Tooth decay is an incredibly common health problem. Most adults have had tooth decay at some point in their lives, and 26% of adults between 20 and 64 have untreated decay. Since tooth decay doesn't always cause a toothache, you may not even know that you have a cavity. Here are four signs that you have tooth decay.
Bad breath can be a sign that you need to avoid foods like onions and garlic, but if it's chronic and isn't helped by toothbrushing, gum or mints, it may be a sign that you have tooth decay. The bacteria that lead to tooth decay can produce a bad smell, so if your friends and family are complaining about your smelly breath, see your dentist to find out if you have cavities.
Small cavities don't usually cause the severe toothaches that are associated with large cavities. If you have a small cavity in one of your teeth, you may only feel occasional sensitivity. This sensitivity can occur in response to taking a sip of a cold beverage or chewing on a sugary piece of candy. While this sensitivity may be fleeting, it's important not to ignore it.
In some cases, you may even be able to see your cavity with your own eyes. Small cavities may only be visible on x-rays, but medium-sized cavities may be visible when you look in the mirror. Grooves, indents or pits are all possible signs that you have a cavity. When cavities become large, they're usually visible with the naked eye. If you see a pit in one of your teeth, bring it to your dentist's attention, even if it doesn't hurt.
The outsides of your teeth are covered with enamel, a hard material that's made of minerals like calcium. Cavities form when acids inside your mouth eat away at this layer of enamel. When the minerals start to be lost to acid attacks, you may notice a white spot on your tooth. This white spot is a clue that you have a developing cavity. As more minerals are taken away from the enamel, the spot will become a pit or hole.
A severe toothache isn't the only clue that you have tooth decay; there are many other signs that you have cavities. Click here for info about tooth decay and other dental issues, and if you think you might have tooth decay, see your dentist right away for a check up.
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