How Does Tooth Decay Occur?

What is tooth decay?

Dental caries are perceived as cavities mostly seen with dark discolorations. Although it is a preventable disease, there are very few people in the world who do not experience tooth decay.

Why do teeth decay?

Bacteria plaque formed by bacteria in the mouth can form acid from the mouth residues of sugary and floury foods. These acids dissolve the mineral tissue of the teeth and cause the deterioration of the enamel of the tooth and ultimately the start of tooth decay and holes that dentists call cavities.

Who has more decay?

Since tooth decay occurs as a result of the combination of sugary and floury foods with bacteria, it means there is a danger for everyone. However, those who have a very high proportion of carbohydrate and sugary food in their diets, and those who have a very low fluoride ratio in their water, are at risk of much more caries. Although saliva creates a natural defense mechanism against the acid formed by the bacterial plaque, it cannot prevent caries alone. Diseases or drugs that reduce the flow and amount of saliva also accelerate the formation of caries. For this reason, dentists often recommend sugar-free chewing gums as it increases saliva flow.

Can tooth decay be prevented?


  • Brushing the teeth after breakfast and before going to bed a night and using dental floss every day is the most effective way. Toothbrushes should be chosen with small heads, as food residues mostly accumulate in the recesses on the chewing surfaces of the teeth and on the interfaces where the teeth touch each other. The inner surfaces, outer surfaces, chewing surfaces of the teeth and the top of the tongue should be brushed and dental floss should be used at the interfaces. Brushes should be of medium hard or soft bristle and should be changed regularly. The bristles of the brush should not be worn and stored in a way that they do not carry bacteria. Never use someone else's toothbrush. By using a fluoride toothpaste during tooth brushing, the role of fluoride in preventing tooth decay should be utilized. Fluoride mouthwashes, which also remove bad breath and give a feeling of freshness and cleanliness, can also be used to help with fluoride toothpastes.
  • Trying to consume sugary foods during main meals and trying not to eat anything between meals is another precaution.
  • Regular visits to the dentist are the best way to prevent or catch a caries early. In addition, in cases such as hot and cold sensitive teeth or painful teeth or chalky-colored initial caries, brown stains and cavities, consulting a dentist without a delay will change the form of treatment and reduce the difficulty.

* Article is taken from TDB (Turkish Dental Association).