Cavities are holes, or structural damage, in the teeth.
Caries; Tooth decay; Cavities - tooth
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Tooth decay is one of the most common of all disorders, second only to the
Bacteria are normally present in the mouth. The bacteria convert all foods -- especially sugar and starch -- into acids. Bacteria, acid, food debris, and saliva combine in the mouth to form a sticky substance called plaque that adheres to the teeth. It is most prominent on the back molars, just above the gum line on all teeth, and at the edges of fillings. Plaque that is not removed from the teeth mineralizes into tartar. Plaque and tartar irritate the gums, resulting in
Plaque begins to build up on teeth within 20 minutes after eating (the time when most bacterial activity occurs). If this plaque is not removed thoroughly and routinely, tooth decay will not only begin, but flourish.
The acids in plaque dissolve the enamel surface of the tooth and create holes in the tooth (cavities). Cavities are usually painless until they grow very large and affect nerves or cause a tooth fracture. If left untreated, a