Cavities, also known as tooth decay, are one of the main reasons people visit dentists every year, and although the myth says this is a problem that only affects children who eat too much candy, the truth is cavities can be an issue at any stage of life.
Destruction of Tooth Enamel
Cavities are one of the main causes of the destruction of your tooth enamel, the hard, outer layer of your teeth. Cavities can transform from small openings in a tooth into large holes over time.. Cavities can be caused by pieces of food stuck between your teeth and accumulation of plaque, the sticky film comprised of bacteria that forms on your teeth.
Whenever you drink or eat something sugary like fruit, raisins or even milk, the bacteria in plaque produces acid that attack your tooth enamel. Over time and when not addressed properly, the plaque can keep this acid in contact with your teeth long enough so the enamel breaks down, causing a cavity to form as a little hole in your tooth.
How To Tell If You Have a Cavity
But how can I tell if I have a cavity? Symptoms such as toothache or constant bad breath (halitosis) may indicate something significant is wrong. Be aware of these symptoms, and visit your dentist as soon as possible if they develop:
- Toothache: Any type of pain or swelling in your mouth is a warning sign and enough of a reason to visit your dentist. Cavities can be very painful and become infections when not treated properly.
- Halitosis: Cavities are a place for bacteria to hide in your mouth and can contribute to bad breath or halitosis.
- Sensitive teeth: If your teeth hurt whenever they’re in contact with hot or cold beverages, it may be due to cavities and/or tooth decay.
- Visible holes or splits in your teeth
- Pain or discomfort when eating and biting
Don’t Leave Cavities Untreated
When left untreated, cavities can result in a series of problems such as pain that worsens over time, tooth abscess, chewing problems, and even the loss of affected teeth. In more extreme cases, cavities may even lead to more serious or life-threatening infections.
Anyone can experience cavities at any point in their lives. In order to prevent cavities, a good dental hygiene routine is a must: Brushing your teeth after every meal with a fluoride toothpaste and regularly visiting your dentist are just a few of the very simple steps you can take in order to prevent tooth decay.