffee or after eating ice cream, it could be a sign of a cavity. The sensitivity is caused by the hot and cold food stimulating the cells and nerves inside your tooth. Experiencing a sensitivity to hot and cold food means that the cavity has worn down the enamel and reached the dentin layer, so immediately visiting a dentist is essential before the sensitivity turns into something more serious.

A Hole or Pit in the Tooth

Seeing a hole or pit in the tooth is a clear sign that you have a cavity. You can see a hole or pit in your tooth when you look in the mirror or if you feel it with your tongue. At that moment, you will possibly need fillings for your teeth to prevent any complications. Most holes or pit in the tooth are visible yet some are still cannot be seen or felt by the tongue because these can be in between teeth or in crevices. Visit a dentist right away as these holes are the symptoms of tooth decay.

Sweets Sensitivity

Similar to temperature sensitivity, any lingering sensitivity to sweets can be caused by a cavity. Drinking sugary drinks or consuming sweets might cause discomfort or pain which is an indication of sweet sensitivity. However, when you have sensitivity to sweets, it means that the enamel layer of your tooth is damaged and hasn’t yet reached the dentin layer. Sensitivity to sweets is a sign that indicates the start of a cavity though that can be easily treated once you visit your dentist.

Teeth Stains

An indication of the start of having tooth decay is the white spots it leaves on your teeth. As the decay advances, the spot starts to become darker. If you find white, brown, or black spots on your tooth, the staining is probably caused by a cavity.

Fortunately, preventing tooth decay from happening is not difficult to do. All you need to do is visit your dentist regularly or at least once every 6 months. Brushing your teeth twice a day with a toothpaste that contains fluoride paired with a regular floss routine will decrease the probability of tooth decay.

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