Tooth decay, also known as caries or cavities, is an oral disease that affects many people. Unlike other diseases, however, caries isn't life threatening and is highly preventable, though it affects most people to some degree during their lifetime.
Natural bacteria live in your mouth and form plaque. The plaque interacts with deposits left on your teeth from sugary and starchy foods and produces acids. These acids damage tooth enamel over time by dissolving, or demineralizing enamel, which weakens the teeth and leads to tooth decay.
Foods containing carbohydrates (starches and sugar), such as soda pop, candy, icecream, milk and cake and even some fruits, vegetables, and juices, may contribute to tooth decay.
Dr. James L. Johnson