Chemistry of tooth decay

Have you ever wondered why people get cavities even after ensuring that they brush their teeth daily? Your teeth are normally hard, but the enamel is made weak by bacteria and the pressure exerted on it while chewing. When the enamel becomes weak, it results in tooth decay, including cavities.

Generally, we all have bacteria in our mouths, which usually convert foods like starches and sugars into acids. The more common bacteria are lactobacilli and Streptococcus mutans, which produce lactic acid. The bacteria, food remains, lactic acid, and saliva usually combines to form a complex substance known as plague.
The plague formed sticks on surfaces on teeth surfaces, especially above the gums, at the back of your molars, and on any edges that you might have. The lactic acid formed by the plague’s bacteria usually dissolves the enamel slowly, thus forming holes. These wholes are referred to as cavities or dental caries.
After a cavity forms on the enamel, it easily gets through the other layers of the teeth, dentine, and the pulp cavity. On getting to the dental nerves, you begin experiencing a lot of pain hence becoming the start of teeth problems.
When acids in the mouth are extremely high, the PH level drops below five and the acid starts dissolving the calcium. This process is known as demineralization. Calcium phosphate is reacted with hydrogen ions; it undergoes a reversible chemical reaction with phosphoric acid, calcium ions, and water.
The reactants in this reaction are phosphoric acid, calcium ions, and water, all of which are at equilibrium with calcium phosphate crystals. Therefore, when the acid level in the mouth is high, the chemical reaction is usually forced to the right, resulting in more calcium being dissolved. If more of the enamel gets demineralized, the yellow and soft dentine underneath is exposed, which the dentist usually sees on your checkup.
In summary, mouth hygiene is recommended to ensure your teeth remain strong and healthy. Preventive measures such as flossing and brushing are important to prevent the plague from building up. A diet rich in fluoride and calcium also makes the enamel of your teeth stronger.