Cavities are caused when the teeth begin to decay due to food being left on the teeth. The bacteria in your mouth produce acid and become plaque, which eats away at the teeth. A dentist can tell if you have a cavity if the tooth is soft when touched by a dental instrument. Treatments include fillings for common cavities and crowns for advanced tooth decay. Follow the links below to find WebMD's comprehensive coverage about how a cavity is caused, what it looks like, how to treat it, and much more.
How to Prevent Tooth Decay
Learn helpful tips from WebMD on fighting tooth decay and cavities.
Your Teeth and Cavities
Cavities happen as a result of tooth decay. Learn more about cavities and taking care of your teeth.
Plaque and Your Teeth
WebMD explains tooth plaque and why it can harm your teeth.
Tooth Decay-Topic Overview
Is this topic for you?This topic provides information on tooth decay and cavities. If you are looking for information on: Gum disease, see the topic Gum Disease. Toothaches, see the topic Toothache and Gum Problems. Dental checkups and how to care for your teeth, see the topic Basic Dental Care. What is tooth decay?Tooth decay is damage that occurs when germs (bacteria) in your mouth make acids that eat away at a tooth. It can lead to a hole in the tooth, called a cavity. If not treated, tooth decay can cause pain, infection, and tooth loss. A tooth has three layers. The hard outer layer is called enamel. The middle layer is called dentin. The center of the tooth is called the pulp. It contains nerves and blood vessels. The more layers that are affected by decay, the worse the damage. What causes tooth decay?Bacteria and food can cause tooth decay. A clear, sticky substance called plaque is always forming on your teeth and gums. Plaque contains bacteria that feed on the sugars in
Myths and Facts About Cavities
The fear of cavities has been with us since we were kids. Still, we sometimes get confused about the facts and myths that surround these "holey" terrors.
How to Pick the Right Fillings for Your Teeth
These are the materials that are used to fill cavities in teeth, plus how to choose the kind that's right for you.
Don’t Cut Plaque Any Slack
Want to attack tooth plaque and keep it from coming back? Here’s how you can.
Oral Health: The Mouth-Body Connection
Find out why the health of your mouth just may help protect you from diseases of the body.
Slideshows & Images
The Teeth (Human Anatomy): Diagram, Names, Number, and Conditions
WebMD's Teeth Anatomy Page provides a detailed diagram and definition of the teeth, inlcuding types, names, and parts of the teeth.
Slideshow: 15 Common Dental Problems and Tooth Diseases
These tooth problems -- including chipped teeth, cracked teeth, impacted teeth, hyperdontia, cavities, and stained teeth -- can be fixed. This WebMD slideshow explains.
Slideshow: Top Problems in Your Mouth
Sores, painful gums, bad breath -- what’s going on in your mouth? Found out with our slideshow of the most common mouth problems.
Slideshow: Oral Health -- Top Tips for Beautiful Teeth and Gums
See ways to keep your smile bright and gums healthy. Get simple eating, flossing, and brushing tips for white teeth.