A Answers (7)
Bad oral hygiene is the main cause of tooth decay, which leads to cavities. Poor oral hygiene allows bacteria to build up, as the persistent presence of plaque which produces acid from sugars in the diet. The acid dissolves the outer enamel of the tooth, leading to decay. The decay creates the cavities, which are small holes formed in your teeth.
American Dental Association answered
It's no fun having a cavity. Listen as Dr. Maria Lopez Howell explains what happens to your teeth if you don't practice good oral hygiene.
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI) answered
Bad oral hygiene is the main cause of tooth decay, which leads to cavities. Poor oral hygiene allows bacteria to build up and produce acid; enabling the formation of plaque. The acid is what dissolves the outer enamel of the tooth, leading to decay. The decay creates the cavities and the small holes formed in your teeth.
William M. Litaker, Dentistry, answered
The acid from dental plaque in your mouth causes cavities. Plaque is the bacteria that are in your mouth that stick to the teeth. Plaque uses the sugars in the foods that you eat to make acids. The acid eats into the tooth causing a cavity. Cavities can be prevented by brushing and flossing your teeth, limiting sugars in your diet, and regular visits to the dentist.
Everyone has bacteria in his or her mouth. When we eat, some bacteria cause the sugars in our food to change into an acid. The acid and bacteria join together to form a sticky substance, called plaque, that sticks to teeth. The plaque attacks the teeth by destroying the enamel, the hard outer layer of the tooth. This is called a cavity.
Discovery Health answered
Dental cavities, also called caries, have plagued mankind for thousands of years.
Still, the problem is more persistent now. Fossilized remains from the Iron Age showed a cavity rate of 8%. When modern inhabitants from the same area were tested, a remarkably high cavity rate of 48% was found.
This is generally attributed to a modern diet consisting of highly processed, sugar-containing foods. Industrialized nations, dental cavities have been steadily increasing for the last four centuries. Despite a recent dip with the advent of fluoride, it continues to the present day.
Dental cavities are an infection caused by carbohydrate-containing foods and the bacteria that live in our mouths. A film that continuously forms on and around our teeth, called plaque, contains the bacteria. Although there are several types of bacteria in our mouths, only some are associated with cavities. The most common include Lactobacillus casei and acidophilus, Streptococcus mutans, and Actinomyces naeslundii. These bacteria seek out carbohydrates for food. When they eat them it produces acid. The acid then causes the PH on the tooth surface to drop.
When sugary food are eaten, the PH level in the mouth drops from an average of about 6.2 - 7.0 to a low 5.2 – 5.5. At that point, the acid begins to dissolve the hard-enamel outer coating of our teeth. Exposure to sugary foods allows an acid attack on the teeth that can last for twenty minutes.
As the cavity progresses through the enamel, it invades the softer dentin and encroaches on the pulp, which holds the tooth's nerve and blood supply.
Cavities attack the teeth in two ways. First is through the pits and fissures, which are the grooves visible on the surfaces of the back teeth (molars and premolars). They are thin areas of enamel that contain recesses where food and plaque can get trapped and form a cavity. The cavity starts small and spreads widely.
Another route of acid attack is from a smooth surface between, on the front or on the back of teeth. For a smooth surface cavity, acid must travel through the thick part of the enamel. Therefore, the area of attack is generally wide.
Tom Berry, Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, answered
Cavities are caused by demineralization of the outer surface or enamel of the tooth. The demineralization process starts from acids produced by bacteria living on the tooth. A thin film of biomaterial called plaque forms on the surface of the tooth. Acid producing bacteria live in the plaque. These bacteria utilize sugars like sucrose, glucose and fructose as their food source. The waste products of the bacteria are acids, particularly lactic acid, that cause holes in the enamel and dentin of the tooth.