Tooth Decay

Tooth decay

Almost everyone has experienced tooth cavities, which is also called tooth decay. Only very small population is cavity-free during the lifetime. Tooth decay can cause pain, tooth structure damage, infection, even tooth loss. Sugar intake is an important factor to cause tooth decay. Good home care and healthy diet would help to prevent it.


High sugar intake and plaque are the main reasons for tooth decay. Bacteria from plaque can convert sugar (sucrose) to acid. Acid keeps eroding teeth to cause tooth decay.

Sugar + Bacteria (from Plaque) ---> Acid

Acid + Healthy Tooth --------------> Tooth Decay


To avoid tooth decay prevention is very important. When hard tissues of the teeth are damaged, they are damaged forever. To stop this from happening:

  • Reduce sugar intake, such as candies, cookies, ice creams, soft sodas

  • Good oral hygiene can reduce plaque, so that less bacteria are available to react with sugar to produce decay-causing acid.

  • Fluoride helps enhancing the tooth enamel to resist acid attack.

  • Regular dental check-ups will help detect decay at an early stage, and prevent extensive tooth damage

Picture showing tooth decay

Secondary cavities or Recurrent Decay

Many people think that since they have fillings and caps, they do not need to take care of them too much, as they are technically not teeth, and would not be hurt or get damaged any more. This kind of thinking is very common, but is totally wrong. Acid is still attacking your teeth structures around the fillings and underneath the caps, and will lead to secondary cavities. It may cause loss of fillings or caps, nerve infections, and abscess.

  • Fillings don't last forever.

  • Over time, decay can form around the filling - requiring replacement of the filling

  • Good oral hygiene to reduce plaque and acid attack.

  • Fluoride use will enhance the structural strength of teeth, and resist acid attack.

  • Baking soda rinse can neutralize acid.

  • Regular dental check-up can catch leakage around fillings.

  • Dental x-rays will help to find decay underneath the fillings and crowns.