What is a Cavity?
Cavities are holes in teeth that can grow bigger and deeper over time. They are also named as ‘dental caries’ and ‘tooth decay’. These are a kind of permanent damage to the internal hard area of your teeth and are characterized by black and dark brown spots or pits on surface of teeth. If not treated they can lead to severe toothache, tooth infection and tooth loss.
What causes Cavity?
Our mouth is the residence of a number of bacteria some of which are good for oral health but the others are detrimental, and can cause cavities and other medical conditions.
When you eat sweets and sugary substances and don’t pay heed to clean your teeth properly, a greasy layer of plaque is formed on the surface of tooth. Plaque forms when bacteria in your mouth get mixed with sugary or starchy food. These bacteria proliferate in plaque and convert the sugars (in mouth) into acid which in turn cause a potential damage to enamel (upper protective layer of tooth) and penetrates deep into the dentin which is an inner layer of tooth made up of hard tissues.
Frequently eating foods that tend to cling to your teeth heavily increases your risk of a cavity. This kind of food includes
- Ice cream
- Chocolate, cake, brownie, cookie
- Gelatin candy
- Dried fruits
Proven ways to tell if you have a cavity
1. Persisting sensitivity to sweets
If you feel sensitivity towards sweets and sugary drinks, it’s a sign that you have a cavity in your teeth. This is because of the bacteria present in your mouth which convert sugar into acid which damages the enamel of your teeth leading to tooth decay (activity).
2. Sensitivity to hot and cold
Similar to the sensitivity towards sweet, when you feel discomfort in teeth after eating hot or cold food points towards the start of cavity.
When the enamel wears away it badly affects dentin which is the inner hard layer made up of tissues. When dentin is not protected hot and cold food causes a stimulation in nerves which in turn produces the sensitivity you feel.
Even slight pain in teeth and gums must not be ignored for it can be a predisposition of cavity. In fact toothache is the most common symptom of cavity. Toothache occurs suddenly or you may feel pain and pressure while eating, when you chew food.
4. Stains on tooth
Stains are white spots that appear on the surface of teeth. These stains may get darker with worsening of cavity. Most common stains caused by cavity are brown and black.
5. A hole in your tooth
If stains get worsen, you will end up with a pit in your tooth. The holes or pits may reside in between the teeth or between teeth and gums. You can see it in mirror and may feel it when you run your tongue on teeth. It is a clear indication of cavity in your mouth so you should go and get an appointment with a dentist.
6. Medical diagnosis
Your dentist can detect a cavity by asking you questions about your oral health, probing your teeth through dental instruments and examining the dental x-ray for determining the extent of cavity.
Preventing tooth decay is one of the most important ways to keep your teeth in good condition and to prevent other oral health complications. Moreover, healthy teeth are key to our overall health as well as healthy and beautiful teeth represent an attractive personality. Therefore, we should maintain good oral health by brushing and flossing our teeth regularly after eating and drinking so that the plaque cannot be formed.