Tooth decay can have serious consequences on teeth and overall health.

It can cause the following:

  • Sudden and sustained pain (sometimes violent) in the teeth and jaw
  • Abscess, sometimes accompanied by fever and swelling of the face
  • Bad breath
  • Loss of  the decayed tooth
  • Difficulty chewing food
  • Difficulty with pronunciation

Tooth decay can also affect appearance, self-esteem and well-being. Also, untreated cavities can lead to costly care, especially if a tooth that is impossible to keep, must be removed and replaced.


Pain caused by a cavity can lead to various complications in children, including:

  • Difficulty eating, which can lead to stunted growth
  • Sleep problems
  • Concentration problems
  • Anxiety, a tendency of getting angry easily, and fatigue.  The child may also appear depressed

An infection caused by tooth decay may require the extraction of one or more teeth. This may impact pronunciation, appearance, self-esteem and overall well-being, in addition to being the cause of school absenteeism.

In more complicated cases, tooth decay should be treated under general anaesthesia at the hospital.