Tooth Decay - Description

Tooth decay is the second most common health problem after the common cold (see common cold entry). By some estimates, more than 90 percent of people in the United States have at least one cavity; about 75 percent of people get their first cavity by the age of five.

Anyone can get tooth decay. However, children and the elderly are the two groups at highest risk. Other high-risk groups include people who eat a lot of starch and sugary foods; people who live in areas without fluoridated water (water with fluoride added to it); and people who already have other tooth problems.

Tooth decay is also often a problem in young babies. If a baby is given a bottle containing a sweet liquid before going to bed, or if parents soak the baby's pacifier in sugar, honey, or another sweet substance, bacteria may grow on the baby's teeth and cause tooth decay.

A mixture of mercury, silver, and other metals used to make fillings for cavities.
The medical term for tooth decay.
A hole or weak spot in tooth enamel caused by decay.
The middle layer of a tooth.
The hard, outermost layer of a tooth.
A chemical compound that is effective in preventing tooth decay.
A thin, sticky film composed of sugars, food, and bacteria that covers teeth.
The soft, innermost layer of a tooth.
A thin plastic substance that is painted on teeth to prevent cavities from developing.

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic:

The Content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of Content found on the Website.