What causes cavities?

Diet and Bacteria. Sugar and carbohydrates are used for fuel by bacteria in your mouth. A by-product they produce is acid. The acid dissolves the mineral of your tooth. They can be prevented by having a good diet, cleaning your teeth immaculately and seeing your dentist for cleanings at least twice a year. There are other important dental problems beyond cavities, so see a great dentist to have it all assessed.
Acid erosion. Cavities occur when sticky bacteria (strep mutans) attach to the enamel of your teeth and produce a concentration of Lactic Acid which dissolves the enamel and dentin at contact. The acid is produced as the bacteria ferment and metabolize sugar. The acid demineralizes and destroys the tooth structure.
Recommended 2x/day. Cavities are caused by many factors. Time+bacteria+diet+genetics. So the amount of exposure, amount of carbohydrates/sugars, quality & quantity of brushing, as well as, your body's "chemistry" will have an effect on you getting cavities. The best defense is brushing and flossing 2x/day. Rinsing with a Fluoride mouth wash and getting maintenance cleanings and exams from your dentist 2x/yr.
Sugar. Sugar in and of itself is not bad for you. The presence of sugar for long periods of time in your mouth is the problem with cavities. Sugar present for a long time on your mouth combines with your saliva and breaks down into acid. The acid by-product from sugar causes cavities in your mouth.
Bacteria in the mouth. You need four things to get a cavity: a tooth, oral bacteria, carbohydrate (sugar), and time. If left undisturbed for long enough, bacteria will slowly eat a hole into the tooth. Since we can only control the bacteria and the carbohydrate, proper brushing, flossing, and a healthy diet are the best ways to prevent cavities. And don't forget fluoride. Obviously, you should also see your dental team regularly to help. The earlier and more often the better!

Related Questions

What causes cavities?

Bacteria. Simply, bacteria in our mouths metablolize the carbohydrates that we eat (simple sugars are their favorites) and produce acid as a result of their activity. The acid dissolves the enamel, causing the decay. Eating the right foods, and brushing/flossing right afterwards, helps break the cycle. Go brush now! Read more...
Strep mutans. Cavities are caused by the bacteria streptococcus mutans. These bacteria consume fermentable carbohydrates that are left on your teeth after eating (i.e. Sugar, white flour, soda, etc). The biproduct of the bacterial consumption of carbohydrates is dental plaque. This acidic plaque sits on the teeth and eats away at enamel, then into the underlying dentin, and eventually the pulp. Read more...
Many Causes. The streptococcus bacteria is a place to look for dental caries. Acid such as that found in soda can cause cavities. Also drinking something as healthy sounding as milk or juice before bed can be a cause. Could also be food caught between your teeth which did not get removed. Using an oral irrigator like water pik or hydrofloss may be helpful to make sure that food particles are not the culprit. Read more...
Cavities. There are three things that must be present in the mouth for a cavity to form. You have to have teeth, you have to have a carbohydrate rich food source and you have to have acid forming bacteria. When bacteria remain undisturbed on the surface of teeth and are well fed by sugars in our diet, they produce acid that brake down the enamel and dentin accessing the inside of the tooth causing a cavity. Read more...

What causes cavities on teeth?

Bacteria. Bacteria in your mouth consume sugars, form acids which then eat into the surface of the tooth. Sugar is not just candy, milk, fruit juice etc. Your real question is how can i stop cavities and the answer is keep them clean, keep the bacteria that can cause acids off and try to maintain a good diet and quit snacks and beverages between meals. Floss is the only way you can clean between the tee. Read more...
Acid. Failure to brush and floss properly and daily allows plaque buildup. Plaque combined with fermentable carbohydrates results in an acid by-product that dissolves the teeth causing cavities. Having an acid mouth contributes. All carbonated beverages contain carbonic acid. Some in addition contain citric acid or phosphoric acid. Thus sipping on these drinks contribute to cavities. Read more...
Acid and Exposure . As previously explained the acid byproduct of bacterial metabolism etches the enamel and causes "cavities" commonly referred to as decay. Another component however is the frequency of exposure. If you constantly snack on sugary treats the frequency of acid exposure increases the problem. Each exposure results in approximately 20 minutes of acid exposure. I suggest limiting your exposures. Read more...
Bacteria . A cavity is a hole left from a bacterial infection that has eroded the tooth. Smoking, sugar, genetics, general and oral health all play a role in one's succeptability to tooth decay. Read more...

Please tell me what causes cavities in your teeth?

Bacteria. Decay is caused by the bacteria in your teeth. They are fed by the sugars that you eat and produce acid that destroys the tooth. The best way to prevent decay is by eating a healthy low sugar diet, good brushing and flossing and regular dental care. Read more...

What causes cavities on tooth and what's the solution. I regularly clean my teeth but still facing cavities problem. What could be future protection.

Several factors. Cavities are caused by bacteria that produce acids and this will decay the tooth. Diet low in sugar and acid is important to decrease the growth of cariogenic bacteria. Brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day will remove the plaque that feed the bacteria. Fluoride will strengthen teeth. Some medication cause dry mouth which will increase cavities. Xylitol also fights decay. Read more...
Infection. Decay is an infection. By "cleaning" do you mean you brush? Proper daily flossing is necessary also. Use a Fluoride toothpaste and have Fluoride treatments at the dentists. Avoid between meal snacks with sugar in them. Avoid carbonated soft drinks and non-carbonated drinks with sugar in them between meals. Read more...
Other factors, maybe. Assuming you have great home care, you need a diet low in sugars, many of which are also abundant in unprocessed foods. Gerd or acid reflux could also contribute to the problem. You may have to go through some dental sleuthing once the usual suspects have been eliminated to really understand what is going on. Read more...
Bacteria + sugar. Cavities occur when bacteria turn sugars into acids, etching holes in the teeth. Talk to your dentist about diet, oral hygiene, fluorides, and so much more. You need exam to find out why and then what can be done to help. Lots of solutions available. Read more...

What could cause cavities in my 21 month old daughters teeth?

Three things: Cavities need three things to grow: 1. The right type of bacteria (streptococcus mutans or lactobacillus). 2. A food source (leftover food, milk, formula, etc. On the teeth). 3. Time the main thing you want to do to prevent new cavities is make sure you are able to brush her teeth well after meals and before she goes to sleep. Read more...

What causes chronic inflammatory cavities in direct communication with anastomosis?

May be diverticuliti. Your question suggests an intraabdominal inflammatory condition, perhaps diverticulitis or ulcerative colitis, with associated surgical procedures. Evaluation by your primary medical provider is in order for your clarification, and for plan of action if needed. . Read more...

What cause the chest cavity to burn with intense pain. It don't radiate to other areas, no difficulty breathing and blood pressure is normal. Any idea?

Gastritis/Heart Burn. 46yr Female... You are low risk for early CAD... It would be untrue if you abused your body and smoked and were over weight!!! If you are healthy - likely it is gastritis/GERD... Recommend to check with your internist though. Read more...

What else could cause cavities in between teeth, if you floss, brush&and use act. I do not snack and only drink water and milk with one big meal a day?

Eat More. First, eating one big meal a day is an absolute no-no. Eat 3-5 small meals each day, you will be healthier and lose bodyfat! cavities are caused by bacteria, sugars, and dark, wet, warm, still environments. Drinking water is great, don't add things to it, and make sure it is clean water. Brush 3x/day, floss daily. Other than that, you may have an enamel issue, and need high-strength fluoride. Read more...
Bacteria/genetics. You could have a more aggressive strain of the bacteria that cause cavities, known as streptococcus mutans. You could also have more acidic saliva, or even enamel that is weak due to genetics. I would suggest having a bacterial atp test and an oral ph test to see if the bacteria is the root cause. Read more...
Acids?? People with acid reflux or heartburn can suffer from caries. Also females who have been pregnant and experienced nausea can also cause fast forming cavities. Read more...
When, how, time? I see this all the time. Patients tell me that they brush and floss and yet have cavities and honestly, food on their teeth when they come in for dental treatment. First, when do you brush and floss? Make sure it is after and not before meals. Secondly, make sure you are doing it properly. Many patients don't. Demonstrate if to your dentist. Third, are you spending a full 2 minutes? Time yourself. Read more...

What could have caused my cavity to bleed when getting it filled?

Nerve involvement. When perform a filling, bleeding should not happen from the tooth structure. When it occured from the tooth, a nerve is touched and thus may become damage. In this case, you need a root canal. Many times, it would reverse and become normal if you use direct pulp cap (temporary seal them with calcium hydroxide). Many times the bleeding is from the surrounding gum, and this would be normal... Read more...