Cavity/Tooth Decay Stages Symptoms Remedies

Our teeth are very strong, but sensitive parts. String because they can help you bite and grind very hard food, but at the same time cavity can happen because of continuous decay of teeth by bacteria. To understand tooth decay, it causes first you will need to know the basic structure of our teeth, after knowing the structure we can easily understand tooth decay.

First, we need to see what does a cavity looks like?

what does a cavity look like
This is a type of tooth decay or cavity

Now let’s understand more about the teeth.

 It has 4 layers;- Enamel, Dentin, Cementum, Dental pulp.

  • Enamel is the hardest and most highly mineralized substance of the body. 96% of enamel consists of mineral, with water and organic material comprising the rest. It is one of the four major tissues which make up the tooth, along with dentin, cementum, and dental pulp.
  • Dentin is the substance between enamel or cementum and the pulp chamber.  The dentin  is made up of 70% inorganic materials, 20% organic materials, and 10% water by weight, because it is softer than enamel, it decays more rapidly and is subject to severe cavities if not properly treated, but dentin still acts as a protective layer and supports the crown of the tooth.  
  • Cementum is a specialized bone like substance covering the root of a tooth. It is approximately 45% inorganic material (mainly hydroxyapatite), 33% organic material (mainly collagen) and 22% water. Its coloration is yellowish, and it is softer than dentin and enamel. The principal role of cementum is to serve as a medium by which the periodontal ligaments can attach to the tooth for stability.
  • The dental pulp is the central part of the tooth filled with soft connective tissue. This tissue contains blood vessels and nerves that enter the tooth from a hole at the apex of the root. The pulp is commonly called “the nerve” of the tooth.

There are 4 main types of teeth in the human body.

  1. Molar
  2. Pre- molar
  3. Canine
  4. Incisor

Humans usually have 20 primaries (“baby” or “milk”) teeth and 32 permanent (adult) teeth. Teeth are classified as incisors, canines, premolars (also called bicuspids), and molars. Incisors are primarily used for cutting, canines are for tearing, and molars are for grinding.

After knowing the structure of teeth, let’s discuss tooth decay.

What is tooth decay?

Tooth decay is an infection in the teeth that damages the structure of the teeth. It is a slow and painless process at the start, but when the infection reaches your muscle it causes unbearable pain.

Tooth decay is also called “Dental caries” in medical language, and in the normal language, it is also called dental cavities.

Types of tooth decay

The tooth cavity affects all layers of teeth.  It takes about 3 years to forms a cavity in the stronger layer of the tooth.  Cavities spread quickly in dentin and pulp. There are the following types of tooth decay;-

  1. Smooth surface tooth decay
  2. Fissure decay
  3. Root decay

Smooth surface tooth decay

It occurs in the enamel. It progresses slowly. It can be prevented by changes in food habits and treatment. It occurs in people who have just entered their 20s.

Fissure decay

Cavities form on the top part of the tooth’s chewing surface. Decay also can affect the front side of back teeth. Pit and fissure decay tends to start during the teenage years and progresses quickly.

Root decay

Older adults who have receding gums are more prone to root decay. Gum recession exposes the tooth’s root to plaque and acid. Root decay is difficult to prevent and treat.

How common is tooth decay

Worldwide, approximately 3.6 billion people have dental caries in their permanent teeth. In baby teeth, it affects about 620 million people or 9% of the population. In the United States, dental caries is the most common chronic childhood disease, being at least five times more common than asthma.

Who has chances to get tooth decay?

Almost everyone got tooth decay at any age. However, adults and children have more chances to get tooth decay. Between 29% and 59% of adults over the age of 50 get caries.

Symptoms of tooth decay

There are the following symptoms of tooth decay;-

  • Bad odor of the breathe
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Bleeding gums
  • Toothache
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Redness around the mouth or inside the mouth
  • The earliest sign of a new carious lesion is the appearance of a chalky white spot on the surface of the tooth, indicating an area of demineralization of enamel.  
  • Staining in the enamel area
  • Teeth become soft to the touch
  • Red and swollen gums
  • Pain on biting
  • Swollen face

Causes of tooth decay

There are the following common causes of tooth decay;-

  1. Bacteria
  2. Exposer to acidic conditions
  3. Excessive sugar intake


The most common bacteria associated with dental cavities are the mutans streptococci. This is driven by local environmental change, such as frequent sugar intake or inadequate biofilm removal (toothbrushing).  If left untreated, the disease can lead to pain, tooth loss, and infection.

Streptococcus mutans are gram-positive bacteria that constitute biofilms on the surface of teeth. These organisms can produce high levels of lactic acid following fermentation of dietary sugars and are resistant to the adverse effects of low pH, properties essential for cariogenic bacteria. As the cementum of root surfaces is more easily demineralized than enamel surfaces, a wider variety of bacteria can cause root caries.

Exposer to acidic conditions

After meals or snacks, the bacteria in the mouth metabolize sugar, resulting in an acidic by-product that decreases pH. As time progresses, the pH returns to normal due to the buffering capacity of saliva and the dissolved mineral content of tooth surfaces. During every exposure to the acidic environment, portions of the inorganic mineral content at the surface of teeth dissolve and can remain dissolved for two hours.

Excessive sugar intake

Bacteria in a person’s mouth convert glucose, fructose, and most commonly sucrose (table sugar) into acids such as lactic acid through a glycolytic process called fermentation. If left in contact with the tooth, these acids may cause demineralization, which is the dissolution of its mineral content. The process is dynamic, however, as remineralization can also occur if the acid is neutralized by saliva or mouthwash.

Risk factors

There are the following risk factors that are responsible for tooth decay;-

  •  Too much sugar consumption
  • Not to do brush properly
  • Not keeping proper hygienic conditions
  • Family history of cavities
  • Previous radiation therapy to treat head and neck cancer. Don’t have enough saliva, because of medicines, certain diseases, or some cancer treatments.
  • Don’t get enough fluoride
  • Eating disorders
  • Consumption of alcohol
  • Taking certain medications like antidepressants.

Tips to prevent tooth decay

There are the following easy tips that can be effective against tooth decay;-

Use fluoride toothpaste:-  Fluoride, a naturally occurring mineral, helps prevent cavities and can even reverse the earliest stages of tooth damage. Because of its benefits for teeth, fluoride is added to many public water supplies. It’s also a common ingredient in toothpaste and mouth rinses.

Don’t take too much sugar or alcohol:-  Whenever you eat or drink beverages other than water, you help your mouth bacteria create acids that can destroy tooth enamel. If you snack or drink throughout the day, your teeth are under constant attack.

Don’t use bottled water:-  Most public water supplies have added fluoride, which can help reduce tooth decay significantly. If you drink only bottled water that doesn’t contain fluoride, you’ll miss out on fluoride benefits.

Take vitamin C abundantly:-   vitamin C is too effective to treat mouth and tooth problems. By taking vitamin C, the chances of getting tooth decay can be a deficit.

Rinse your mouth after a meal:-   It is a very basic tip that can demolish the chances of tooth decay.

After taking any snack or meal, the rinsing of the mouth can be a very important tip.

People always forget to rinse their mouth after meals, or they skip intentionally. That can open a way to enter and growth of bacteria in the teeth region, resulting in tooth decay.

Picture showing a tooth decay

Home remedies for tooth decay

There are the following home remedies that are easily found and can be used without any side effects;-

Neem For Cavity

Neem has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, it can actually help in cleaning your teeth better and reduce plaque buildup in the long term.

How to use Neem

Boil a bunch of neem leaves in water till the quantity is reduced to one-fourth. Gargle with this concoction to naturally kill the bacteria present in the mouth, make the teeth whiter, and stave off bad breath.

Clove oil for Tooth decay

It is a very ancient home remedy for tooth decay. Clove is very effective in relieving the problem of tooth decay. It has antifungal, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties which are also beneficial in reducing pain in the teeth. These properties help in reducing the sensation caused by a cavity.

How to use clove oil

Apply a small amount of clove oil to the affected area or put 2-3 drops in the same place.

Saltwater for Cavities

 It Is known to have antiseptic and antibacterial properties that help treat cavities. It can reduce inflammation, ease pain, draw out any infection and prevent the growth of bacteria in the mouth.

How to use saltwater

Mix a tablespoon of salt with warm water and rinse your mouth with it.

This method should be used only at night.

Guava leave for Caries

Guava leaves are rich in antimicrobial properties, which are beneficial in preventing cavities.

How to use guava leaves

It can be used as a mouth wash by adding crushed leaves to boiling water. Use the mixture as a mouth wash.


To maintain oral health, one must consume one piece of garlic on an empty stomach every day. Garlic is an essential item to maintain one’s oral health. Garlic helps in getting rid of tooth pain as it kills bacteria.

Check More: Remedies for Whitening teeth at home

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