Everyone has bacteria in their mouths. The bacteria eat sugars that are left on the tooth, which then creates acid. The acid and the bacteria form plaque on the teeth. This plaque clings to the teeth and holds the acid to the tooth. The acid wears away the tooth. Over time, the acid can lead to tooth decay.
Everyone is at risk for tooth decay. Some things that may raise this risk are:
Having poor dental hygiene
Having high numbers of bacteria in the mouth
Not getting enough fluoride (some communities in the United States add fluoride to drinking water)
Taking medicines that contain sugar or cause dry mouth
Fluoride for prevention of dental caries. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/prevention/fluoride-for-prevention-of-dental-caries. Accessed September 16, 2021.
Statement on early childhood caries. American Dental Association website. Available at: https://www.ada.org/en/about-the-ada/ada-positions-policies-and-statements/statement-on-early-childhood-caries. September 16, 2021.
Tooth decay. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research website. Available at https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/health-info/tooth-decay/more-info. Accessed September 16, 2021.
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