There are two types of bacteria, mutans streptococcus and lactobacillus, that exist in your mouth and function as the primary causes of tooth decay. If the environment in your mouth is unbalanced in any way for any reason, these bacteria can reproduce exponentially. They colonize in areas of your mouth that contain remnants of sugar.
These sugars are mainly found in foods that are high in carbohydrates. By not maintaining proper dental hygiene, flossing and brushing, these sugars can build up on the teeth in the form of plaque. Plaque, if not removed, will mineralize and turn into hard tartar. These bacteria survive and multiply from the simple sugars on your teeth, breaking them down into even simpler elements, one of which is an acid that will break down the structure of your enamel.
As the protective enamel on your tooth dematerializes and breaks down, a hole will form as a cavity. It is best if this decay is found and treated early before it progresses into a much more serious condition. If this decay breaks through the enamel and progresses to the dentin layer underneath, this can lead to more complicated and costly problems.
How to prevent decay:
To reduce the frequency of acid production on your teeth you can
- Limit the number of times you eat per day.
- Brush and floss effectively and regularly.
- Visit your hygienist regularly.
- Use fluoride toothpastes and/ or fluoride rinses.
- Rinse with water or chew sugarless gum when you are unable to brush after a meal.