Tooth decay or cavities are permanently damaged areas in the hard surface of the teeth that develop into tiny openings or holes. Cavities, also called tooth decay or caries, are caused by cavity formation which damages both the outer layer known as ‘enamel’ and the inner layer of the tooth known as ‘dentin’.
When remnants of food such as milk, cereal, chocolates, fruit or cake get stuck in the teeth, they get transformed into acid by the bacteria. The mixture of the acid with the food remnants along with the bacteria and saliva forms plaques around the teeth, the high acidic content of which causes cavities to form around the enamel. In its advanced stages, the cavity tends to destroy the blood vessels and nerves of the tooth.
Cavities and tooth decay are among the world's most common health problems. They're especially common in children, teenagers and older adults. But anyone who has teeth can get cavities, including infants. If cavities aren't treated, they get larger and affect deeper layers of your teeth. They can lead to a severe toothache, infection and tooth loss. Regular dental visits and good brushing and flossing habits are your best protection against cavities and tooth decay.
After diagnosis, the damaged part of the tooth is removed with the help of a drill. Gold, silver or alloy fillings replace the hole formed due to the cavity. Also, root canal might be recommended if the tooth roots are destroyed completely. The tissues and other blood vessels of the tooth are replaced by a secured material.
Tooth decay can be prevented if you maintain daily oral hygiene such as using fluoride toothpaste for brushing your teeth, attending regular dental check-ups as you age and completely eliminating high carbohydrate and sugar-based foods from your diet.