What Are Cavities?

Cavities and tooth decay are among the most common health problems.  Cavities are also called tooth decay and caries.  Cavities are caused by a combination of factors such as bacteria left in your mouth from not brushing properly, frequent snacking on candies, and drinking to many sugary drinks. Cavities are common in children, teenagers, and older adults and can be seen in babies.

Symptoms

Symptoms of a cavity depend on the extent and their location.  When a cavity is just beginning, you may not notice any symptoms.  As the decay gets larger is usually when you will begin to develop some of the following symptoms:

• Tooth sensitivity

• Visible holes or pits in the teeth

• Brown, black, or white staining on walls of the tooth and the grooves

• Pain when you bite and chew sweets or drink cold liquids

Cavities are caused by tooth decay that occurs over time.  If cavities aren’t treated, they can get larger and affect deeper layers of your teeth.  They can lead to a severe toothache, infection, and tooth loss if not treated.  Regular checkups with your dentist and brushing and flossing your teeth two times a day are your best protection against cavities and tooth decay.

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