Signs and Symptoms of Cavities

Woman feeling toothache

No one likes to hear that he/she has a cavity, but the good news is, the sooner it is detected, the quicker it can be fixed. Left undetected, the cavity progressively gets worse and leads to further complications. So, think of it like this, finding the cavity means fixing the cavity.

Let’s start with a reminder of how cavities occur. When we eat foods that have starch or sugar in them, bacteria that are in our mouths use the starches and sugar to create acids. Those acids begin working on breaking down our tooth enamel. Don’t panic! Our saliva is equipped with calcium and phosphate to replace the minerals lost. Fluoride in toothpaste and in water also help, but be careful because repeated contact with those acids result in a cavity.

The following is a list of signs or symptoms of dental cavities. Knowing these signs or symptoms can help you seek dental care immediately rather than allowing the cavity to get worse.


A stain that initially appears as a white spot can mean that minerals have been destroyed off of the enamel on the tooth. At this point, the enamel, with some proper care, can be repaired. If decay continues on the stain, then the spot may become darker in tint; brown or black.


A sudden unexplained sensitivity of a tooth can be serious. If you feel a sudden sensitivity, especially when eating certain foods, then seek out professional dental attention.

Bad Breath

Inexplicable bad breath is another sign that something may be wrong in your mouth. The bacteria responsible for the decay of your teeth are also responsible for bad breath. This sign is not always initially noticeable by you, but friends and family might not always feel comfortable telling you that your breath is unpleasant.


The bacteria causing the erosion of tooth enamel can also create a bad taste. You may experience some disagreeable taste in your mouth as a result of the bacteria breaking down food.


Pain is also a common symptom of cavities and one that should initiate immediate dental attention. The pain can be in the tooth that is decaying or has the cavity, and it can also be present in the jaw.

If you experience any of these signs or symptoms of a cavity for more than a day or two, it is crucial that you seek medical attention from a dentist. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!