Maybe you are the type of person that knows you have been taking care of your teeth properly and you just “know” you probably don’t have a cavity. Well, you may be right, but what if you are wrong?
Here are some things to look out for that might indicate a cavity.
What Are Cavities?
Cavities are holes in your teeth. In some cases they may not exactly be a hole, cavities might look like structural damage in your teeth. So, any kind of tooth decay can be called a cavity.
How Does a Cavity Begin?
Dental cavities begin when you eat something that has a lot of sugar and carbohydrates and don’t clean your teeth properly afterwards.
Bacteria naturally grows in your mouth because it is a nice, warm and moist area. They feed on sugar or carbohydrates. If you don’t clean your mouth properly after eating sugar and carbohydrates, bacteria gets a chance to grow.
The longer you don’t clean your teeth properly after eating, the more bacteria will grow in your mouth. After bacteria eat the sugar and carbohydrates they release an acid that stays on the enamel (outer covering of your tooth) and starts dissolving it.
If you don’t clean your mouth properly, the acid will eventually weaken the enamel, making it more vulnerable to acid in the future.
Eventually, a small area in the enamel wears away and you get a cavity.
How Do Cavities Grow?
Once you have a cavity, it becomes easier for bacteria to “hide out” in the hole where you can’t reach it with your toothbrush.
As more and more bacteria collect in the cavity, it collects more and more acid created by the bacteria. This causes the cavity to grow more quickly and it gets bigger and bigger.
Causes Of Tooth Cavities
The bacteria, acids, food particles and saliva combine to form plaque. Plaque is a sticky substance in your mouth that sticks to your teeth usually just above the gum line. All this happens within just 20 minutes after eating.
If the plaque is not removed quickly, it turns into tartar. Tartar and plaque both eat away at your gums. This can develop into gingivitis or gum disease (periodontal disease).
So, cavities can be caused by acid released by bacteria, plaque or tartar.
How Do You Know If You Might Have a Cavity?
Sometimes, if you have a toothache, it might be because of a cavity. Get it checked out by a dentist, especially if the toothache continues for several days.
More often than not, cavities don’t cause a toothache in the early stages. However, as the cavity grows, eventually the decay will get to the nerves in your teeth and cause tooth pain.
If you have tooth pain because of a cavity it is likely because the cavity has developed into a tooth fracture. This can be serious. It would be a good idea to see a dentist as soon as possible.
Tooth Sensitivity Or Achiness
Sometimes your teeth will become sensitive to hot or cold foods or drinks shortly before you get a tooth fracture. Tooth sensitivity or achiness is another sign that you should not ignore. Get to the dentist right away for a checkup.
If you keep ignoring the tooth sensitivity, achiness and “a little bit of pain” in your teeth, the bacteria may reach the pulp inside your teeth. This is when your gums get infected. If you don’t treat this quickly, it may turn into a serious form of gum disease or periodontitis.
Swelling In The Mouth
Even a mild form of gum disease can cause swelling. Now is the time to see the dentist, quickly before you start losing your teeth permanently.
Watch Out For Bad Breath That Won’t Go Away
Cavities are caused by accumulating bacteria. Bacteria in the mouth has a bad smell. If you constantly have bad breath, it might be a sign of cavities, minor tooth decay or even gum disease.
If you don’t yet have tooth pain or swelling and just have bad breath, consider yourself lucky. This is your chance to catch the tooth decay in your mouth before it becomes serious.
A dentist can help you have a better social life by helping eliminate bad breath and at the same time prevent the growth of cavities.
What Happens If I Leave a Cavity Untreated?
If you leave a tooth cavity untreated you are likely to end up with serious complications.
- Ongoing tooth pain
- A tooth abscess
- Infection in the gums that could lead to life threatening complications if the infection enters the bloodstream.
- Increased risk of chipping or breaking a tooth.
- Difficulty in chewing food.
- Damage to your tooth that cannot be fixed, so the tooth will have to be pulled.
- A root canal may be needed to try to save the existing tooth. This can be very painful and expensive.
- If the tooth needs to be pulled, you will need a bridge or a dental implant. Both are relatively expensive options.
If You Leave One Cavity Untreated Does That Create A Problem?
If you have even one cavity you will have bacteria collecting in your mouth. The bacteria will spread from one tooth to another. Soon your whole mouth will be full of bacteria, creating acid that will wear down the enamel and create tooth cavities on other teeth.
You will end up plaque, tartar, gum disease or worse.
Don’t leave even one tooth cavity without treatment.
If you think you might have a cavity, see your dentist as soon as possible. Our dentists at Solar Dental will thoroughly examine your teeth and explain all the options, if treatment is needed. We provide affordable interest-free payments so you can the right treatment without compromising your health. Solar Dental has dental offices in Kitchener, Cambridge Ontario, London Ontario Esthene Centre, London Ontario Masonville.
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