Tooth decay, also known as dental caries is a very common disease and is one of the major causes of tooth loss.
Tooth decay is the destruction of the teeth, usually from the production of acid secreted by bacteria that feed on sugars and carbohydrates. The acid attacks the teeth and causes holes, which is also known as cavities. If it is left untreated, it could cause pain, infection, tooth loss and very rarely, death.
Risk factors of tooth decay include:
Poor oral hygiene leading to the buidup of plaque or calculus
Eating foods that are high in sugar and other carbohydrates
Eating very sticky foods
Snacking in between meals as a habit
Having teeth with very deep grooves and fissures
Not using fluoride dentifrices
Having reduced saliva flow
The most common symptom of tooth decay is toothache. Other symptoms are swelling in the gums, bad breath, black or brown spots on the teeth and cavity formation.
Tooth decay can be prevented by maintaining good oral hygiene, brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing once a day, visiting the dentist at least twice a year for routine scaling and polishing, avoiding foods that have a lot of sugar and avoiding snacks before bedtime.