When you think of cavities, you often associate them with children. Their sugar rich snack life of soda, chocolate bars, and coated candies leave their teeth extremely susceptible to tooth decay, but children are not the only ones who fall victim to this. In fact, anyone who consumes any form of sugar is at risk for cavities, and some may be more prone to them than others depending on a multitude of factors.

Before we get into those, however, it’s important to know exactly what a cavity is. Essentially, a cavity is a small hole in your tooth caused by the breakdown of enamel, which is the outer layer of your tooth. The plaque on your teeth absorb any sugars that you eat and produce acid that wear away at the enamel until a hole forms. This hole will need to be filled and fixed by your dentist as there is no way to repair them at home.

So, how do you know if you have a cavity? The signs and symptoms of cavities will vary, and you often won’t know in the beginning stages that you have one, but as time goes on and the cavity becomes more noticeable, you may experience:

  • Spontaneous tooth pain or discomfort
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold foods/drinks
  • Sharp pains
  • Holes in your teeth
  • Pain when you chew

As far as the people who are more prone to getting cavities, studies have shown that the following factors put an individual more at risk:

  • Inadequate brushing
  • Age
  • Dry mouth
  • Heartburn
  • Eating disorders
  • Certain medications

Taking proper care of your teeth and attending your bi-annual check ups are very important in reducing your risk of cavities. Talk to your dentist for a detailed prevention plan if you happen to be prone for cavities.