Skip to content

Causes of Tooth Decay

What is tooth decay and how does it happen?

Often called a cavity, tooth decay is caused when two things come in contact with teeth:

  • Sugars, starches or simple carbohydrates. Foods with simple carbohydrates include:
  • White bread
  • White pasta
  • Cakes, pastries and many baked goods
  • Packaged cereals
  • Germs (bacteria)

Germs live in a sticky film of food called plaque. Plaque forms on the teeth all of the time and can make your teeth feel fuzzy.

When the germs in the plaque come in contact with sugary and starchy foods, acid attacks the teeth. The acid can lead to tooth decay and cause cavities (holes) in the teeth. The germs in the plaque are the enemy!

Help your child avoid tooth decay:

  • Brush the plaque off the teeth twice a day using fluoridated toothpaste.
  • The brushing helps remove some of the bacteria.
  • The fluoride helps strengthen the areas harmed by the acid.
  • Serve healthy foods while avoiding sugary and starchy snacks and drinks.
  • Make teeth stronger and more resistant to acid attacks by having fluoride varnish applied to your child’s teeth 2-4 times a year