Tooth decay usually occurs in children and young adults, but can affect anyone. It is a common cause of tooth loss in younger people. Bacteria is normally present in the mouth and changes food into acids. The combination of bacteria, acids, food debris, and saliva form plaque. If plaque is not removed by proper flossing and brushing, the decay process begins. As the acids in the plaque begin to weaken and dissolve the enamel, holes in the teeth are created. This is what we call cavities. Cavities are usually painless until they grow closer to the nerve or center of the tooth. If left untreated, that decay will destroy your tooth’s enamel, then the internal structure of the tooth. This can result in a lot of pain and require a root canal or extraction to treat.