Tooth Decay: Causes and Prevention

Tooth AcheTooth decay is a common problem that has several causes.

Just about everyone has had problems with tooth decay and cavities at some point. As long as you use the proper products, take care of your teeth and visit the dentist regularly, the problem rarely results in anything worse than a few cavities that can be fixed with fillings or sealant.

However, if left unchecked tooth decay can result in severe pain, tooth loss, and gum disease.

As common as tooth decay is, in many cases it can be easily prevented. There are many products out there you can purchase to prevent these things from happening.

Even these top three causes of tooth decay can be avoided if you are careful. The first step in prevention is to know the most common causes:

Poor Dental Hygiene

Most severe cases of tooth decay can be prevented with regular brushing and flossing. Poor dental hygiene can lead to a buildup of bacteria, which in turn can cause the formation of plaque and tartar. This can destroy the enamel of your teeth and eventually cause tooth decay.

To prevent this from happening, dentists recommend brushing at least twice daily and flossing at least once every day.

A Diet Full of Starch and Sugary Foods

A diet that is deficient in phosphorus, calcium, and other supplements necessary for proper dental health can lead to tooth decay. Diets full of starch and sugar promote the growth of bacteria that can lead to the formation of plaque.

Keep sugar and starch to a minimum and eat foods that can help prevent tooth decay, like milk, fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.

Fluoride Deficiency

Fluoride helps fight against bacteria that can cause tooth decay. It also helps strengthen the enamel that protects the soft dentin tissue in teeth.

Tooth decay begins when the enamel is eroded away enough to expose the dentin, so a fluoride deficiency can be a serious problem. Fluoride is naturally found in low concentrations in food and drinking water, but it is most effective as an ingredient in toothpaste.

When you purchase a tube of toothpaste, make sure that it contains fluoride. If in doubt, ask your dentist for recommendations.


These are some of the most common causes of tooth decay. Other causes may include tobacco use, dehydration, and excessive alcohol consumption.

Many people will experience some form of tooth decay in their lives, but most of the time won’t notice any symptoms until a cavity has formed or they develop a toothache. The best way to protect yourself from tooth decay is by brushing your teeth at least twice a day and avoiding sugary and starchy foods.

You should also visit your dentist at least every six months for a checkup, cleaning, and dental x-rays.

If you believe you have cavities or any other dental problems, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your dentist. As with practically any medical condition, tooth decay is far easier to treat if it is caught early before it becomes a serious problem.

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