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Causes of Tooth decay

Updated on January 11, 2016
The causes of tooth decay in both adults and children.
The causes of tooth decay in both adults and children. | Source


Tooth decay is not an inborn problem but has many causes. The causes of tooth decay in both children and adults are many. In this piece of write-up, to be discussed are the major causes of tooth decay which the world in totality is battling with. Tooth decay as a problem can and has disgraced a lot of people around the globe. Men who would have defended themselves in argument allowed themselves to be won by their opponents because they understood that tooth decay has made their mouth to smell bad and because of that could not speak up to defend themselves.

What are the other names for tooth decay? Other names for tooth decay are dental decay, dental decay, dental caries, and cavities. Whenever any of these words are used, the information is talking about the same thing. So, if your teacher gave you assignment of dental decay, know that he or she is asking about tooth decay.

Before further writing on this topic, let us define what tooth decay is. What is tooth decay? Tooth decay is said to occur when acids in the mouth of any person dissolves the outer layers of the teeth. It can also be defined as the destruction of tooth by dental caries. Another definition of tooth decay is the breakdown of teeth due to the activities of bacteria (Silk 2014).

Before tooth decay starts in the teeth of any human being, have it at the back of your mind that bacteria had first of all acted on the teeth tissue of the victim. So, no bacteria action, no teeth decay. It is when bacteria have acted on the hard tissue around the teeth that people start feeling the symptoms of the problem. The hard tissue around the teeth being referred to is the enamel, dentin and the cementum.

According to the World Health Organization recordings, about 2.43billion people have dental decay in their permanent teeth. This statistics reveals that 36% of the world population suffer from the disease of tooth decay in their permanent teeth. Do you think you are free from this statistics? Maybe you go for teeth screening to find out the truth and device means to prevent it on time if found you are a victim. In some homes, parents feed their children with sweets and candy thinking that they are doing them well. According to the same World Health Organization (WHO), it is estimated that about 60 to 90% school children have dental cavities.

What are the Causes of Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay as one of the major kinds of oral diseases has many causes. Among the causes of tooth decay are as follow:

  • Intake of processes sugary foods;
  • Poor brushing of teeth;
  • Poor oral hygiene; and
  • Alcohol and tobacco consumption.

The intake or consumption of sugary product is one of the major causes of tooth decay.
The intake or consumption of sugary product is one of the major causes of tooth decay. | Source

Intake of processed Sugary Foods

It is not all about consumption of sweets, candy, yogurts, and other sugary foods sold in various market places and shops but about the consequences of all the consumed products. High intake of refined sugar has activated the increase in the rate of tooth decay all over the globe.

In many developed countries of the world, people depend so much on processed foods than the food given in their real state by nature. Industrialization is high in developed nations and we are happy for such development without having much information on its adverse effects on the human race. In United States, Canada, Germany and so many other parts of the developed world, there is high consumption of refined sugary foods which is among the major drivers of tooth decay.

When people take refined sugary foods, the bacteria in the human mouth use the sugar as a source of energy to them. Because of this energy that the bacteria make use of, they attack some parts of human teeth like the enamel and the dentin. As this attack continues, the bearer of the teeth at a point begins to feel some pains as one of the symptoms of tooth decay. This attack by the bacteria which results to tooth decay in some cases can lead to the removal of the teeth of the affected.

Poor brushing of Teeth

This is another cause of tooth decay. In most homes, mothers do not take proper care of the teeth of the children they are handed over by God to train. In the morning when these children wake up to prepare for school, some mothers hand over brush to these children without ensuring that the children brush their teeth properly. Because they are children, they behave like children. They brush their teeth poorly which does not keep the teeth clean. At this state, bacteria can easily grow and destroy the tissue around the teeth.

In adults also, there are those who are always in a haste to brush their teeth before going out for their daily businesses. The food they ate last night might stick on their teeth which they are expected to remove in the morning through proper brushing, yet they are not able to do so because they were in haste. Because of this, the bacteria in human mouth begin to grow slowly and attack the human teeth.

Poor oral hygiene is a call to teeth decay. So, tooth/teeth decay can be caused as a result of poor oral hygiene.
Poor oral hygiene is a call to teeth decay. So, tooth/teeth decay can be caused as a result of poor oral hygiene. | Source

Poor Oral Hygiene

Inadequate oral hygiene is one of the major reasons why people have tooth decay. A situation whereby people are after to go for their daily businesses without considering the fact that they need to meet dentists or experts to inform them on the kind of products they need to use to make their entire mouths be in good state, they are likely to have the disease of tooth decay. When you are seriously after how to maintain oral hygiene, the possibility of having tooth decay will be small.

Alcohol and Tobacco Consumption

Based on the research carried out by research organizations, alcohol and tobacco are drivers of tooth decay. Alcohol and intake of tobacco damage the gum tissue of the teeth. Constant taking of these two can harm the teeth of the consumers. In many occasions, we hear on the radios and through other channels that smokers are liable to die young. It does not only end in dying young but smokers are liable to experience teeth decay and loss.

Some are addicted to tobacco and alcohol that whenever they want to quite, they do not know when they find themselves in it again. People that smoke and drink alcohol regularly are at the risk of having tooth decay disease.


Protect your teeth. Rational human beings will do everything within their power so as not to be found in the list of those that suffer from tooth decay disease. Tooth decay as a disease can be painful and insulting. It has insulted many male youths as they find it difficult to speak to ladies they admire because their teeth smell due to tooth decay disease. In this piece of write-up, discussed are the causes of tooth decay as a global oral disease. The causes of tooth decay according to the author are intake of processes sugary foods, poor brushing of teeth, Poor oral hygiene, and alcohol and tobacco consumption. So, it is important to take note of all these causes to know how to prevent tooth decay.


  • Silk, H (2014), Diseases of the Mouth, 14 (1): 75-90.
  • World Health Organization (WHO) (2012), Oral Health, Fact sheet N0318.
  • Years Lived with Disability (YLDs) for 1160 sequelae of 289 diseases and injuries 1990-2010.


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