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One of the most common causes of tooth decay is the build up of dental plaque on the teeth. Dental decay often develops when acids produced by bacteria present in the plaque start to erode the surface of the tooth.
Tooth decay or caries is usually caused by the accumulation of food particles around the sides and in-between the teeth. Not cleaning the teeth adequately after eating and eating sugary foods which tend to form a film across the teeth often leads to decay as these food particles usually give rise to the growth of bacteria.
The bacterial colonization of the teeth usually creates a thin, sticky, colorless film over the teeth - the dental plaque. As soon as food is eaten, its sugar content is utilized by bacteria present in the dental plaque to form acid and this acid slowly dissolves the surface of the tooth or the enamel. This erosion causes the loss of minerals such as calcium and eventually the whole of the enamel may be destroyed, leading to deformed and damaged teeth with cavities.
Typically, the teeth at the back of the mouth are affected first as these are the larger teeth with a greater, flatter surface area. Being located at the back of the mouth, these teeth are also harder to reach and clean so are more likely to harbour bacteria. Front teeth tend to be affected only when the neighbouring teeth are already affected.
Some factors raise the risk of tooth decay. These include: