Dental Caries

Home » Conditions » Dental Caries

What are dental caries

Dental caries, also known as decay or cavities of the teeth, is defined by the erosion of the enamel and in some cases the dentin will start to decay also. Decay is the result of bad bacteria that fester on the surface of the tooth and start to break down the tooth causing it to rot.

What causes dental caries

Dental caries can be caused by a host of reasons:

  • Consuming food and drink containing sugar, starchy and acidic food types.
  • Improper care of the mouth by not brushing or flossing.
  • Plaque build-up on the teeth.
  • Acid reflux disease can carry acids from the stomach, wearing down the teeth.

How to prevent dental caries

Dental caries can be prevented by prioritising the cleaning of the teeth. We have also compiled other best practices to help prevent decay of the teeth:

  • Flossing once a day, followed by brushing twice a day. When brushing utilise a fluoride toothpaste, and gently scrub each side of the tooth’s surface. Spit out your toothpaste but do not rinse the mouth as this negates the positive effects of the fluoride.
  • Avoid smoking and drinking, if you struggle with either, there is help available in supporting you quitting.
  • Reducing your intake of starchy, acidic and sugary food and drinks. Use sugar-free medicines also.
  • Attending your regular dentist appointments every 6-12 months.

How to treat dental caries

Dental caries are treated in various ways depending on the severity of the cavity, here are some of the most common treatments:

In the beginning stages of tooth decay, the dentist may provide you with a mouthwash which helps treat the tooth with fluoride, strengthening the enamel. The dentist may varnish the teeth with a fluoride gel, which also strengthens the tooth enamel.

A filling is the most likely treatment for tooth decay. The dentist will file and drill the decay away carefully, leaving the still intact tooth beneath. During the process, the assistant nurse will be vacuuming the excess of water, saliva and debris. The dentist will then fill the cleaned cavity of the tooth with a filling, the material will vary from person to person.

For more severe circumstances where the decay has reached the pulp of the tooth, the dentist will perform a root canal. A root canal cleans the canal of the tooth, removing all of the bacteria. The tooth is then closed up by filling the space with filling materials or in some cases a crown may be applied.

In extreme cases of dental caries, the dentist may extract the tooth to prevent any severe long-term damage or spread.

How to spot dental caries/ symptoms

Dental caries are easy to spot due to their appearance, which is defined as black, brown or chalky beige colouration. The area may appear to have a hole or a fissure that is discoloured and texturally will feel irregular when running the tongue along the damaged tooth.  Physically the tooth may become sensitive to hot and cold food and drinks or movement like chewing or brushing the tooth.


Where are we?

Just a short-walk from the nearest tube and DLR stops, German Dental is conveniently situated in the City of London, opening Monday-Friday from 10am-6pm for appointments.


German Dental Clinic
1-3 College Hill
Lower Ground


Nearby Tube Stations

Cannon Street

Cannon Street

0.2 miles


0.4 miles


0.4 miles

  • Patient Registration

    Use this online web form to request to become a new patient of German Dental Clinic.