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Tooth cavity and its symptoms

Mohd Zaheerul

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What do you understand the term “tooth cavity”?

Tooth cavity is also commonly termed as dental caries. Cavity is one of the most common health problems in the world. Formation of a hole which grows bigger and deeper over time is termed as a cavity. Cavities lead to tooth decay which means cavities result in damage of the tooth gradually.

Tooth decay is a result of the damage to the outer coating of a tooth (called enamel) and the inner layer (called dentin). Tooth decay is caused by a combination of multiple factors, such as bacteria in the mouth, frequent snacking, consumption of sugary drinks and sticky items and not keeping teeth clean. Bacterial plaque generates acidic by-products which harm the tooth enamel and slowly create holes in the teeth. If these holes are not treated at an early stage, they can grow larger over time and may destroy the whole tooth. In children particularly, they can lead to rotten teeth.

Cavities are very common in teenagers and adults. But even infants can suffer from them. Tooth decay is a common problem in children with primary teeth as they are not much concerned about their teeth health. Parents need to understand that maintaining a child’s oral health routine keeps him away from dental problems. Tooth decay should be prevented in children as it might cause serious problems during the eruption of permanent teeth.

Check out the baby teeth chart here to help understand the development of baby teeth and know the exact timing of teeth eruption and shedding.

Common symptoms of cavity

Mainly, the signs and symptoms of cavities depend on the extent and location of the decay. In the beginning, there might be no symptoms at all but when the decay enhances, it may begin to cause some discomfort such as:

Tooth pain

Toothache or spontaneous pain in the teeth that occurs without any apparent cause can be a sign for dental cavity. Tooth pain can be very discomforting at times.

Mild to sharp pain is triggered when eating or drinking something sweet, hot or cold. A pressure also can be felt while biting something.

Tooth sensitivity

Increased sensitivity is another common sign of cavity formation. When the decay worsens and extends down to the roots, it stimulates the nerves and cells inside the teeth especially during food consumption. This can be reported as tooth sensitivity.

Pits formation

Visible holes or pits in teeth depict cavities. When teeth erosion worsens and cavity begins to burrow deep into tooth, it leads to the formation of holes. These holes or pits can be only seen on a dental x-ray but if they enlarge, they are easily detected by a naked eye.


Brown, black or white staining on any surface of a tooth is also related to cavity formation. These stains are colors taken from the food and drinks which we consume. Plaque formation also leads to staining of a tooth.


If the cavity reaches deep down the roots and is not treated, it can lead to the formation of pus or infection. This is a serious stage and is often very painful. Cavities should be treated as early as possible to avoid severe gum infections and prevent tooth loss.

About Author

Mohd Zaheer is a senior biotechnologist and is associated with DiseaseFix as a researcher. DiseaseFix develops health information modules for patients and provides a unique platform to allow access of reliable information of a variety of types for diseases.


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