Tooth Structure The hard, outer layer of your teeth is called enamel. When there is destruction to the hard surface, tooth decay appears. There is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth called Plaque. When you eat sugary foods and drinks, these sugars and plaque produce an acid that attack enamel. The stickiness in the plaque keeps the acids in contact with your teeth. As time goes on, the enamel can break down causing cavities to form. A cavity is a little hole in your tooth.

Typically, cavities are more common with children and aging adults. Gum recession, combined with gum disease, can expose tooth roots to plaque. Cementum, a softer tissue than enamel, covers tooth roots. This cementum is more likely to decay as well be more sensitive to touch and to hot and cold. People over the age of 50 are more likely to have tooth root decay.

Due to the fact that many older adults were without the benefits of fluoride and modern day preventative dental care when they were children and teens, they now have many dental fillings. Over the years, the fillings can weaken, fracture and leak around the edges. Plaque bacteria accumulate in these tiny crevices causing a buildup of acid which can cause additional decay.

You can help prevent tooth decay by following these tips:

These details are brought to you from the American Dental Association. Please visit for more information.