Tooth decay – something that nobody wants to hear about. But unfortunately, it is something that over 2 billion people worldwide suffer with.
When plaque starts to build up on the teeth, it can cause holes – known as dental caries – as well as gum disease and dental abscesses. These holes are the result of tooth decay, the literal breakdown of your tooth matter, which can even lead to rotting teeth. Tooth decay is preventable, and treatable if caught early enough, so it’s important to keep your teeth cleaning regime up and be observant of any changes in your oral health. Here we will take a look at some of the most common signs of tooth decay, and the best ways to prevent decay in the first place.
The most obvious sign of a problem with your teeth is pain. If your teeth are hurting, it’s a good indication that something isn’t right. This can be a hot, throbbing pain, to sharp, stabbing pain. It can occur when you chew or bite or for no reason at all. Regardless of whether you think you may be suffering from tooth decay, the pain of any form should be seen by your dentist as soon as possible.
2. Dark spots on the teeth
The holes created by decay, known as dental caries, can create dark spots on the teeth if they become large enough. These will often be brown, grey or even black, as the materials of the teeth begin to break down and essentially rot away. Bacteria can begin to collect within these holes, accelerating the decay process and causing further damage.
If you wince at the thought of brushing your teeth, drinking cold water or having a hot meal, it may be tooth decay. Tooth sensitivity is a fairly common symptom of a lot of tooth issues – not just tooth decay – but it’s important to have it checked out as soon as you notice this. If it isn’t related to decay, your dentist can suggest specially designed products to help remove some of the sensitivity, so you can resume normal life as quickly as possible.
4. Bad taste
Some people describe it as the taste of copper or metal, and others say it is a bitter taste. Either way, if you have a nasty taste in your mouth that you can’t remove with a good brush, it could be tooth decay. Any bad taste that isn’t directly caused by food or drinks you’ve recently consumed should be checked out by your dentist, as aside from decay it could also be a symptom of mouth infection or abscess.
5. Unpleasant breath
As your tooth matter breaks down and begins to rot, it will give off an unpleasant smell which you won’t be able to remove with brushing your teeth and tongue. This is often accompanied by the bad taste that was mentioned earlier – as the two go hand in hand.
The best way to prevent tooth decay is by keeping up a good tooth care routine, consisting of effective brushing twice per day and regular dentist visits. It’s recommended that you visit your dentist for a dental exam at least once every 6 months, and you can boost your oral health with visits to a dental hygienist, who can help to remove any stubborn plaque. During your dental exams, your dentist may suggest an x-ray, which can also help them to spot internal decay that isn’t visible to the naked eye. Spotting decay early means that it can be slowed and treated effectively, so it’s worth taking up your dentist’s advice and having x-rays when suggested.
At Oradent Dental Care, we can even offer a private dental exam for only a few pounds more than a basic NHS appointment, with added extras and a longer appointment time. To get booked in, contact your local Oradent Dental Care practise today, where we would be happy to help put any tooth concerns to rest.