Definition of tooth decay in US English:

tooth decay

noun

  • Decay of the outer surface of a tooth as a result of bacterial action.

    ‘proper oral hygiene practices will go a long way in the prevention of tooth decay’
    • ‘To assist in the prevention of tooth decay, scientists and dental researchers are looking to dental products like gums and toothpastes enriched with minerals.’
    • ‘The stronger the enamel, the more resistant it is to tooth decay, which is why it is important for children to drink plenty of milk, the source of calcium that comes most readily to mind.’
    • ‘The story of fluoridation began in 1928 with Dr McKay's observation that teeth affected by fluorosis (excessive amounts of fluoride in the tooth structure) suffered less tooth decay.’
    • ‘Children miss more than 51 million school hours annually because of dental illness, and children living in poverty suffer twice as much tooth decay as their more affluent peers.’
    • ‘Tooth decay rates have fallen across the world.’
    • ‘"Along with fizzy drinks, sweets are the main cause of tooth decay which affects around half of children in the UK," he fumed.’
    • ‘When introducing food and drink other than milk, try to avoid sweet things as sugar causes tooth decay.’
    • ‘Tooth decay in children is neglected because of the misconception that milk teeth are not important since "they will fall out anyway".’
    • ‘Several medical experts warn that alcohol-based mouthwashes can dry out the mouth, contributing to tooth decay.’
    • ‘In the mid-1950s, researchers identified Streptococcus mutans, a bacterium that lives on teeth and infects most humans on the planet, as the cause of tooth decay.’

Pronunciation

tooth decay

/ˈto͞oTH dəˌkā//ˈtuθ dəˌkeɪ/