Cavities and Tooth Decay

Cavities and Tooth Decay

What Is Tooth Decay?

It’s actually pretty simple. Decay (or softening of enamel) happens over time and the result is a cavity—a defect left in the tooth. Teeth are covered with a hard, protective top layer called enamel. But once the enamel is weakened by acids produced by bacteria, a pit or cavity is formed in or on the tooth surface.

What Causes Cavities and Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay occurs when foods containing carbohydrates become trapped between teeth and are not completely removed with brushing and flossing. The plaque bacteria generate acidic by-products that eat away at the tooth enamel, slowly creating holes in the teeth called cavities. Without treatment, these holes can grow larger over time and may even destroy the whole tooth.

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