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Tooth Decay

Tooth Decay Symptoms and Causes

Tooth decay is the disease known as caries or cavities – a highly preventable disease caused by bacteria with many contributing factors. Bacteria, acid, food debris and saliva combine in the mouth to form a sticky substance called plaque that adheres to the teeth. If plaque is not removed thoroughly and routinely, tooth decay will occur – dissolving the enamel surface of the tooth and causing cavities to form.

Tooth Decay Symptoms:

Tooth decay can occur anywhere on the teeth, but it is most prominent on the back molars, just above the gum line on all teeth and at the edges of fillings. Symptoms of tooth decay include:

  • Bleeding, swollen gums
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • A foul taste in the mouth
  • Affected teeth becoming loose or falling out

Tooth Decay Causes:

Risk factors that put a person at a higher risk for tooth decay include:

  • A diet high in sweets, carbohydrates, and sugars
  • Living in communities with limited or no fluoridated water supplies
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Reduced salivary flow
  • Being a child
  • Being an older adult