Top 6 Causes of Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is a common dental problem but also one of the most difficult to remove or treat once it sets in. It is, therefore, no big surprise to find so many people walking around with teeth in different stages of decay.


Modern science has come up with many solutions to this particular problem, and the choice of the best treatment is entire upon the person who is being treated.

That said it is important to point out that the most important factor that should be considered when choosing the right treatment for tooth decay is the reason behind the decay itself.

Also Read: Foods that prevent tooth decay

Some cases are easy to treat, and the decay stops immediately after while other causes are more complex and require a lot more input in the way of treatment.​

Tooth decay can be accompanied by visible, physical symptoms or it may take place internally with no visible outward symptom. One of the most visible symptoms of tooth decay and among the easiest to spot is tooth discolor oration or staining.​

The tooth discoloration need not necessarily be a direct result of the tooth decay and may have accrued simply because the factors that cause the decay are pretty similar to the factors that cause the tooth discoloration. The top 6 causes of tooth decay include the following:


Poor Oral Hygiene

Poor oral hygiene is the leading cause of tooth decay all over the world and for very good reason too. When you eat, small particles of food remains get stuck on the surface of the teeth or get caught in the spaces between any two teeth.

If these food particles are left to stay there for long, they will rot and create optimum breeding conditions for bacteria that cause tooth decay.


Brushing the teeth and flossing them gets rid of all these food particles, even the ones hidden deep in between the teeth. It is for precisely this reason that dentists recommend brushing the teeth after every meal and flossing them at least twice every day.


Poor Dental Habits

Some dental habits can encourage the decay of teeth even though they may not be directly responsible for causing the decay.

Poor Dental Habits

For instance, carrying and eating sweets right before bedtime encourages bacteria to grow and breed throughout the night, and it is these bacteria that subsequently cause the decay of the teeth.


Eating the Wrong Diets

This is closely linked to poor dental habits but is classified here separately due to the specific manner in which it causes the decay of the teeth. Some foods, especially foods that have high acid content, interfere with the acid-alkaline balance inside the mouth.

Eating The Wrong Diets

It create conditions that are suitable for the growth and breeding of bacteria which, in turn, end up causing the decay of the teeth.


Grinding of the Teeth

Another common cause of tooth decay is tooth grinding. The frictional force created as the teeth are ground together wears off the tooth enamel, exposing the softer dentin and living tissues below the enamel.

Grinding of The Teeth

When these soft tissues are exposed, they can easily get infected by bacteria, and the result is the decay of the entire tooth.



This is a very common cause of tooth decay especially in children below the age of five years. Trauma in the teeth may result in the cracking of the enamel and the damage of the soft tissues hidden beneath the enamel. Both of these will cause decay of the tooth.


Tooth decay that is caused directly by trauma usually manifests in the form of black stains on the surface of the affected tooth.


Environmental Factors

Research has shown that most people who live next to lakes with salt water and other small saline water bodies tend to have discolored and decayed teeth.

This decay and discoloration have been attributed to the presence of fluorine and chlorine compounds in the atmospheres in these areas.

Environmental Factors

Chlorine and fluorine compounds, in excess quantities, encourage both tooth decay as well as tooth discoloration. This kind of tooth decay is harder to prevent, even with proper oral hygiene.

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