7 Risk Factors that Increase Your Chances of Getting Cavities

Cavity Risk Factors - Kids brushing teeth

Cavities are small openings that develop from permanently damaged areas on the hard surface of your teeth. Also called caries, cavities are the result of decaying teeth and are one of the most common dental health issues in the world. If untreated, they can lead to infection, pain and even the loss of teeth.

The truth is anyone with teeth has the potential for getting cavities. Regular brushing, flossing and preventative dental checkups can help prevent cavities, but it’s important to understand the other factors that can cause them. Here are seven factors that can increase the likelihood of getting cavities.

Location of Teeth

Molars and premolars (your back teeth) are the most susceptible to getting cavities. This is because they have many grooves where plaque can collect and are more difficult to clean than front teeth.


Certain foods and drinks are harder to remove from your teeth because they cling to the surface for a longer period of time. Sugary drinks and hard candies are a few examples but even milk and ice cream can be difficult to remove from your teeth.


Frequent snacking or drinking of sugary drinks simply acts as more fuel for the buildup of plaque which is the primary cause of cavities.

Before Bed Eating

If you eat or drink before bed and don’t brush, the food particles will remain on your teeth for the duration of the night and accelerate the plaque buildup, especially in children.

Poor Brushing Technique

The reason it is recommend you brush twice a day is because the tooth decay process can begin right when plaque forms. It is imperative to brush your teeth soon after eating and drinking.

Limited Fluoride

Fluoride and fluoride treatments are one of the best ways to fight against tooth decay. Often added to public water supplies and found in most toothpastes, fluoride helps protect teeth.

Dry Mouth

If you suffer from dry mouth, your chances for cavities are much greater. That’s because saliva can help to counteract acids that come from bacteria. Some medications can increase dry mouth symptoms and result in accelerated tooth decay that lead to cavities.

While other risk factors exist, these are some of the primary ones that precede cavities. In addition to brushing, flossing and dental checkups, you can counter these factors in a variety of ways. From dental sealants, to increasing the amount of water you drink, talk to your dentist to learn all the ways you can prevent cavities from forming.

If you have untreated cavities or haven’t been to the dentist recently, make an appointment today.