Tooth Decay and How It Develops

The causes of tooth decay are numerous, but can usually be narrowed down to a handful of factors. A lack of proper preventive dentistry, too much of the wrong kinds of foods, and too much time in-between dental checkups are just some of the reasons tooth decay happens.

What is Tooth Decay?

When a patient is asked this question the common answer is usually, “a cavity.” While this is a frequent response, the mystery surrounding tooth decay can easily be solved with a brief lesson on what it is and why it occurs. Tooth decay develops from acids constantly bombarding the outer enamel of the tooth, creating an opening in the tooth enamel. This opening allows bacteria to infect the tooth, causing a hole in its structure known as a cavity.

Preventive Measures and Tooth Decay

The prevention of tooth decay starts at home with brushing a couple of times a day and flossing at least once. This routine can be completed by rinsing your mouth with an anti-bacterial mouthwash, which aids in eliminating the bacteria that your toothbrush and floss miss. Also, visiting your dentist regularly is as important as caring for your teeth at home. Since cavities can be especially difficult to detect with the untrained eye professional examinations and cleanings are invaluable in the detection and treatment of tooth decay.

What Happens Over Time

If tooth decay is left untreated, it can lead to more serious dental conditions, such as tooth abscesses (pus from a cavity that accumulates in a gum pocket) and tooth loss. Not only are these conditions painful, but they can become dangerous to the rest of your oral health if not prevented.


Dr. Quinn Smith is a well-respected and highly experienced general, restorative, and family dentist in Grand Prairie, TX. He takes a patient-first approach that starts from the moment patients enter our Pecan Tree Dental office, and he offers a three-year guarantee on all dental work that he performs. Whether you and your family are new or returning patients, you can schedule a consultation or your next appointment with Dr. Smith by contacting us at (972) 262-5111.