According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, over 90% of adults (from age 20 to 64) experience at least one cavity in their lifetime. However, cavities (and tooth decay, for that matter) are completely preventable so long as you’re practicing preventive dentistry. If tooth decay begins to develop, the best thing you can do to prevent a cavity from forming is to visit your dentist. But, in order to do that – you must first know the warning signs of tooth decay, right? Right – otherwise, you may not know when to visit your dentist! So, what are they?
Signs Of Tooth Decay
Sometimes, you may be able to visibly notice spots on your teeth that are white, brown, or even black. However, in most cases – tooth decay won’t present with many symptoms until it’s already formed a cavity. So, it’s important to keep a close eye on your teeth when you’re brushing and flossing, and of course – don’t forget to regularly visit your dentist.
The most common symptoms when it comes to cavities are; tooth pain and sensitivity (especially to cold/hot temperatures and pressure).
What Causes Tooth Decay?
Tooth decay is an infection that forms when bacteria around your mouth meets sugars and starches. When this occurs, an acid is formed that can then begin to damage your tooth enamel and make it’s way to the inner structure of your tooth. Once it’s reached the inner layers, known as dentin, cavities (holes) begin to form.
How Does Your Dentist Detect Tooth Decay?
At your regular cleaning and checkup appointments, your dentist will visually examine your mouth and surrounding areas. They may also recommend x-ray images or use a laser, known as DIAGNOdent, to search for any demineralization (caused from tooth decay). This is how they’re able to catch the infection in its earliest stages and hopefully reverse it entirely!