Beyond the Black Spots: Less Obvious Signs that You May Have a Cavity
Many of us know cavities for their cartoon representations– big, dark holes in otherwise pearly white teeth. However, a cavity can be present long before dark spots become noticeable on the teeth. And, though cavities are often painful, other symptoms can also indicate the presence of tooth decay.
Don’t wait until a cavity is obvious. If you notice any of these early warning signs, head to your dentist to get your teeth checked:
Tooth sensitivity is often a precursor to the pain associated with cavities. Sensitivity comes in a variety of forms- you may notice tingling or discomfort in your teeth when they touch cold drinks, or hot foods. Sweet foods may also trigger sensitivity. If you notice your teeth or your child’s teeth have become more sensitive lately, head to a family dentist. Even if you don’t have a cavity, a dental professional can recommend ways to manage tooth sensitivity.
Plaque and bacteria buildup cause cavities to form, and they also have other unpleasant side effects, including halitosis. Morning breath is normal, but if you have stinky breath that doesn’t go away with brushing and rinsing, you might have a cavity.
A Lingering Foul Taste
Bad breath sometimes comes along with a bad taste in your mouth. A bad taste might be bitter, metallic, sickly sweet, or just plain foul. If an unpleasant taste won’t go away no matter what you eat, or how often you brush, you may have an infected tooth.
White Stains on the Teeth
Though cavities are most often identified as black or brown stains on the teeth, early cavities actually form a white film on the teeth, which makes noticing them difficult. The white discoloration often does not match the color of the tooth, and it commonly appears in a cavity-prone location, like between teeth or at the top of a molar.
Pain when Biting Down
Finally, any kind of tooth pain should be addressed by a dental professional. If you’re experiencing pain when you bite down on food, or even when you bite down with nothing in your mouth, it may be time to schedule an appointment with your dentist.
According to a survey conducted by the AACD, almost every adult (99.7%) believes a healthy smile is socially important. Protect your oral health and your relationships by learning these cavity warning signs. Or, for even better cavity protection, see your dentist twice a year. A dental professional will be able to recognize cavities before you can, ensuring that your smile stays healthy and pain-free!