Tag Archives: tooth decay

Do I Have Tooth Decay? 5 Ways To Tell

Toothaches happen to the best of us. But signals of tooth decay can show up in other sneaky ways even before you feel pain. Knowing the signs of decay as well as understanding what a decayed tooth’s effect on your overall dental health might be are both important.

What Happens When You Have Tooth Decay?

Image via Flickr by bernardrodoms

Tooth decay is a damaged area of the tooth that shows signs on the outside of its hard surface. It’s one of the most common diseases people face, second only to the common cold. So what causes it?

Bacteria in our mouths, frequent enjoyment of sugary drinks and food, and improper teeth cleaning can all be culprits. These things alone or in combination can lead to plaque, which builds up on the teeth over time. Plaque releases an acid that breaks down the protective enamel on your teeth, and bacteria enter the tooth, causing decay. This can cause:

Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is usually the first sign, and typically shows up as tenderness in the affected area when you eat or drink something hot, cold, or sweet. A toothache can result in intolerable pain if left untreated.

Change in Color

You may also notice changes in the color of the tooth. Brown or black spots and staining in the grooves of the teeth could be a sign of tooth decay. Even white or yellow staining could signify weakening enamel.

Bad Breath

If you have bad breath even after brushing your teeth, you likely have a cavity. Although the cavity isn’t the cause of the bad breath, the food stuck inside of it can be.

Pain When Chewing

Does it hurt when you bite down? This could be another signal of tooth decay. Exposed nerves happen when a tooth is decaying and can cause pain.

Bad Taste

A bad taste in your mouth could indicate a dental infection. Bacteria that enter the weakened part of your enamel could make their way to your tooth’s nerve, causing an abscess. Although these can form asymptomatically, it’s important to treat them immediately to clear up the infection.

How the Tooth Affects Overall Mouth Health

Now that you can spot tooth decay, how can it affect your overall mouth health? The sooner you have tooth decay or a cavity treated, the less invasive your treatments will be. Likewise, getting it filled as soon as possible could stop it from spreading to the rest of your mouth. If left untreated, decaying teeth can become infected.  That infection could eventually seep into your bloodstream and become life-threatening.  Tooth decay is not something to ignore!

The Importance of Seeing a Dentist

If you see any of these signs of a cavity, don’t hesitate to schedule a dental visit to repair your tooth. Letting the tooth decay any further could be not only painful but also detrimental to your overall health. If the idea of general dentistry makes you nervous, consider sedation dentistry options to ease your mind.

Here at Carolina Family Dentistry, we make sure you feel confident and comfortable seeing a dentist to repair your tooth. We’ll also be sure to work with your schedule to set up regular preventive dental visits to preserve your mouth health.

5 of the Worst Food and Drinks for Your Teeth

Sure, brushing and flossing help get rid of all of the bacteria that sticks to your teeth after eating and drinking, but some food and drinks are way worse than others. While you should always brush and floss, here are some of the food and drinks you should try to consume in moderation to protect your teeth.

  1. Lemon, Grapefruit, and Citrus in General. Many people turn to fruits when they think about a healthy snack that has nutritional value. However, although these fruits are so packed with vitamin C, they are also extremely acidic which is bad for your enamel. We’re not saying you have to cut them out completely but maybe think twice before sipping on your water with lemon all day or snacking on fruit constantly. Also, the bacteria that cause cavities love an acidic environment! 
  2. Sour Candy. Candy is bad for your teeth; this is a known fact, but sour candy can be even more detrimental. First, many sour candies are also chewy, which can get stuck between your teeth and cause problems. Also, they can contain a higher level of acidity which makes them more hazardous to your teeth. You’re better off with a chocolate bar that you can brush away easier (lesser of two evils though!)
  3. Ice. Because water is good for your oral health, you might be inclined to think that ice is also good. Water might wash away bad bacteria and help clean out your mouth, but no one just sucks on a piece of ice. It’s the crunch that becomes a problem for your teeth because crunching on ice can cause your enamel to chip or crack. The pros of water don’t outweigh the cons of ice. 
  4. Soda. Soda makes this list for a multitude of reasons. First, the color of soda makes it a candidate to stain your teeth and make them less white. Second, the amount of sugar in a can of soda is always very high. Third, soda with carbonation makes it more likely to stick to your teeth and also dry out your mouth -especially one with caffeine (dehydration). Saliva is essential to your oral health as it naturally clears your mouth of bad bacteria. Lastly, the acidic pH is very harmful to teeth and bacteria that cause decay!
  5. Bread. You probably expected to see sour candy, soda, and maybe even ice on this list but bread? Bread made the list because of its texture. Bread can easily get stuck between your teeth. Once your saliva breaks down the starch, it turns to sugar which can increase the risk of decay. Other starchy foods like chips, crackers, and pasta, are also lumped into this category. 

We’re not suggesting that you never eat any of these foods again. We’re just suggesting that you think about eating them less often, change the WAY you eat them, and remember to brush your teeth right after consuming them. There is no cure for tooth decay but we can help you fight that battle! If you have any questions about diet changes, keeping your teeth healthy, or need to come in for a checkup exam with Dr. Banik and professional cleaning with one of our expert hygienists, contact us as soon as possible.  Don’t wait until it hurts or breaks!