How to tell if you have a cavity

If you feel intense toothache when you eat hot food, or feast on some ice-cream, you may have a cavity in one or more of your teeth. You better act fast, though. Cavities have a tendency to spread and wreak havoc!


What is a cavity?

By definition, the word ‘cavity’ means ‘hole’. If you have a cavity, you have a small hole in the hard, outer layer of your tooth called the enamel and then it’s time to go to the dentist.

How do I Know if I have a cavity?

Tooth sensitivity, bad breath, cracked or chipped teeth or even black or brown spots on the teeth are all signs or a cavity. Dirksen Dentistry says: “Sometimes a dark spot can just be a natural stain. If the spot is sticky, this could mean that it’s a growing cavity. If you have a slight pain when you’re eating, check for holes. A hole in your tooth is most likely a sign that the bacteria in your mouth have created a cavity. If your dark spots or holes are visible on your tooth, this means the cavity has gone untreated for a while and you should see a dentist right away.”

Also called tooth decay or caries, cavities are caused by bacteria in your mouth, frequent snacking, sipping sugary drinks and not cleaning your teeth well. And smokers will be even more prone to cavities if they do not rinse their mouths thoroughly after each cigarette.

How do I prevent cavities from happening?

The best way to prevent cavities is to promote good oral hygiene.

Brush your teeth for a minute at a time at least twice a day. Also, try to stick to a daily flossing regimen.

Carry a travel-sized bottle of mouth wash in your handbag for when it isn’t convenient to brush or floss after meals.

Drink lots of water. Water helps wash out extra food residue and, as opposed to sugary drinks, doesn’t add more cavity-producing sugar. Some tap water also contains fluoride, which helps strengthen teeth against cavities, Derksen Dentistry continues.

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