Tooth decay is a preventable disease caused by bacteria in the mouth. Decay affects all age groups and is the most common chronic disease of childhood.
Tooth decay affects 18% of children ages 2-4
Tooth decay affects 61% of teenagers
Baby Bottle Decay
Mountain Dew Mouth
After you eat, bacteria in the mouth turns sugars into acids that cause demineralization or dissolving of the calcium and phosphorous of the tooth’s surface enamel. This is called an “acid attack” on the tooth.
Your saliva can help neutralize the acids and hold minerals that replenish the calcium and phosphorous that keep your teeth hard. This process is called remineralization or regaining the lost minerals. Cavities result when too many “acid attacks” cause the rate of demineralization to exceed the rate of remineralization and the enamel is destroyed.
How Can We Prevent Tooth Decay?
Of all the health problems that can plague us, those involving our teeth are probably the most preventable. Three things are necessary to cause a cavity: a tooth, sugars and bacteria. Eliminating any one of those three can prevent decay.