Dental caries is the most common disease in the world. It is believed that as many as 92% of adults have cavities in the mouth. Caries causing bacteria, Streptococcus mutans, attacks and destroys tooth enamel, dentin and dental nerve (pulp).
After we consume food and drinks, carbohydrates remain in the oral cavity. They bind to plaque and other deposits(bacteria), their decomposition produces acids that lower the pH value under 5.5, which in turn causes enamel demineralization and the penetration and progression of bacteria into deeper structures of the teeth.
Caries is a disease that typically progresses slowly, and if caught on time can be easily treated by removing the caries lesion and placing a filling. If the decay is not treated, it progresses through the enamel into the dentine and eventually reaches the pulp (nerve) causing nerve tissue to die. If we allow caries to progress to that point, it very often it leads to serious damage, causing eventual tooth loss.
During your regular check-ups, a dentist usually notices dental caries which can at that point often be treated easily. The dentist first removes the infected dental tissue and, depending on the degree of damage, can restore the damage caused by caries in many ways.