Most people associate dental decay with severe dental pain. And tooth decay often causes holes to appear in teeth. The tooth pain you experience when you have tooth decay is a direct result of the holes or cavities that tooth decay causes. The bacteria that cause tooth decay invade teeth and start a painful infection. However, you can also have painless holes in your teeth.
If you are confused because you have noticed painless holes in your teeth, that's understandable. But there may be a very good reason why you don't feel any pain despite the presence of holes or cavities.
Teeth consist of minerals like calcium and phosphorous. These minerals make up the hard layer of enamel and dentin that protect your teeth from damage and from bacteria. But because teeth are composed of minerals, they can both gain minerals and lose minerals. When teeth lose minerals, this is called demineralization.
Demineralization occurs for several reasons. One reason is acidity. If your diet is rich in acidic things like fizzy drinks and foods rich in acids, such as tomato ketchup, this causes your saliva to become more acidic. You can counter this acid effect by consuming water regularly.
Although demineralization takes time, eventually, holes may form in the affected teeth, as more mineral composition is lost. These holes may be painless at first, but if the damage progresses too far into the tooth, or tooth decay sets in, toothache will soon follow.
2. Toothbrush damage
Your toothbrush and your brushing technique can also cause holes to form in your teeth. However, these holes are usually in the form of grooves. You can find these grooves along the gum line, on the necks of your teeth. If you use a toothbrush with hard bristles and you brush with a sawing motion, from left to right, then eventually, you could wear away the enamel, leaving grooves in your teeth.
Tooth decay doesn't always affect these grooves, especially if you have good oral hygiene. But you need to repair these grooves quickly before they worsen or before tooth decay eventually sets in.
3. Natural grooves and fissures
All teeth have some form of grooves or fissures on the biting surface. This is especially true of premolars and molars, which have many natural pits and fissures to aid in the chewing of food. Even your front teeth will have some natural ridges on the biting surface. These are natural and are not an indication of tooth decay.
As long as tooth decay doesn't attack one of those grooves or fissures, you shouldn't experience any pain.
For more information about general dentistry, contact a local dental office.