3 tooth decay warning signs you shouldn’t ignore

woman holding her jaw in pain

Tooth decay can happen to the best of us, and there are several telltale signs that let you know a problem is developing. Some are obvious, while others may be harder to spot. Tooth decay has a way of getting worse the longer you ignore it, so keep an eye out for these three common indicators.

  1. Increased sensitivity – Some people have naturally sensitive teeth, but if you notice that one or more of your teeth has become increasingly sensitive of late, this may be a sign of tooth decay. According to the Mayo Clinic, sensitivity—particularly to heat and cold—is among the most common symptoms of cavities or tooth decay. If you experience pain when consuming cold food and drink, such as ice cream or iced soft drinks, it’s wise to see a dentist right away. In many cases, tooth decay can also cause an increased sensitivity to sugar.
  2. New gaps between teeth – Cavities can form in-between teeth, where they frequently go unseen. When cavities cause gaps in the middle of molars in particular, you may notice that food more often gets stuck in the space separating your teeth. As the Health Site pointed out, you may also notice that floss becomes frayed more easily between teeth where decay is occurring.
  3. Bad breath or a foul taste in your mouth – Speaking to LiveScience.com, Dr. Margaret Culotta-Norton, a dentist in Washington, D.C., noted that bad breath and an unpleasant taste in your mouth are common tooth decay symptoms. While bad breath can have several causes, cavities are perfect breeding grounds for bacteria that lead to foul breath. Food particles stuck in a cavity can also result in these symptoms.

For some, good oral hygiene and regular visits to a dentist are enough to stave off tooth decay. Genetics, diet and your regular dental care routine all play a role in how susceptible your teeth are to decay. No matter what, it’s important to be able to identify the warning signs so you can put an end to the problem before it gets worse.