10 Common Symptoms of Tooth Decay

July 7, 2021

Man with aching teeth and brush on grey backgroundStaying healthy isn’t just about eating right and exercising. Oral health is a core component of overall health that sometimes gets overlooked. Poor oral hygiene causes tooth decay and gum disease, which can lead to serious consequences for your overall health. In adults, tooth decay can lead to tooth loss, infection, and even put the brain or heart at risk.

In addition to regular brushing and flossing, stay on the lookout for these ten common symptoms of tooth decay:

1. Decay/Cavities. Caused by acid production released when mouth bacteria breaks down leftover foods and sugars, cavities are uncomfortable, unsightly, and the most recognizable sign of tooth decay.

2. General Pain & Discomfort. Tooth decay can lead to pain, discomfort, and swelling of the mouth, face, or neck. The pain may be sharp and sudden or a dull long-lasting ache. Either way, dental pain is usually a symptom of a deeper root cause like gum disease or tooth decay.

3. Sensitivity to Temperature. As decay eats away at layers of the tooth, dentin in the tooth—more sensitive and porous than enamel—can become exposed causing sensitivity to temperature. If you feel a sudden shock of pain when eating ice cream or taking a sip of hot soup, a cavity could be the culprit.

4. Sensitivity to Sweets. As with extreme temperatures, tooth decay can also cause sensitivity to sweets.

5. Discoloration. Tooth decay causes dark spots to form on the surface of the teeth as a cavity grows. This discoloration is often mistaken for common staining caused by coffee, tea, or smoking. Inspect teeth regularly to spot early discoloration changes.

6. Gum Inflammation. The soft tissues of the gums can quickly become impacted by tooth decay, especially when cavities form near the gum line. If you experience signs of gingivitis, such as bleeding or swelling gums, it’s time to check in with your dentist.

7. Infection. As decay persists, the tooth itself may become infected. Infections can lead to dangerous pus-filled abscesses that cause swelling, pain, fever, and even damage to vital organs.

8. Bad Breath. The bacteria that causes cavities produces acidic waste as it eats away at leftover food and plaque. This acid changes the mouth’s pH levels, causing bad breath that may become persistent, even after brushing and flossing.

9. Unpleasant Taste. The acidity changes that cause bad breath can also cause a lasting unpleasant taste that lingers on your tongue. If there’s a bad taste in your mouth that brushing and flossing won’t get rid of, then tooth decay may be to blame.

10. No Symptoms. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to spot tooth decay without the presentation of physical symptoms. Some cavities are only spotted during dental cleanings or x-rays. 

Prevent Tooth Decay With Regular Dentist Visits

Keep your body in tip-top shape by staying proactive about your dental health. Here to answer all of your questions, 38th Modern Dental is committed to repairing and preventing tooth decay.

Schedule an appointment with a trusted dental professional today. It’s time to start your journey to better health