Dental cavities (also called “caries”) are holes or structural damage in the teeth. It is normally caused by decay. This decay is brought on by the presence of bacteria, acid, food pieces, and saliva, which combine to form plaque which sticks to the teeth.
The acids in the plaque then damage the enamel covering the teeth and form holes. Left untreated, the decay can reach the center of the tooth (the pulp), affecting the nerve, causing great pain, abscesses, and possible tooth fracture and loss.
Tooth decay is especially common with infants and young children who are left with a bottle containing sweetened drinks for extended periods of time or while sleeping.