Dental Caries (DC)
Tooth decay; Cavities
Tooth decay is a breakdown of teeth due to activities of bacteria. The cavities may be a number of different colors from yellow to black. Symptoms may include pain and difficulty with eating. Complications may include inflammation of the tissue around the tooth, tooth loss, and infection or abscess formation. The cause of caries is bacterial breakdown of the hard tissues of the teeth (enamel, dentin and cementum). This occurs due to acid made from food debris or sugar on the tooth surface. Simple sugars in food are these bacteria's primary energy source and thus a diet high in simple sugar is a risk factor. If mineral breakdown is greater than build up from sources such as saliva, caries results.