Tooth decay is one of the top reasons for people to seek dental care. Tooth decay is a problem that most people associate with candy-gobbling children, but it affects all age groups. When bacteria on the teeth erode enamel, the teeth begin to rot.
Common symptoms are shared by sufferers, but the signs can be more or less noticeable, depending on the severity of the decay.
The first symptom to present itself is tooth discoloration. Spots that range in color from white-to-black can be seen early in the development of tooth decay. The tarnished area grows larger the longer the condition goes untreated. While it can be difficult for the afflicted to see the discoloration, a routine dental examination is likely to discover the spots.
Tooth decay often brings toothaches. This pain occurs because the sensitive area, or dentin, inside the tooth is attacked by bacteria. Some people catch their tooth decay early enough that the pain is very mild or not even present.
A toothache only develops after the bacteria has eaten through the enamel and into the dentin, which may take a long time. It is in advanced cases that the toothache is more prominent.
Rotten things give off a bad odor and decaying teeth are not excluded. The afflicted may begin to have foul breath. There is also a chance that their mouth will have an unpleasant flavor. Proper oral hygiene can reduce the smell until the tooth can be treated.
Increased sensitivity is another common symptom. Temperature changes, like drinking a hot or cold beverage, can cause an uncomfortable or painful sensation in patients with tooth decay. Sugar may also be a sensitivity-trigger. In patients with severe tooth decay, the tooth can become noticeably softer.
If teeth are allowed to remain infected for long periods of time, abscesses are likely to form. Sensitivity and pain increase if an abscess is present. The patient may become feverish and complain of a sore neck or jaw. Abscess can cause other serious problems, so they should be treated swiftly.
Tooth decay is rampant in the mouths of humans. Despite how widespread it is, it is very easy to prevent. A good dental regimen can prevent most tooth decay and the unfortunate symptoms that come with it.