Did you know that more than 1 in 4 U.S. adults — 26 percent — have untreated dental cavities, according to oral health data gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? This is a problem because cavities are not only unpleasant to deal with, but they’re also incredibly painful and expensive to treat.

One of the easiest things to prevent cavities is to pay attention to your oral hygiene. When you notice that you’re gumming has become sore, usually a toothache will soon follow.

If you want to get ahead of any potential problems, it’s best to know what signs of a cavity are so you can prevent them from progressing.

Keep reading to learn all about the symptoms of a cavity.

Early Warning Signs of Cavity Development


Signs of a cavity can range from mild to severe. They can occur at any age but are more common in children. Cavities are formed by the action of acids that are produced by certain bacteria in the mouth.

But what are the signs of a cavity? Here are some:

Pain While Eating or Drinking

This occurs when teeth decay becomes so advanced that the bacteria present start to cause damage to the nerves and tissue located below the enamel. Pain related to a cavity often goes beyond simply mild sensitivity and can become quite intense as the decay worsens.

In extreme cases, the decay can reach the pulp of the tooth and cause pain even when nothing is touching the tooth. Additionally, in many cases, the sensation of pain or sensitivity caused by a cavity can worsen or come and go throughout the day.

Tooth Discoloration

Over time and due to various environmental factors, the protective enamel of the tooth can begin to break down, which leads to tooth discoloration. The enamel on the tooth turns from the traditional white shade to a yellow or brown color, or may even have a mouthful of spots.

Furthermore, certain habits such as smoking, certain foods and drinks with dyes, and too much fluoride can also easily contribute to tooth discoloration. As bacteria accumulate in the enamel it causes a weakened structure that can no longer provide protection and results in tooth discoloration.

Sensitivity to Cold and Hot

When a person touches something cold, like an ice cream cone, for instance, the tooth may become sensitive and cause the individual to feel extreme discomfort. It can be said that this type of sensitivity is due to the nerve endings being exposed and the openings that occur in the enamel due to dental cavities.

Heat also causes sensitivity in the same manner as cold does. To help with the pain and discomfort, many people opt for filling, which is done by a dentist to close off the cavities and help protect the tooth from further damage.

Holes or Pits in the Tooth


These holes may feel rough to the touch and may appear more yellow or white in contrast to the rest of the tooth surface. People may notice a small pit such as a dimple on the surface of their teeth.

These are signs that cavities are beginning to form in the deeper layers of the enamel. This can also be accompanied by bacteria that cause issues such as cavities, gum disease, and other oral health problems.

Bad Breath

Bad breath can occur due to several reasons, including food particles stuck in the teeth, bacteria build-up, or a dental abscess. Signs of a cavity may also be accompanied by a foul taste in the mouth. If the infection is not taken care of in time, it can lead to permanent damage to the teeth and gums.

Gum Inflammation

The gums may become red, tender, and swollen around the area of the cavity. They may also recede, exposing more of the tooth roots. The gums may become irritated and bleed when brushing the teeth or flossing. If a cavity is left untreated, the gums around the affected tooth may become infected.

Understanding the Locations of Common Cavity Occurrences

Typically, cavities occur on the back molars and in between teeth because these areas can be challenging to keep clean. Plaque, which is a sticky substance composed of bacteria and food particles, tends to accumulate in these places, creating an acidic environment that can lead to cavities.

Additionally, an individual’s naturally acidic saliva can contribute to cavity formation. Therefore, it is important to brush and floss regularly to remove plaque, minimize exposure to sugary and sticky snacks, and use good quality mouthwash to freshen breath and control bacterial populations in the mouth.

Tips for Cavity Prevention and Treatment

Cavities are an unfortunate but common result of dental decay. The best way to prevent a cavity is to practice good oral hygiene, which includes daily brushing and flossing and biannual checkups with a general dentist. Proper dental care helps to remove plaque and bacteria and prevent the formation of tooth cavities.

Dental implant vs Crown

If a cavity has already developed, a general dentist can provide treatment to restore the tooth. Fillings, crowns, and root canals are some of the treatments a dentist may recommend. In some cases, a person may benefit from a fluoride treatment or dental sealants, both of which prevent plaque from forming.

Regular checkups and cleanings can help to detect cavities early on before they become a larger issue. Taking good care of one’s teeth and seeking out general dentistry services at least twice a year is essential to maintaining the health of teeth and gums.

Be Aware of the Signs of a Cavity and Know How to Get Rid of Them

A cavity is a sign of weakened tooth enamel, which can lead to further tooth decay and possible tooth loss. It’s important to keep up with regular dental visits and good oral hygiene practices to prevent cavities and serious dental issues. If you’re experiencing any signs of a cavity, visit your dentist right away and get the dental treatment you need to keep your teeth healthy and strong.

For more information on other topics, explore the rest of this blog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like