Do You Have a Healthy Smile?: 5 Early Signs of Tooth Decay

Americans might be known around the world for having straight, white teeth. However, the truth behind these seemingly perfect smiles is that an incredible 91 percent of US adults have tooth decay. 

But what is tooth decay anyway? Cavities, or tooth decay, occur when your tooth enamel erodes, letting in bacteria and allowing it to infect the inner dentin. As you might expect from this description, tooth decay is as serious as it is common. Not least because without treatment in the early tooth decay stages, you may need a root canal or even a complete tooth extraction. 

Wondering how to stop tooth decay? The best way is to keep an eye out for early tooth decay symptoms. Keep reading to find out how to spot them. 

1. Pain and Sensitivity

As the experts at would tell you, when everyday activities such as eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing start to become painful, tooth decay pain could be the culprit.

Pain and sensitivity indicate that your tooth’s dentin has become exposed and that bacteria and infection have started to infiltrate the inner nerve of your tooth. 

2. Bad Breath

When a tooth becomes compromised and decay starts to set in, the bacteria that has entered is more difficult to remove with regular brushing and flossing. 

And, since the bacteria in your mouth produce waste just like all other living organisms, this can lead to bad breath and an unpleasant taste in your mouth. If you have persistent bad breath that you can’t seem to shake, it may be time for a dental check-up. 

3. Discoloration

If you’re not so keen on visiting your dentist or you enjoy too many dark-colored foods and drinks, you may have stained or discolored teeth. 

That said, tooth discoloration can also be a sign of tooth decay. A developing cavity can cause dark or white spots on the tooth’s surface. These will then get larger and more pronounced over time if you don’t treat them. 

4. Surface Holes

As bacteria start to infiltrate your tooth, they can start to eat away at the tooth’s surface, causing small holes or pitting in the enamel. If you notice holes like these, your dentist will need to remove the decay and give you a filling to cover surface holes and protect your tooth from further damage. 

5. Swollen or Bleeding Gums

Swollen, red gums are another of the most common tooth decay symptoms, especially if the cavity is near the gum line. This is because the infection in your tooth has an impact on the surrounding soft tissue. As a result, you may experience tenderness in your gums as well as bleeding when brushing or flossing. 

Recognizing the Signs of Tooth Decay

As these signs of tooth decay show, when we neglect our dental health, it’s all too easy for infection to spread. 

By maintaining good oral hygiene, you’ll be much better able to avoid tooth decay. And with regular dental check-ups, your dentist will be on hand to spot any tooth decay symptoms before the situation gets too serious. 

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