After the common cold, tooth decay is the second most prevalent disease in the world.
According to the World Health Organization, globally, it is estimated that 2.3 billion people suffer from caries (or tooth decay) of permanent teeth and more than 530 million children suffer from caries of primary teeth.
How do I know if I have tooth decay? In its early stages, you may not have any symptoms at all and may not be aware that a cavity is forming; however, as the decay gets larger, you may experience some or all of the following:
- Sensitivity at the site of the decay,
- A toothache,
- Pain when eating or drinking something hot, cold, or sweet,
- Visible holes in your teeth,
- Bad breath,
- Brown, black or white staining on any surface of a tooth, and/or
- Pain when you bite down
With regular dental checkups, x-rays and hygiene visits, decay can be identified and, in some cases, can be controlled before a cavity forms. Early detection is the key to preventing serious dental decay, which can be costly and harder to treat. In some cases, significant decay may result in the loss of the tooth.