7 Important Signs Of Cavity To Know About

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Our content is medically reviewed periodically by professionals for accuracy and relevance. We pride ourselves on our high-quality content and strive towards offering expertise while being authoritative. Our reviewers include doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, and even medical students.


Maintaining the health of your teeth is the key to maintaining good health. You need to take care of your teeth to prevent tooth decay and cavities. And to do that, one must know the signs of cavity.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that 30% of American adults suffer from untreated dental cavities each year. It is important to understand the signs of cavity to get treated as soon as possible.

A. What is Cavity?

When food and bacteria build up in our teeth, it can lead to the formation of plaque. The bacteria produce a particular type of acid in plaque. This bacterial infection can erode the enamel on the tooth surface as they produce acids, thus destroying dental health.

Brushing and flossing regularly can stop the formation of sticky plaque to prevent tooth decay. If the cavity is not treated on time, the tooth decay process will continue.

The first symptom among the signs of cavity is cold visible holes in your tooth. If this hole is not treated in time, it will slowly eat away the whole enamel of your permanent teeth. This could lead to serious cavity symptoms like tooth abscesses or infections. If the infection gets into your bloodstream, it can be life-threatening too.

Places in Your Mouth That Have a Higher Risk of Developing Cavity:

1. The surfaces of your molars; food particles can get collected in the crevices and grooves.

2. In between your teeth

3. The lower part of your teeth near the gums.

signs of cavity
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Food That Has Chances of Clinging to Your Teeth and Showing Signs of Cavity:

1. dry fruit

2. hard candy, gummy candy

3. soda

4. ice cream

5. fruit juice

6. chips

7. cookies

8. Cake

Signs of cavity are more common in children, but that does not mean the adults are not at the risk of having cavities. If proper care of your teeth is not taken, the teeth will slowly be consumed by plaque.

B. Causes Of Cavity and Tooth Decay

Cavities are caused due to tooth decay. This is a process that occurs over time. In this part, we shall discuss how tooth decay develops.

1. Plaque Formation

A clear sticky film that coats the teeth is known as plaque. Plaque is formed due to the consumption of sugar and starch. Another potential reason could also be if one does not clean their teeth properly.

When the sugar and starch in the teeth are not cleaned properly, the bacteria start eating them. Thus, form plaque. The plaque on the teeth then starts to harden under or above the gum line. This hardened plaque is called tartar(calculus). If the plaque turns into tartar, it can become very difficult to be removed. This tartar also helps in creating a shield for the bacteria.

2. Plaque Attacks

Plague contains acid which removes minerals from the tooth’s outer enamel. The erosion of the enamel causes tiny holes in the enamel of the tooth. This is one of the first signs of cavity.

Now that the enamel has worn away the bacteria and acid will be able to reach the next layer of your teeth, called the dentin. This layer is comparatively softer than enamel and is damaged easily by the acid. The dentine has tiny tubethatch that are directly connected with the nerve the toothleadingad to sensitivity.

3. Further Destruction Continues

In the development of tooth decay, bacteria and acid seep deeper into teeth. It slowly reaches the inner tooth material containing nerves and blood vessels. At this point, the pulp is swollen and irritated from the bacteria. There is no place for swollen pulp to expand inside the teeth. So the nerves are pressed leading to toothache. This irritation can even reach outside the teeth to the bone.

C. Possible Signs Of Cavity

There are many signs that indicate the formation of cavities. However, there are certain emergency signs of cavity that need to be treated immediately. These signs are called the potential risk factors.

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Listed down below are the common signs of cavity.

1. Hot and Cold Sensitivity

If you have lingering tooth sensitivity after eating hot or cold food you probably have a cavity.

When you have plaque in your teeth, it slowly wears away your tooth enamel. This affects the dentin which lies just below the enamel. The dentine has minute hollow tubes. Due to the erosion of the enamel, the hot or cold, acidic, and sticky foods stimulate the cells and nerves inside your tooth, which leads to the sensitivity that one experiences.

2. Pain in Your Teeth

Continuous toothaches are another one of the most common signs of cavity.

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You might experience sharp pain in your teeth suddenly or as a result of eating something. It will be difficult to chew food. Putting any type of light pressure on your teeth will cause extreme irritation. Even brushing and flossing will be a difficult task every day.

These pains are a result of the enamel loss resulting in exposed dentine which is connected with the nerves.

3. Sensitivity to Sweets

Having hot and cold food causes the most common sensitivities while having cavities. However, having lingering sensitivity to sweets is also one of the common symptoms of cavity that we often fail to acknowledge.

The founder of New York General Dentistry, Dr. Inna Chern says that sensitivity to sugary drinks and sweets is another sign of tooth decay.

4. Dark Spots and Staining on Tooth Enamel

At the first stages of tooth decay, you might not notice dark spots on the tooth’s surface. Generally, the stains appear white at first. However, when the tooth decay continues, the spots slowly become dark and at the final stage, the whole teeth become brown.

The staining can be of any color like brown-black or white and appears on the surface of the teeth. When there is a white line on our teeth, one may ignore it, but it is potentially one of the initial signs of cavity.

5. Holes in Your Tooth

Cavity generally starts with a white spot as we have discussed before. These white spots slowly become darker and eventually form a hole. You will be able to see this hole in the mirror or feel it while you run your tongue over it.

If you have a hole present in between your teeth or crevices, you won’t be able to feel it or see it. You will only feel pain or sensitivity in that area.

If you happen to notice a hole in your teeth, it’s one of the major signs of cavity. In such a case you need to immediately see your doctor.

6. Bad Breath and Unpleasant Taste

Bacteria buildup is the main cause of cavities in our teethWhilele living in the tee, these bacteria produce waste, which causes bad breath and a bad lingering taste in the mouth.

If you notice that you are having an unpleasant bad breath even after brushing your teeth, then it is one of the major signs of cavity and tooth decay. Visit a dentist as soon as possible then.

7. Bleeding or Swollen Gums

Suppose the cavity is formed near the gum line. It greatly impacts the surrounding tissues. This is also another very common sign of cavity.

The acid and the bacteria slowly start to attack your gums leading to swollen or bleeding gums. You will experience bleeding gums and pain, especially during brushing or flossing.

Bleeding gums, however, is not always necessarily a sign of cavity; it might also mean you have gingivitis, a type of gum disease.

In either of the cases, you should immediately see a doctor.

NOTE: There might be instances where you will not notice any signs of cavity. If the size of the tooth cavity is small, you will not notice it until you go for a dental check-up. So it’s better to go for a regular dental check-up monthly to detect the earliest stages of cavities and prevent further damage.

D. How to Prevent Cavities?

Maintaining good dental hygiene is the initial step to fight against the signs of cavity. If cavities are left untreated they can cause a lot of harm to your oral health. Thus cavity prevention is a necessity.

Following are some of the best ways to protect your teeth from cavity symptoms and tooth decay.

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1. Regular dental check-ups every six months for cleanings or exams will help with cavity treatment and to avoids the risks of cavities.

2. Fluoride toothpaste fights best against cavities. So brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste helps prevent tooth decay. Flossing is as important as brushing your teeth. If you skip flossing, your teeth you might leave debris of food in between your teeth which will later cause plaque and cavities. The American dental association revealed that flossing after brushing your teeth is necessary 3. Maintain a regular flossing routine.

4. Keep your mouth hydrated by drinking water throughout the day. This will help in rinsing your teeth and boost saliva flow.

5. It is necessary to cut back on sugary drinks like sodas and juices on a regular basis. Sugary drinks are the main contributor to signs of cavity and can even cause tooth loss.

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6. Ask your dentist to help you with preventive products if you are cavity-prone. Your dentist might prescribe you high-fluoride toothpaste and fluoride mouthwashes to avoid signs of cavity. The cavity starts small initially, with white stains, but it slowly causes tooth decay and other serious problems.

You must not allow the cavity to grow and take a bigger form. If you notice any signs of cavity, like tooth sensitivity to hot and cold foods, pain, discoloration, or holes in your teeth, see a dentist immediately.

Getting a dental check-up every 6 months is best to avoid tooth decay along with cavities. Try taking care of your teeth at home by avoiding certain foods that lead to the formation of plaque. Also, do not forget to brush and floss every day and follow other oral hygiene measures.

Our content is medically reviewed periodically by professionals for accuracy and relevance. We pride ourselves on our high-quality content and strive towards offering expertise while being authoritative. Our reviewers include doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, and even medical students. -----------------------------------

Any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.


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