Dental Cavities

What causes tooth decay in a child?

Tooth decay is caused by bacteria and other things. It can happen when foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starches) are left on the teeth. Such foods include milk, soda, raisins, candy, cake, fruit juices, cereals, and bread. Bacteria that normally live in the mouth change these foods, making acids. The combination of bacteria, food, acid, and saliva form a substance called plaque that sticks to the teeth. Over time, the acids made by the bacteria eat away at the tooth enamel, causing cavities.
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Key points about tooth decay in children

  • Tooth decay is the breakdown of tooth enamel. It can lead to holes in the teeth called cavities.
  • Tooth decay is caused by bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria make a sticky substance called plaque that can eat away at a tooth’s enamel.
  • Poor oral hygiene can raise your child’s risk for tooth decay.
  • A dentist can diagnose tooth decay with an exam and X-rays.
  • Treatment requires removing the decayed part of the tooth and replacing it with a filling.

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