Man suffering from dental pain from tooth decay

06 Jun Most Common Tooth Decay Symptoms to Look Out For

One of the most common dental issues that many people experience in their lifetimes is cavities, also known as tooth decay. Tooth decay causes damage to your teeth through bacteria that live in dental plaque, which can lead to cavities and dental abscesses and even tooth loss. And while tooth decay can be easily prevented with regular oral hygiene, cavities caused by tooth decay can still happen.

It is important to familiarize yourself with the symptoms caused by tooth decay so that you can try to catch cavities early before they cause any major problems to your teeth. We have broken down some of the most common tooth decay symptoms that you should watch for.

Woman suffering from tooth sensitivity from tooth decay

Tooth Decay Symptoms: Tooth Sensitivity

If you find yourself experiencing tooth sensitivity when eating sugary foods or drinking hot drinks, then you might have a cavity. When dental plaque, which is a sticky, colourless film, sits on your teeth for prolonged periods of time, it can begin to eat away at the enamel. This results in the dentin layer beneath the enamel being affected by the plaque, which can lead to tooth sensitivity. While the sensitivity can range from mild to intense, it is always a good idea to get it looked at by your dentist in case you have a cavity beginning to form.

Tooth Pain

While tooth decay can cause tooth sensitivity, it can also lead to tooth pain, both from eating and drinking certain foods and from pressure. Hot and cold food and drinks are often a common culprit of tooth pain for those who have cavities they might not be aware of. Certain sweet foods and drinks can also cause tooth pain. When not eating, you might also experience sharp pain in your tooth when biting down or applying pressure to the tooth, which can also be an indicator of tooth decay.

Child getting dental exam to check for cavities

Visible Pits in Teeth

Cavities often start out very small, but if left untreated for long enough, they can grow large enough that you may be able to see visible holes or pits in your tooth. These tiny holes, dents, or pits in your teeth will appear where the tooth decay is occurring, so if you notice anything out of the ordinary, it’s always a good idea to get it looked at by your dentist. Tooth decay can also cause discoloration to your teeth and can appear as either bright white, brown, or black spots or stains on your teeth.

Young woman with toothache

Bad Breath

The dental plaque that settles on your teeth and causes tooth decay is made up of a number of different things, such as bacteria, saliva, and food particles. Once a cavity forms, it becomes a breeding ground for even more bacteria, which then feed on the food and drinks that you consume. Because of this, you might notice that you have persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth. If you notice that your breath is stinkier than normal, it might be an indication that you have a cavity, and you should make an appointment with your dentist to get it looked at.

No one likes having cavities, and while they can be prevented with good, regular oral care, they can still develop from time to time. Educating yourself about the different common symptoms of tooth decay is a great way to be proactive with your dental hygiene and can help stop small cavities before they have a chance to cause major damage to your teeth!



Are you experiencing one of the symptoms listed above and think you might have a cavity? We can help! Contact us today to book an appointment with one of our experienced dentists!