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What causes tooth decay?


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The presence and extent of tooth decay in your mouth depends on the balance of a number of risk factors. This balance varies between different people as well as within the same person over that person’s lifespan. For those people who are at increased risk for caries, regular brushing and flossing alone will not prevent their teeth from decaying. The risk factors for tooth decay are:

  • The amount and type of tooth decay-causing bacteria in your mouth.
  • The ability of your saliva to neutralize or buffer the acid produced by these bacteria.
  • The mineral composition or hardness of your enamel.
  • Your dental home care routine.
  • Your diet.