Tooth Decay

What is tooth decay?

Tooth decay is another name for the disease known as "caries", or cavities.  A cavity is the result of your tooth enamel, dentine, or cementum being destroyed over long-term exposure to harmful bacteria and other germs.

Cavities, while not life threatening and highly preventable, affect most people to some degree during their lifetime.  Tooth decay is caused by your teeth being frequently exposed to foods rich in carbohydrates (starches and sugars) like lemonade, sports drinks, lollies, biscuits and cakes.  Ironically, even fruits, vegetables and juices can lead to tooth decay and tooth erosion if eaten in excess.

Natural bacteria in your mouth, eventually turns into a colourless film on your teeth which is called plaque.  The sugar or starch are eaten by the bacteria in plaque.  When the bacteria break down the sugars and starch they eat in your mouth, the bacteria then produce and release acids.  These acids break down tooth enamel over time by dissolving, or demineralising, the mineral structure of your teeth.  This leads to tooth decay and weakening of the teeth.