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The health of your teeth can have a huge impact on your overall health. As such, it is important to prevent tooth decay to maintain your oral health and inhibit other complications. According to the CDC, close to 30 percent of adults in the U.S. have untreated dental cavities.
Left unaddressed, this problem can destroy your teeth. It can also lead to more serious health issues. Thus, you need to recognize the signs of tooth decay as soon as possible and seek treatment.
Dental plaque turns sugars in your mouth into acid, which can easily damage your teeth and lead to tooth decay. If you allow dental plaque to build up, it can cause problems such as dental cavities and gum disease. Consequently, dental abscesses may develop at the end of your teeth or in your gums.
Essentially, tooth decay leads to the destruction of tooth enamel. As the problem progresses, it attacks the deeper layers of your tooth, leading to cavities. A tooth consists of three layers. Enamel is the hard outer layer that protects its inner layers. According to the American Dental Association, it is the hardest structure in the body and contains no living cells.
The second layer of a tooth is dentin. Damage or erosion of the tooth enamel exposes the dentin, which contains small tubes within it. These tubes allow cold and hot food to stimulate the tooth’s nerves. Stimulation of these nerves can cause sensitivity and/or pain in the tooth. The third layer of a tooth is the pulp, which contains connective tissue, nerves, and blood vessels.
Damage from this dental condition can occur in varying degrees of severity. It can range from wear to the enamel to abscesses within the pulp. Some of the common symptoms of tooth decay include:
Do you experience lingering tooth sensitivity after consuming cold or hot food/drinks? If you do, you may have a cavity. When you lack enough enamel on your tooth to protect your dentin, foods or drinks that are cold, hot, acidic, or sticky can stimulate the nerves and cells inside your tooth, thereby causing sensitivity.
Ongoing pain in one or more of your teeth can indicate tooth decay. Pain is one of the most common symptoms of tooth decay. Sometimes, you may experience sudden pain. You may also experience pain after eating/drinking something. Toothache includes discomfort and pain around and in your mouth. You may also feel pressure and pain whenever you bite down.
Stains on your teeth may first look like white spots. But as the problem worsens, the stains will gradually darken. Staining caused by dental cavities can be white, brown, or black. Usually, it appears on the surface of teeth.
If you think you have a possible cavity, you should request an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. If you experience sensitivity that lingers, ask your dentist to assess the problematic area of your mouth. This is especially important if the sensitivity lasts for more than one or two days. Staining on your teeth and a persistent toothache are other reasons to visit your dentist.
To learn more about tooth decay, visit Bronxville Family Dental at our office in Bronxville, New York. You can call 914-935-7600 today to schedule an appointment.