Localized destruction of the tooth surface initiated by decalcification of the enamel followed by enzymatic lysis of organic structures and leading to cavity formation. If left unchecked, the cavity may penetrate the enamel and dentin and reach the pulp. The three most prominent theories used to explain the etiology of the disease are that acids produced by bacteria lead to decalcification; that micro-organisms destroy the enamel protein; or that keratolytic micro-organisms produce chelates that lead to decalcification.

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Disease Hierarchy

Disease Interacts with Genes