Tooth Decay: Causes & Treatment

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Tooth decay is damage to the tooth structure which affects both the enamel and dentin layer of your tooth. It happens when decay-causing bacteria in the mouth produces acids that attack the tooth. This results in a small hole in your tooth, also known as a cavity. If left untreated, it can cause pain, inflammation, and tooth loss. Here is a look at the causes, symptoms, prevention, and treatment of tooth decay.

What Causes Tooth Decay?

The main causes are sticky, sugary foods and beverages. When sugary foods remain trapped between your teeth, they combine with plaque to produce acidic by-products that attack the tooth enamel. Therefore, frequent snacking, puts you at a high risk of developing tooth decay. Additionally, decay attacks receding gums.  If you have receding gums, plaque forms near the roots of your teeth.

Prevention of Tooth Decay

The first line of defense against decay is observing oral hygiene. This means you should brush your teeth after every meal with fluoride toothpaste. It is also important to floss or clean between your teeth. Another prevention measure is to rinse your mouth daily with a mouthwash. Some rinses have antiseptic components that kill bacteria.

It is also important to eat nutritious meals and to avoid carbohydrates that remain on your tooth surface like chips and candy. If you frequently eat these foods, brush your teeth after every meal. Your dentist may also give you dental sealants to apply on the chewing surface of the back teeth to prevent decay.


The common treatment is tooth filling. Your dentist will remove the affected tooth tissue and fill it with a filling material. For severe tooth decay, your dentist will use a crown, which is much larger than a filling. The crown covers the top of your tooth when the decayed area is removed.

End Note

Tooth decay is a common oral condition affecting both children and adults. You have a high risk of getting tooth cavities if you frequently indulge in sugary foods and do not observe oral hygiene. South Holston Dental Designs is a seasoned and renowned dental practice located in Bristol. If you suspect that you have decay or have any other concerns about your oral health, reach out to South Holston Dental Designs at (276) 466-9800.

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