Consumption of too many sugary drinks and food or not cleaning teeth and gums properly can cause tooth decay. Consult a dentist as soon as possible if you feel like your child or you have tooth decay. Earlier treatments help from making the condition worse.
Tooth decay symptoms
Tooth decay doesn’t show any signs at the early stages, but when it gets worse, it can lead to severe problems, like dental cavities (hole formation in the tooth). If you have tooth decay, you may also have:
- Sharp pain while drinking or eating cold, hot, or sweet things
- Black, brown, or white spots in your tooth
Occasionally, the gum or tooth can become infected, which leads to a painful build-up of pus (dental abscess)
Tooth decay preventions
Tooth decay develops when bacteria create plaque, a sticky layer over the teeth, which can damage the teeth’ surface over time.
The condition is more common among children, so it’s crucial to ensure that they are looking after their gums and teeth from an early age.
You can do certain things to keep the teeth and gums healthy to help prevent tooth decay. They are:
- Brush twice a day using fluoride toothpaste (don’t rinse, spit after brushing)
- Floss or use interdental brushes every day to clean between your teeth
- Use sugar-free medications
- Have regular medical check-ups
- Don’t smoke
- Don’t consume many sugary foods or drinks
Tooth decay treatments
The treatments depend on the severity; the infected tooth might rarely be removed (extraction).
Mostly, the dentist will prescribe fluoride-related treatments (like mouthwash or varnish) to reverse the condition. You probably need a filling if you have a cavity (hole) in your tooth.
When the decay reaches the pulp (soft tissue) in the middle of the tooth, you may require a root canal.
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 16 JULY 2022