featured image showing rotten teeth having worms in it.

During childhood, We all loved to eat candies, chocolates and many other things. At those times, Our parents used to scare us by saying that our teeth would get worms in them if you don’t stop eating these sweet luxuries.┬áMy workspace regularly sees patients complaining of rotten teeth having worms. Is it even a reality? Let’s dig deeper into it to know more about tooth worms.┬á

Do rotten teeth have worms?

The main question is, do worms in teeth exist? I have often seen patients talking about worms in their teeth. More precisely, they talk about tooth worms. So what are these tooth worms? Are these tooth worms the reason for tooth decay? Let’s dig a little deeper into it.┬á

What are tooth worms? 

Tooth worms have been a misconception in layman for a long time. It is fed in our minds by our elders that a tooth is eaten by worms living in it. But the reality is something different. 

Although in rare cases, i.e. 1/5000, you can see real worms in the patient’s mouth. These worms are maggots found in patients with extremely poor oral hygiene. Teeth are not eaten by any worms but result from poor oral hygiene.┬á

The main cause of teeth rot is Streptococcus Mutans. Streptococcus Mutans is a bacteria which cultivates over teeth and feed on them. Now the question arises what those worm-looking structures in rotten teeth are? 

Worm-looking structures in the rotten teeth  

Worm looking structures in teeth's descriptive image

People often see worm-looking structures in their rotten/decayed teeth. These structures are not worms but dentinal tubules. 

What are dentinal tubules?

A tooth’s anatomy comprises various parts in it. One of them is dentin. Dentin is the inner portion of a tooth layered below enamel (The outermost white portion). Dentin is yellowish and tubular, which gives a worm-like appearance.┬á ┬á

Preventive measures to be taken

Let’s learn some basic preventive measures to avoid rotten teeth.┬á

1. Brush regularly 

2. Avoid sticky & sweet foods 

3. Floss regularly 

4. Get regular dental checkups every 6 months. 


So if you are afraid that your teeth have caught worms, then be calm; this is not the case. But you should soon get an appointment with a nearby dentist to get it treated, as rotten teeth can lead to various other issues such as headaches, sepsis, stroke or even death and that can be more destructive.

  1. https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/mouth-and-teeth-anatomy/what-are-dentin-tubules