Cavities and tooth decay are among the world’s most common health problems. They’re especially common in children, teenagers and older adults. But anyone who has teeth can get cavities, including infants.
We hear it a lot but what exactly are cavities? Cavities are permanently damaged areas in the hard surface of your teeth that develop into tiny openings or holes. They are caused by a combination of factors, including poor brushing and flossing habits and frequent sugary snacks/drinks.
If cavities aren’t treated, they get larger and affect deeper layers of your teeth. They can lead to a severe toothache, infection and tooth loss. Regular dental visits and good brushing and flossing habits are your best protection against cavities and tooth decay.
The signs and symptoms of cavities vary, depending on their extent and location. When a cavity is just beginning, you may not have any symptoms at all. As the decay gets larger, it may cause signs and symptoms such as:
- Toothache, spontaneous pain or pain that occurs without any apparent cause
- Tooth sensitivity
- Mild to sharp pain when eating or drinking something sweet, hot or cold
- Visible holes or pits in your teeth
- Brown, black or white staining on any surface of a tooth
- Pain when you bite down
You may not be aware that a cavity is forming. That’s why it’s important to have regular dental checkups and cleanings, even when your mouth feels fine. At a dental visit, your dentist will examine your teeth and note any signs of decay. X-rays may be taken to see whether the cavity would require treatment. Based on findings, the Dentist will determine the best plan of action in order to prevent the progression of the cavity and further damage.
As mentioned, the best way to keep your teeth healthy is to have good dental hygiene but what does that exactly mean? We recommend brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing regularly to remove plaque from between your teeth, and visiting the dentist routinely for a check-up and professional cleaning.