Tooth decay happens when bacteria and germs in your mouth create acids that feed on teeth. This leads to a single or multiple holes in the tooth, also known as cavities. Untreated tooth decay can cause severe pain, infection and ultimately the loss of the infected tooth.
A tooth is comprised of three layers – the outer layer or enamel, the middle layer or dentin, and the center layer or pulp where nerves and blood vessels are present. When tooth decay occurs, it damages one or more layers of the tooth. A common cause of tooth decay is not maintaining proper oral hygiene on a regular basis. Food causes bacteria to build up between your teeth and patients experience widespread pain including fatigue, intense muscle, aching, and stiffness in the mouth which is a clear indication of the presence of tooth decay. Overtime, the acids produced by bacteria destroy tooth enamel and its corresponding inner layers worsening the situation.
In a nutshell, common symptoms associated with tooth decay, cavity or infected teeth are as follows:
Toothaches from the infected tooth is the inflammation of the pulp, the central layer of the tooth. Since the pulp contains nerve endings, any damage to it causes pain due to its sensitivity.
When swelling happens in the gums, teeth will be sore to touch. This is a common symptom found in patients with decaying teeth. It can also be a sign of an abscessed tooth. If the gums are swollen, they may bulge out or protrude. The swelling becomes obvious where the tooth meets the gum. The tooth may get hidden due to the swollen gums or the gums may appear red or black instead of normal pink.
3. Bad breath
Another symptom of tooth decay is having bad odor in the mouth. The bad smell is caused by waste that the bacteria release in the mouth as well as decaying food particles and poor oral hygiene. The debris produce sulfur compounds that creates an unpleasant smell or bad breath.
4. Gray, brown, white or black spots on the tooth
Black or brown areas with or without pain can also be a sign of tooth decay. They may appear as superficial just like tea or coffee stains or be obvious on the tooth.
5. Unpleasant taste in the mouth
Apart from tooth decay, any infection in the mouth can also cause a bad taste. If the tooth decay is accompanied by pus in the gums, you may get bad taste from that. The problem here is tooth decay may go unnoticed if there is no pain associated with the gum or tooth in the presence of unpleasant taste. So you can have this condition for quite a while before the bacteria invades the inner tooth layer.
It ‘s important to consult a dentist when you have tooth decay even if you are feeling better. A good number of people with tooth decay end up losing their teeth if they fail to get treatment. Don’t let that happen to you.