What causes a cavity and abscess? Video

One formula dentists use for cavities is carbohydrates plus bacteria plus teeth. Your mouth is home...
Read the full transcript »

One formula dentists use for cavities is carbohydrates plus bacteria plus teeth. Your mouth is home to thousands of bacteria of different types. Many are not harmful but some can be highly destructive. One type that thrives in an oral environment and is often present in large quantities is the mutans streptococcus group. When you eat carbohydrates, so do they. And they metabolize carbs into acid, which can strip minerals from the tooth's outer layer. Over time this process, known as demineralization, can extend through the enamel into the dentin and then the core or pulp, which contains nerves and blood vessels. Bacteria can then move in as well. When a bacterial infection at the center causes pus to collect, a person is said to have a tooth abscess. Sometimes the pulp dies. The infection can spread to the gums, cheek, jaw, throat, and facial bones.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement