Tooth decay (caries) is a common problem affecting teeth, and affects people of all ages. There are bacteria which live in plaque, and make it very sticky. These bacteria feed on sugars which come from food and drink (such as sucrose, glucose and fructose), and produce acids. The acids they produce can damage the tooth’s surface by softening it (dissolving away the minerals in the tooth’s outer surface which is called enamel).
Each time something sweet is eaten or drunk, plaque bacteria produce more acids, which attack the tooth’s enamel again and softens it further. Left untreated, the process can lead to severe damage to the enamel, holes in the teeth and even abscess.