Tooth decay is caused by a build-up of plaque on the surface of the teeth. Plaque is formed by leftover food particles and bacteria. Tooth decay is not only a child’s problem. It can happen in adults too.

Our expert shares 7 causes of tooth decay.

ways you can get tooth decay

1. Sugar high

A diet rich in sugars leads to the conversion of leftover sucrose, glucose and fructose into acids that cause cavities. Avoid frequent snacking on too much candy, treats and soft drinks.

2. Saliva drought

Insufficient or low saliva production due to certain medical conditions or medications can also lead to tooth decay. Saliva is needed to dilute the sugars in our diet as well as wash them away. Patients with chronically dry mouths often have higher incidences of cavities.

3. Diabetes

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Uncontrolled diabetics may also have more tooth decay as the sugars may be secreted in saliva leading to the easy formation of cavities.

4. Weak Teeth

Some people’s teeth are also ‘weaker’ and they may suffer from problems in enamel mineralization during their teeth formation. This makes the teeth more susceptible to decay.

5. Gum Diseases

Gum disease due to smoking or poor oral hygiene leads to gum recession. This shrinkage exposes the roots of the teeth which are made of dentine and do not have the protective enamel layer. Dentine decays more easily and faster than enamel, so this is another reason to quit smoking.

6. Lack of Fluoride


Fluoride prevents tooth decay and people who do not use fluoride toothpaste may see an increase in cavities.

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7. Poor Oral Hygiene

Inadequate oral hygiene measures such as daily brushing, flossing and regular dental check-ups and cleaning can lead to cavities.

By Dr Chin Shou King, Dental Surgeon, T32 Dental Centre.

This article was first published in The New Age Parents e-magazine.

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