Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Incidence Risk Factors Symptoms Evaluation Treatment specialist Home Care pain in adults pain in children warning signs Prevention Outlook Complications Underlying Cause Anatomy

Dental Cavities Underlying Cause

Bacteria are normally present in the mouth. They convert sugars and starches into acids. A combination of bacteria, acid, food, and saliva form a sticky coating on the teeth, called plaque. The acid in the plaque damages the tooth enamel, which results in the formation of a cavity.

As a cavity grows larger, the acid can reach the nerve inside the tooth and destroy it. Once this happens, the tooth dies and falls out.

Plaque can crystallize to form a very hard coating, called tartar. Plaque and tartar can also cause gingivitis and dental abscesses.

Continue to Dental Cavities Anatomy

Last Updated: Apr 6, 2007 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
Copyright DSHI Systems, Inc. Powered by: FreeMD - Your Virtual Doctor

PubMed Dental Cavities References
  1. Brook I. Microbiology and management of endodontic infections in children. J Clin Pediatr Dent. 2003 Fall;28(1):13-7. [14604136]
  2. Douglass AB, Douglass JM. Common dental emergencies. Am Fam Physician. 2003 Feb 1;67(3):511-6. [12588073]
  3. Preshaw PM. Antibiotics in the treatment of periodontitis. Dent Update. 2004 Oct;31(8):448-50, 453-4, 456. [15554049]
  4. Roberts A. Bacteria in the mouth. Dent Update. 2005 Apr;32(3):134-6, 139-40, 142. [15881508]
  5. Wayne DB, Trajtenberg CP, Hyman DJ. Tooth and periodontal disease: a review for the primary-care physician. South Med J. 2001 Sep;94(9):925-32. [11592756]
FreeMD is provided for information purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for evaluation and treatment by a physician. Please review our terms of use.