7 Ways to Identify a Cavity

Cavities occur when the enamel on a tooth or teeth is damaged. Bacteria that resides in our mouths reacts with sugar and starch from food we eat, forming plaque. As plaque sticks onto teeth, its acid consumes the enamel, forming a cavity or hole around its surface. Early detection of cavities can help save the condition of your teeth, so follow these steps and visit your dentist pronto.

#1: Look in the mirror and take a look at your teeth. A noticeable sign of a cavity is a visible hole on the surface of your tooth. Common places for such holes are the center of molars and premolars, or on the sides of the incisors.

#2: Observe existing discolorations. If you notice a filmy patch that is much whiter than the tooth itself, it is a sign of existing plaque consuming enamel. If you see yellow or brown colored teeth, the outer covering of the tooth is starting to break down. Gray or black spots mean the enamel is already damaged, and a visit to your dentist is necessary for treatment.

#3: How often do you experience a toothache? This is the most common symptom of tooth decay or cavity. If the bacterial acid reaches the inside of a tooth, it will affect its nerve endings, meaning pain and discomfort.

#4: If you find that you have constant bad breath, even after brushing your teeth, it may indicate decay. Bad breath, or halitosis, may also be accompanied by a foul taste in your mouth.

#5: Take note of teeth sensitivity. When a person has one or more cavities, his or her teeth are more sensitive than usual. Sipping hot coffee or ice water, consuming sweet foods, and even brushing your teeth may cause pain.

#6: If you have any fillings, check to see if they are loose. Healthy teeth will not easily break down, so if you see the surface of a tooth starting to crumble, it is a clear sign of a cavity.

#7: If you see pus around a tooth, you have an infection and should see your dentist immediately. Don't ever try to touch the infected area; leave the treatment to a professional to prevent further damage.

If after following these steps you suspect you have a cavity, schedule an appointment as soon as possible so it can be treated before further complications arise.


Courtesy of eHow


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