A susceptible tooth surface (1)when attacked by bacteria in the plaque(2) for a continuous span of time (3)using the sugar as a substrate (4)will cause a decay(5). The buffering capacity of the saliva (6) and the amount of fluoride(7) can alter the decay process.
Foods that are rich in sugars and are sticky supply the bacteria with the substrate to generate acids. The longer the food remains on the tooth surface and the more frequent the supply of these high sugar foods, then the greater is the chance of the tooth developing a cavity. It is hence advisable to avoid in-between meal snacks, especially for children.
The tooth surface can be altered by the fluoride. Fluoride replaces the calcium of the tooth and forms a much stronger structure that is resistant to the bacterial attack. Including fluoride in our daily diet in the form of drinking water is beneficial. Fluoride can also be supplied in the tooth paste. In children a routine of topical fluoride application by the dentist has proven to be useful.