One of the most crucial steps for preserving healthy teeth and preventing related disorders is the prevention of tooth decay or cavities.

Tooth decay can lead to other health complications such as the formation of cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss. It is the destruction of the hard tissues of the teeth due to acids produced by bacteria. The acids cause enamel to soften and demineralize.

In turn, the dentin, which is softer than enamel, is affected. If the demineralization and softening of tooth tissues reach the root of the teeth, the result will be loss of the pulp, cavities, and finally, tooth loss.

Most of the time, tooth decay and cavities are not painful, so you may not be aware of them until it is too late. On the other hand, some people experience severe pain and may also feel sick when they consume certain foods.

Causes of Tooth Decay

Teeth are exposed to decay and cavities when teeth are not cleaned properly with regular brushing and flossing. This allows for the development of acidic plaque or biofilm to form, which is a sticky film of bacteria that sticks to the tooth surface.

This biofilm harbors anaerobic bacteria, which produce acids that attack hard tooth surfaces. The bacteria then use the sugars from your food to grow and decay mechanically in weak areas in teeth.

Signs of a Tooth Decay

1. Puffy, Swollen, and Uncomfortable Gums

If you suffer from dental decay, your gums will usually become swollen and red and may bleed when you brush. The tissues and bones that support your teeth are also affected. That is why some teeth will start moving out of their natural position.

Some people may experience pain or discomfort in their gums, cheeks, or jaw extending to their teeth and the entire mouth. It is a sign that the decay spreads to the soft tissue, which can lead to pain.

2. Discolored and Cracked Tooth

Weakening of the enamel will lead to a discolored tooth. The discoloration can be brown, black, yellow, or white.

Additionally, cracks in the teeth are a sign that your teeth are weakening. You can check for these signs by gently pressing the surface of your teeth with your fingertips.

3. Bad Breath

Bad breath is commonly associated with gum disease but can also be caused by tooth decay. Bacteria present in the mouth create sulfur compounds that can cause bad breath. In time, it will cause a foul smell in the mouth.

In the initial stages of decay, there may not be any foul smell from the mouth, but as the decay advances and spreads, it will aggravate the unfavorable breath.

4. Sensitivity to Hot and Cold Foods

Exposure to hot and cold foods can be very painful to those suffering from tooth decay. If your tooth decay is severe, it may even hurt your sense of taste and can impact the way you eat your food.

When tooth decay is advanced, the nerve inside your tooth may be exposed, making your teeth sensitive to hot, cold, and sweet foods.


Tooth decay can cause various problems, especially in your oral and overall health. It would be best to visit your dentist regularly for an evaluation and treatment.

Your dentist will be able to help you determine the problem with your teeth, and they will also be able to recommend treatments and procedures to help you get back on track. You must take good care of your teeth, as it can affect your overall health in the long run.

If you’re looking for a dental clinic in Oro Valley with the best dentists, Oro Valley Dental Arts are the best for you! We are here for all your dental needs. Contact us now!