Let’s be honest, rotten teeth can be scary! We've all seen those pictures of people with blackish, rotten teeth that our parents used to scare us into brushing and flossing as kids. Those pictures often only show people who have extremely severe tooth decay, not the initial stages.
But nevertheless, you don't have to have a mouth full of brown or missing teeth to be in the first tooth decay stages.
We want to help everyone achieve the smile of their dreams, which means being preventative and identifying possible problems before they get out of hand.
We’re here to share some examples of warning signs that signify tooth decay so you’re informed about what you can do if you’re on the road to rotten teeth. If you stay vigilant about your oral hygiene, you can brighten those pearly whites like a boss and rotten teeth won’t dare come ‘round your neighborhood.
Signs and Symptoms of Tooth Decay
Tooth decay often refers to what we also call cavities. Cavities happen because dental plaque is allowed to build upon your teeth. Plaque is a combination of food particles and bacteria that naturally live in our mouths. This acidic combination takes a while to do anything, but it starts eroding your enamel and can infect the sensitive inside of your tooth.
Underneath the tough outer enamel, you have a layer of soft dentin that can become easily infected when it is exposed to the bacteria in dental plaque. If a tooth stays infected for long enough, the roots will die, and the whole tooth will fall out. Not to mention it hurts. A lot.
Damaged teeth have a variety of symptoms, most of which aren't visible. After all, it's hard to get a good look at all of your teeth, right? Dentists have to use long sticks with mirrors on the ends to see.
Sometimes, cavities can be small enough to not show any visible symptoms at all. This is why you should visit your dentist regularly, so they can check your teeth more thoroughly and fix the problem before it has a chance to worsen.
You are most prone to cavities and infections in your back teeth because they have lots of grooves and are harder to reach.
Plus, many people don't spend long enough brushing their back teeth or flossing back there because, obviously, you can't see back there. After all, you don't smile with your molars.
Although the hole of a cavity is probably too small for you to see, you may notice other types of symptoms when your teeth begin to rot, such as:
- Bad breath
- Swollen gums and possible bleeding
- A bad taste in your mouth that never goes away, even right after you have brushed and flossed
- Pain when you try to eat something sugary
- Hot and cold sensitivity when you try to drink tea or eat ice cream
- An ache in your tooth that won't go away
- Pain when you bite down on something hard or resistance, maybe even in the jawbone
- Loss of the tooth if it falls out entirely
- Spots on your tooth that may appear black or brown
- A fever (This is rare and often occurs in children and babies more than adults. It usually indicates that the infection has gotten particularly bad.)
If you are running a fever or have noticed other signs of infection, you may need to make an emergency appointment with your dentist.
No type of rot is good for your oral hygiene, but infections are particularly serious for your overall health and need to be treated right away.
Also, keep in mind that some of these symptoms might be related to a different underlying medical condition. Part of why a dentist is so necessary is that you may think you have a rotting tooth, but the symptoms can turn out to be from something entirely different. They can help you investigate.
As a note, teens and older adults are at a higher risk for cavities and tooth decay.
Teens tend to forget about brushing and flossing (because let’s face it, they think they have a lot going on).
Treating Rotten Teeth
If you have noticed that one or more of those symptoms seems to fit the bill for your teeth, don't despair. There are plenty of ways to get a handle on your rotten teeth and turn them into a smile that will shine bright enough to illuminate the room.
You will probably need to make a few changes in your hygiene habits to prevent further decay in the future.
Still, at Supersmile, we’re here to make your journey that much easier by offering products designed specifically for your oral health needs paired with dentist-approved advice from our very own founder, Dr. Irwin Smigel, the first and only dentist to be inducted into the Smithsonian. He founded Supersmile because he loved to see people confidently flashing their photo-worthy smiles around town, and we’re proud to continue that vision!
Luckily, public officials have worked for many years to help people fight back against tooth decay by introducing fluoride to public water supplies. Drinking from your city's water supply never sounded so good.
Fluoride helps keep your teeth healthy and strong, which keeps away the cavities.
Many dentists recommend that children have fluoride treatments when they're young, so their teeth grow up to shine as brightly as they do. However, despite these measures, you still have to remember to take care of your teeth on your own.
One of the best ways to lessen tooth decay is to keep the plaque from building up, hardening, and becoming tartar.
The easiest way to do that is to use the right toothbrush. When it comes to brushing your teeth, you should know how you brush is just as important as remembering to brush.
If you want to be sure that you're using the best toothbrush available, try our Zina45 Deluxe Sonic Pulse Toothbrush.
It ain't your mama's toothbrush! It delivers uncompromising cleanliness and polishing, so you can have a smile so bright it lights up a Zoom.
The other thing to remember is exactly what your dentist says every time you visit: floss your teeth. Show that plaque who's floss!
Flossing is a gentle and safe way to remove the bacteria and plaque you can't get to with a toothbrush. Even the best toothbrushes can't actually get between your teeth like flossing, so there is literally no replacement. Flossing fights gingivitis and cavities that might form in between your teeth by reaching below the gum line, so never forget this often forgotten step!
At the Dentist
If you suspect some rotting culprits in your mouth, you should always consult with your dental professional to identify what is wrong and work with them to develop a plan to address the issues. Depending on what is causing the problem, your dentist may recommend some changes in your daily habits to prevent further oral damage.
Typically, your dentist will recommend doing a fluoride treatment to help your teeth remineralize and coat themselves to prevent any bacteria and plaque from getting into them, which may ultimately cause infection. For cavities, your dentist will drill down into them, clean out the bacteria, and then fill in the hole to reseal the tooth.
In a more severe scenario, you may require a root canal. A root canal is only needed if the bacteria has completely infected a tooth, and the infection has killed off the roots of your tooth. If the dentist can save the tooth, it's wonderful, but usually, dentists have to take the tooth out and give you an implant, bridge, or denture.
An important reminder about root canals: if a kid has a tooth infection in a baby tooth, you may be tempted to shrug it off thinking that the tooth will fall out anyway and rationalize that there's no need to spend money on the dentist. However, sometimes the infection can cause damage to the permanent teeth underneath, so you should always check with a dentist about your child's toothache.
The process may be painful, but if you go to your dentist at the first sign of trouble, you won't give that nasty plaque the chance to do serious damage to your precious pearls.
Hopefully, knowing what to look out for will give you a little insight into what's going on in your mouth when you aren't looking.
With a little help and support from your friendly neighborhood dentist and the Supersmile team, you can practice good oral hygiene and be back to smiling your best smile in no time!