3 min read

If teeth are the hardest part of the human body, why do they decay?

Everyone’s mouth has thousands of bacteria and the action of bacteria in the foods causes tooth decay. Plaque is a sticky colorless film that develops constantly on your teeth.

The bacteria in this plaque survive on the food we eat especially the foods that are broken into two simple sugars.  Foods that are high carbohydrates in pasta, bread, milk, dried fruit, juices, and sweetened drinks are the foods that plaque loves (just like we do). As the plaque digest the sugars, the chemical reaction produces an acid.

What is the process of decay?

The first visible sign of tooth decay is white or brown spots on the tooth surface.  Tooth decay starts when the acid dissolves the minerals in the enamel layer of your teeth.

Saliva is supposed to balance the effect of acid and wash away bacteria, neutralize the acid, and replace the minerals that were lost.  When we eat too many sugary or starchy foods (like we usually do in South Louisiana) the saliva can’t keep up. The bacteria begin to accumulate into plaque.

These accumulations of plaque keep saliva away from the tooth surface. Eventually, the acids create a hole in the enamel layer of your tooth. This hole is a cavity. There are many areas of our mouth that are especially at risk for accumulating plaque. These areas include the grooves in the biting surfaces of teeth, the areas in between teeth, areas along the gum line, and anywhere there is an exposed tooth root.

There is good news; you can avoid decay.

There are simple actions you can take to remove plaque from your teeth, slow acid production, and even strengthen tooth enamel. Here are the best tips from our office:
  • Cut down on acid production by reducing the sugary and starchy foods in your diet.
  • Limit the number of times you eat each day.
  • Brush after meals and floss at least once a day to get the plaque trapped between the teeth.
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste. The fluoride will strengthen tooth enamel.
  • If you can’t brush rinse with water to help wash away food and bacteria.
  • Chew sugarless gums to stimulate the saliva.  Gum sweetened with Xylitol inhibits Decay-causing bacteria.
  • Make an appointment with Dr. Corkern regularly.
We believe we are the best dental office in Baton Rouge and that everyone deserves good oral health.  Call our office today to schedule your appointment. Until next time. . .


The affordable, Baton Rouge local, and professional dental practice of Dr. Marc Corkern provide pain-free, exceptional dental care, oral health, and patient education. We are dedicated to providing comprehensive dental treatment including developing a personal dental plan which includes ongoing hygiene care and periodic exams. We make every effort to educate patients about the benefits and advantages of appearance-related dentistry.
Sources used
“How Teeth Decay” Patterson Dental Supply 2012

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