A disease affecting the hard tissues of the teeth resulting in progressive decay. Bacteria that accumulate in a dense mass known as plaque on the surface of the teeth ferment dietary carbohydrates (see fermentation) to form acids that de-mineralise the hard tissues underneath. Hence, cariogenicity refers to the capacity of a food or drink to lead to caries in those who consume it. Periodontal disease is a related bacterial infection that affects the softer supporting tissues of the teeth.
Source: Biotechnology Glossary