Most Common Symptoms of Tooth Decay

Casey Ledford15 December 2023

Tooth decay, also known as dental caries or cavities, is a common oral health issue that arises from the breakdown of tooth enamel due to acids produced by bacteria. Recognizing the symptoms of tooth decay is crucial for early intervention. Here are common signs to watch for:


Persistent or spontaneous toothaches, often aggravated by consuming hot, cold, or sweet foods, can indicate tooth decay. The pain may range from mild discomfort to severe throbbing.


Increased sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet stimuli is a common early sign of tooth decay. If you experience discomfort or pain when consuming certain foods or drinks, it may indicate enamel erosion.

Visible Holes or Pits

Visible cavities, holes, or pits on the surface of the teeth are clear indicators of tooth decay. These areas may appear brown, black, or discolored.

Bad Breath

Persistent bad breath, or halitosis, can result from the presence of bacteria and decay in the mouth. It’s a sign that oral hygiene may need improvement.


Discoloration of the teeth, such as white spots, brown stains, or chalky areas, may signal the early stages of decay. Changes in tooth color can be noticeable and should be addressed promptly.

Pain While Chewing

Pain or discomfort while chewing or biting down may indicate a cavity or decay affecting the tooth’s structure.

Puffy Gums

Swelling or inflammation of the gums around a particular tooth may be a sign of advanced decay that has reached the tooth’s nerve.

Pus Around the Tooth

In severe cases, the presence of pus around a tooth may indicate infection. This requires immediate attention from a dental professional.

It’s essential to prioritize regular dental check-ups to detect and address tooth decay in its early stages. Good oral hygiene practices, including brushing, flossing, and limiting sugary foods, can help prevent tooth decay. If you notice any of these symptoms, consult with a dentist promptly for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

How CDG Can Help

A Cosmetic Dentistry Grant is for anyone who wishes to enhance their oral health and restore confidence in their smile, but you must first meet eligibility requirements. Apply now with CDG to see if you’re eligible!