A recent survey of Australian adults found that 90% of adults suffer from tooth decay. This is partly because they don't brush their teeth enough. Even missing just one brushing session a day gives tooth decay–causing bacteria hours to multiply and spread throughout your mouth. But as they spread, they damage your teeth and gums. However, the damage isn't always visible.
If you think that you might have hidden tooth decay somewhere in your mouth, look for the following indications. Tooth decay isn't always visible, at least at first.
1. Pain When Eating Sugary Foods
Even if you can't always see tooth decay, you can probably feel it at times. One way that you might feel tooth decay is when a decaying tooth encounters sugary foods, like candy. This occurs because sugar is an irritant that can penetrate the weakened outer layer of a tooth. Once past the hard enamel shell on the outside, the sugar passes through the dentin and irritates the nerve.
As you chew on candies or drink soft drinks, pain indicates that you likely have a cavity somewhere in your mouth.
2. Pain When Drinking Hot or Cold Drinks
The nerve in the centre of each tooth helps teeth to feel. Feeling is important because it ensures that you know how much pressure to exert while chewing your food. You also know if your teeth have a problem as the nerve sends pain signals to your brain. Temperature is one sensation that teeth can feel. But under normal circumstances, temperatures shouldn't hurt.
If hot and cold temperatures are causing you tooth pain, then one of your teeth likely has tooth decay.
3. Pain When Biting Down
If, while eating, you experience pain when chewing or biting into something, this could mean advanced tooth decay. In other words, the tooth decay has penetrated the enamel layer and is now inside the tooth. At this point, only the porous dentin layer protects the nerve, and it is very weak in terms of defending against tooth decay.
4. Bad Breath
Bacteria are the main cause of tooth decay. If you allow bacteria to flourish in your mouth because you continue to skip brushing sessions, tooth decay will eventually result. Oral bacteria damage enamel by ingesting the simple sugars you eat and then releasing a damaging acidic compound that eats into your teeth. Bacteria also give off a smelly odour that causes your breath to stink.
If your breath is smelling worse than usual, bacteria are to blame. You should check your teeth for visible signs of decay.
Even if you can't see any visible signs of tooth decay, if you experience any of the above symptoms, you might have tooth decay. You should visit your dentist to make sure your teeth are in good condition.