Four Subtle Signs You May Be Developing Tooth Decay

Posted on: 24 February 2017

There's a common misconception that if you're developing tooth decay, you'll see a brown or black spot on your tooth. But tooth decay does not always cause obvious discoloration, and even when it does, the spots can sometimes be hidden between your teeth or along the tongue side where you can't see them easily. To ensure tooth decay is caught early, it's important that you're aware of these more subtle signs of tooth decay.

Bad Breath

If you have bad breath in the morning and it goes away after you brush, that's completely normal. But bad breath that lingers even after brushing or that re-appears just hours after you brush? That could be a sign of tooth decay. After all, the decay is caused by oral bacteria, which release odorous chemicals.


If you take a sip of something hot or cold, you should not experience a shock or pain running down your tooth. This sensitivity is definitely an abnormality, and though it has several possible causes, it is most often attributed to tooth decay. The decay exposes nerve endings, so you experience more pronounced reactions to hot and cold than you would with a healthy tooth.

Throbbing Pain

Do you sometimes feel a throbbing pain in a tooth or in your jaw? This pain may be constant, or it may come and go throughout the day. Some people only notice the throbbing pain after they chew something hard or chewy. By the time decay gets to the point of causing this throbbing pain, it is usually quite extensive and may even be progressing into a full-blown tooth infection. Get to your dentist quickly. You may need a root canal and a crown to save the tooth.

Ongoing Gum Irritation

If you brush and floss your teeth regularly, you really should not have trouble keeping your gums in good shape. If there's a portion of your gums that seems to become red, irritated, or painful over and over again, this may be attributable to tooth decay. There may be a decayed area of your tooth near this reactive portion of your gums. The bacteria in the decayed tooth material are being passed on to your gums, causing the irritation.

If you experience any of the symptoms above, see your dentist sooner rather than later. In its early stages, tooth decay can usually be treated with a filling, but you may need more extensive treatments if you wait. Contact a clinic like Belgrade Dental Associates to learn more.