6 Common Symptoms of Tooth Decay

Tooth decay or cavities is one of the most common dental ailments. Excessive sugar, frequent snacking, bacteria, inadequate fluoridation and irregular and improper cleaning of teeth and gums are among the most common causes of tooth decay. Tooth decay can significantly affect the structure of your teeth and overall oral health. An early diagnosis and treatment can prevent severe toothache, gum infection, or tooth loss. Thus, it is important to look for signs and symptoms for receiving timely treatment.

Here, we will discuss some of the common signs and symptoms of tooth decay that can help you get a timely diagnosis and prevent further damage. But let us first understand what tooth decay exactly is.

What is Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay also goes by the name dental cavities or dental caries. These cavities are tiny holes or openings. Certain food and plaque can erode the enamel of the tooth, which allows the bacteria to infect the inner dentin and cause a cavity or a hole in the tooth. These cavities do not spread to other teeth, but, if a cavity is left untreated, your tooth can become infected and this infection can spread to surrounding teeth. Moreover, the conditions that caused a cavity in one tooth certainly can develop cavities in your other teeth.

Common Symptoms Of Dental Cavities

All the sides and area of a tooth is susceptible to tooth cavities. They are most common in back teeth since it is relatively challenging to clean and maintain them. Though cavities can be detected with a regular dental checkup, a dental X-ray might be required for hard-to-spot cavities.

Now, several symptoms can hint at the cause of a cavity in one of your teeth. Here are some of the most common ones.


Toothache is probably the most common symptom of all. You may experience a sudden and throbbing ache in one or more teeth, especially whilst chewing food. Along with the pain, you may also experience unusual pressure whilst chewing or biting. In both these cases, a cavity can be the cause.

Sensitive Teeth

When the enamel on your tooth has started to erode, the hard layer of tissue, called dentin, is exposed. The dentin is more porous and hence while consuming hot or cold foods, they can stimulate the nerve cells inside the tooth and cause sensitivity. Moreover, sweets or sugary beverages can also cause lingering sensitivity. If you feel that one or two teeth feel more sensitive along with pain whenever you have hot, cold or sweet, it may be the sign of a cavity.

Visible Stains On Your Teeth

Stains on your teeth are another common symptom of tooth decay. Initially, these stains may appear as white spots, due to decalcification leaving the teeth prone to cavities. Eventually, these spots get bigger and darker, as the disease progresses. These bigger and darker spots are generally light or dark brown. More advanced decay can even lead to black stains.

Visible Pits Or Holes In Teeth

In the later stages of decay, there will be visible holes or craters on your teeth. These holes are the result of the bacteria eating into the tooth enamel. At this stage cavity filling becomes mandatory. This is high time to visit your dentist and receive the treatment. Your dentist will remove the decay and will fill the hole with the new filling.

Swollen Or Bleeding Gums

The infection of the tooth can spread to the surrounding soft tissue if the cavity is present near the gum line. As a result, your gums might bleed or swell, especially when you brush your teeth or use dental floss. There are other causes of bleeding gums as well. Your dentist is the best person to help you with the dental cause and treatment.

Bad Breath

Bacteria are the main culprits causing cavities in your teeth. When your tooth decays, it leads to the accumulation of dental plaque or bacteria and it can spread to the pulp. This dental pulp dies and as a result, emits a foul odour. If you have persistent bad breath, you might want to visit a dental clinic near you.

So, these are the most common signs of tooth decay that everyone should look out for. If you think you are suffering from some or all of these symptoms, the best thing to do is to visit your local dentist near you.

How We Can Help

At Complete Smile, we can take care of tooth decays at any stage. If you notice any of the above-mentioned signs, you can book an appointment with us or call us to arrange. We are a highly trusted dental clinic in London that uses the most advanced technology. We have a long-standing reputation for providing high-quality dentistry in London with a highly skilled and experienced team.

Why Choose Complete Smiles

  • We're open 7 days a week with flexible opening hours
  • Highly qualified & patient-focused team with experienced dentist.
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  • Non-judgemental diagnosis. We're not here to judge; all we want is to improve your oral health.

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