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What's in a tooth?

Enamel covers the crown and is the hardest tissue in the body.

Dentine constitutes the major part of the tooth and gives teeth their colour.

Pulp is rich in nerves and blood vessels.

What is dental caries?

Dental caries or tooth decay is caused by loss of minerals like calcium and phosphate from the tooth surface. This is called demineralisation. Demineralisation is as a result of acids produced by the bacteria on tooth surfaces attacking enamel. Cavities are caused by prolonged demineralisation.

An early sign of demineralisation may appear as a white spot on the tooth. At this early stage, lost minerals can be replaced with the help of fluoride. If minerals continue to be lost, a hole (cavity) forms in the tooth and a filling is needed to repair the damage.

Tooth decay occurs on the chewing surfaces, the surfaces between the teeth and around fillings. When gums recede decay can also occur on the root surfaces of teeth.

What can you do to prevent caries?

  • Remove plaque thoroughly from all tooth surfaces by daily toothbrushing and flossing or interdental brushing. You may check the effectiveness of your toothbrushing by using disclosing tablets (dyes) which show up remaining plaque  
  • Use a toothpaste with appropriate level of fluoride, twice daily, last thing at night and on one other occasion   
  • Use a soft or medium toothbrush. Brush in a set pattern so that you don?t miss any teeth   
  • Use floss or interdental brushes to clean between the teeth, where cavities often develop (ask your dental professional to show you how)   
  • Check your diet to reduce sugar intake ? especially between meals   
  • If you suffer from a dry mouth, possibly due to medication, talk to your dental professional   
  • Visit your dentist regularly for dental check-ups

How does fluoride work?

Fluoride works in several ways by helping prevent destruction of the tooth surface caused by acids produced by bacteria. It forms a reservoir on the teeth from which fluoride is released during attack. It reduces the loss of minerals from the tooth and promotes repair of early tooth decay.

Why is caries protection important if you have a dry mouth?

Lack of saliva results in a dry mouth. Saliva is body?s natural defence against tooth decay. Saliva washes away acids and replaces lost minerals back onto teeth.

If you lack adequate saliva, your teeth are at greater risk of decay, and wear away more easily. You may also get gum problems. Smoking, caffeine, and some medicines and illnesses that affect the salivary glands may reduce your saliva flow. Avoid sucking on sweets or drinking sugary drinks as this can result in rapid tooth decay. If you suffer from dry mouth, talk to your dental professional.

Effective oral care products for caries protection

Fluoride Toothpaste

Fluoride is needed every day to prevent tooth decay. For most, using toothpaste with the appropriate level of fluoride twice a day will provide adequate protection. Studies have shown that brushing twice a day using fluoride toothpaste reduces the risk of tooth decay much more than brushing only once a day.

Its best if you only spit out the excess toothpaste rather than rinse out with water.

Additional fluoride protection may be needed if the risk of tooth decay is higher, for example if you have dry mouth or have frequent intake of sugary food and drinks. Your dentist may advise additional fluoride in the form of fluoride mouthrinses, high fluoride toothpaste or professionally applied fluoride varnish.


It is important that you remove plaque build up, daily and thoroughly from all tooth surfaces by brushing and flossing. If plaque is not removed each day, it can harden to form calculus (tartar). Once calculus has formed, it will have to be removed by your dental professional. Calculus traps more plaque making it more difficult to keep teeth clean.

Dental floss

Dental floss removes plaque from between teeth where it is hard to reach with your toothbrush. If flossing proves difficult, try interdental brushes. Ask your dental professional to advise what is best suited for you.


Mouthrinses can provide extra fluoride but do not replace the need to brush and floss your teeth daily. To maximise the effect of mouthrinses they should be used at a different time to toothbrushing. Mouthrinses are not recommended for children under 6 years of age.

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GDC websiteSite last updated:

May 2022 


⭐️Please Note ⭐️


🌈During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic we at MediKa Dental are here for you🌈

🚨 If you have a dental emergency that can wait until the next working day please email our team through our website.

🚨If your dental emergency can NOT wait until the next working day please dial 111.

⭐️New Patients can join our practice as Denplan OR Private patients.

⭐️If you are a New Patient seeking NHS treatment please contact 111 OR visit the NHS Choices website to find out more.

⭐️Please note that the phones are incredibly busy during the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic and responding to your call may be delayed.

⭐️Should you choose to leave a voicemail, we would ask that you bear with our team whilst they endeavour to attend to a large number of calls during our opening hours.

⭐️Please note that our practice is closed during the bank holidays and weekends.

⭐️For more information including our opening hours and free access for all to advice on how to manage tooth pain at home please visit our website.

🙏Stay well & safe🙏

💫Team @ MediKa Dental 💫