A cavity, in the medical sense, is the space that remains in a tooth after a tooth decay has been removed. It is a hole that develops when a tooth decays, and it can get bigger and deeper if left unattended to over time. Cavities can affect the outer tooth and the inner tooth alike.
Though kids are the most affected by cavities due to their care-free nature, adults can also develop cavities. They are caused mainly by the bacteria that create acids from the foods and drinks taken in the mouth. The acids created by these bacteria dissolves the minerals that strengthen the enamel (outer part of the tooth), and causes a cavity there. If left untreated, the enamel is broken down and the cavity deepens into the dentin (inner part of the tooth), and eventually the nerve (pulp, innermost part of the tooth structure). The production of the acids that cause cavities is enhanced by increased intake of sugar and acidic food, which are like food for the acid-producing bacteria in the mouth.
Many do not panic about tooth cavities until it has progressed to its most destructive stages, and severe pains are experienced by its victims. If you are not convinced about the potential damage cavities can cause, read on to see the top 5 reasons why you should take the next taxi to the dentist’s if you are still sporting a cavity in your mouth, that is.
1. It causes Discomfort and Pain
The pains associated with having a cavity in a tooth or (worse still) in various teeth are better imagined than felt. Tooth cavities lead to toothache and cause severe pain in the mouth of the affected, making it extremely hard to speak, smile or chew properly. When you cannot chew food properly, you swallow it in sizes too large for the stomach to digest properly. This further leads to intestinal upset. Having constant toothache also lowers the quality of life, because it can cause stress, chronic pain and depression. Toothache leads to loss of sleep at night, which affects performance.
Tooth cavities can cause the teeth to become sensitive, and the persons suffering from it wouldn’t be able to eat certain foods which they enjoyed eating before. Cavities have the potential to cause a lot of discomfort and pain to human beings, and should not be handled with levity.
2. It causes Infections in the body
When left untreated, cavities can develop into an infection, and an abscess can form. The infection could then spread, subsequently leading to a lot of health complications in other parts of the body. The best way to avoid this is to see your dentist immediately you notice any sign of cavity in your tooth.
3. It causes Bad Breath
Bad Breath, one of the worst dental nightmares one could encounter, develops when cavities in the tooth are not promptly treated. Cavities are holes in the tooth, and the hole fills up with plaque and food particles over time, which are decomposed to produce foul smells by bacteria in the mouth.
It also gives the mouth bad taste, because substances from the hole (cavity) are being sucked up every time chewing or sucking takes place.
4. It could lead to Tooth Loss
This happens in severe cases. Untreated cavities gradually destroy parts of the tooth, and conventional tooth fillings can only do much to salvage the lost parts. It could be so severe that a dental crown would be needed to save that tooth. If infection is involved and an abscess forms, the pulp could be infected, and then, a root canal would have to be fitted before using the dental crown.
There are also situations where cavity destroys a tooth so much that the above measures cannot save it, and then the tooth would need to be extracted. All these procedures are very expensive, and can be avoided if a cavity is checked in its early stages.
5. It could (rarely) lead to Death
Though this rarely happens, there is still the probability, and it is best avoided because nothing can be done after it happens. In rare instances, the infection caused by cavities can spread to the brain, causing death. Regular visits to the dentist for checkups, and personal oral hygiene should not be joked with.