Dental hygiene is extremely important, however, a trip to the dentist is considered a hassle by most. Not just is it on the more expensive side of things, but it also can be a little painful. It helps to know exactly how to identify a dental cavity at home so that you only need to go to the dentist if you have to.

From watching for dark spots on teeth to evaluating sensitivity in the mouth, here is all you need to know about dental cavities and how to tell if you have one from within the comforts of your home.

What is a Cavity?

A dental cavity is a permanently damaged 'cavity' shaped hole on the hard part of a tooth. Another name for a cavity is 'tooth decay', which occurs due to compromised oral health. Cavities develop easily due to a combination of the following reasons.

  • Poor brushing: infrequent or insufficient brushing of teeth is one of the major reasons for tooth decay. This is because the food particles are not removed completely which allows bacteria to develop and corrode the enamel.
  • Poor Dietary Habits: consuming foods and drinks with high sugar content can lead to the formation of cavities. Moreover, frequent snacking habits can also increase the chances of food getting lodged and not removed from teeth.

Signs that you have a Cavity

If you’re wondering how to tell if you have a cavity at home, know that there are a few signs that can indicate the presence of one. It is always a good idea to check your teeth frequently for one or more signs.

  • Bad Breath: if you notice that you have bad breath despite frequent brushing, the chances are that you have a cavity. Some bacteria which live in cavities cause halitosis, a bad odor from the mouth.
  • Tooth Pain and Sensitivity: one of the most telling signs of a cavity is the subsequent tooth pain and sensitivity in the region. If you are having persistent pain or feeling uncharacteristically sensitive to hot or cold foods, it is a good idea to seek professional dental care.
  • Presence of Dark Spots: after brushing your teeth it is a good idea to look at your teeth carefully in the mirror. If you see any dark spots on the white enamel, chances are that you have an advanced cavity that needs to be treated by a dentist immediately.

When is the Right Time to go to the Dentist?

If you find a telling sign that indicates the presence of a cavity that is the moment you should call up your dentist and make an appointment. Remember, longer delays will give the bacteria a longer time to develop and destroy, thus making your dental treatment much more expensive. Teeth in extremely advanced stages of dental decay can't be saved and have to be removed or replaced completely.

Can You Stop Cavity Growth?

Once you see a cavity, it means that the cavity has reached an advanced stage, and can't be stopped. The wisest plan of action would be to go to a dentist and take preventive action to prevent future cavity growth.


Cavities are annoying things which if left undealt with can develop into a much bigger problem that demands a more expensive dental treatment. It is a great help to know exactly when is the right time to go to the dentist. One of the most frequent dental maladies is the cavity, thus knowing how to identify one can seriously help you take good curative action.

Frequent cavity checks can go a long way to ensuring ideal oral health along with making sure your teeth and gums remain healthy throughout your life. I hope this guide helps you take care of your teeth!

Author's Bio: 

Marina Pal is a renowned author and social media enthusiast.