Dental caries or cavities, more commonly known as tooth
decay, are caused by a breakdown of the tooth enamel.
This breakdown is the result of bacteria on teeth that
breakdown foods and produce acid that destroys tooth
enamel and results in tooth decay.
caries are largely preventable, they remain the most
common chronic disease of children aged 6 to 11 years
and adolescents aged 12 to 19 years. Tooth decay is four
times more common than asthma among adolescents aged 14
to 17 years. Dental caries also affects adults,
with 9 out of 10 over the age of 20 having some degree
of tooth-root decay.
Water fluoridation, named by CDC as one of the ten
great public health achievements of the 20th century,
has been a major contributor to the decline of the rate
of tooth decay. Studies have shown that water
fluoridation can reduce the amount of decay in
children’s teeth by 18-40%.
In addition to fluoridated water, good oral hygiene
can help prevent tooth decay:
- Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
- Clean between your teeth daily with floss or
- Eat nutritious and balanced meals and limit
- Visit your dentist regularly for professional
cleanings and oral examination
- Check with your dentist about use of
supplemental fluoride, which strengthens your teeth,
and about use of dental sealants (a plastic
protective coating) applied to the chewing surfaces
of the back teeth to protect them from decay
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
For more information on tooth decay, see also: