Tooth decay is a common plight that many of my patients at Big Smile Dental face. However, the signs of tooth decay often go ignored, especially when the issue isn’t visual. Naturally, you would expect a decaying tooth to having holes or yellow discoloration, but those or only some of the underlying indicators of a tooth problem.
Something as simple as a toothache could be a precursor to a much more serious problem. And if you aren’t following up on these issues with your dentist, the decay can lead to cracked teeth, cavities, and even major health issues such as heart disease.
So, here are 5 tell-all signs of tooth decay followed by my personal recommendation on how to prevent it:
5. Bad Breath is a Sign of Tooth Decay
We don’t always have that special someone in our life who will unabashedly call us out on our bad breath. Even if you do, sometimes bad breath can be dismissed as “coffee breath” or attributed to something that you ate.
But if you start to notice that your bad breath is persistent, this could be a sign of a dental issue. Getting back into your dental routine can help counteract this, but without visiting your dentist, it will be hard to determine just how extreme your tooth decay may be.
4. Tooth Discoloration
For some, teeth discoloration might be chalked up to drinking too much coffee or forgetting to brush (how dare you, by the way). Teeth stains are actually a huge indicator of a decaying tooth.
You will want to pay close attention, especially if one tooth seems more off-colored than the others. You may want to try some DIY teeth whitening solutions, but really, only your dentist will know the underlying cause of your tooth discoloration.
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3. Tooth Sensitivity
This is a big one. One of the most pressing signs of tooth decay is sensitivity to hot or cold items. Even if your teeth are sparkling white and don’t show signs of deteriorating, the root of your problem may just be too deep to see.
When your tooth is starting to dismantle, your nerves will be affected, which can cause sharp shooting pains in your tooth. Don’t ignore this for too long, even if you only experience sensitivity on occasion.
A toothache will be more persistent than a sensitive tooth. This can be anything from a throbbing discomfort to a continuous stabbing pain. You may feel it in your jaw or in a particular area in your mouth.
If it comes to you taking pain killers every day just to deal with the pain, please book an appointment with your local Chicago dentist right away!
1. Holes or Pits
Ultimately what these signs of tooth decay will lead to are holes or pits in your teeth— a.k.a a cavity.
Cavities aren’t just susceptible to children. As we get older, simple issues such as dry mouth can lead to cavities. Your tooth will start to erode as a combination of plaque buildup (as in, you’re not brushing enough) and sugar from foods. This combo produces an acid that eats away at your enamel until it forms a pit or cavity.
These holes in your teeth may not always be noticeable either. If you experience any of the aforementioned signs, have your dentist check you for cavities or tooth decay.
How To Prevent Tooth Decay
My go-to remedy for preventing tooth decay is, of course, maintaining a regime— especially if you have felt any of these warning signs. I recommend upping your strategies to brushing after every meal, flossing, and using mouth wash at least once a day.
I also recommend that you schedule an appointment with me so that I can more accurately assess the damage. Only then can we get back on track to giving you healthy teeth!