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What is Dental Plaque?

 

Everyone develops plaque because bacteria are constantly forming in our mouths. These bacteria use ingredients found in our diet and saliva to grow. Plaque causes cavities when the acids from plaque attack teeth after eating. With repeated acid attacks, the tooth enamel can break down and a cavity may form. Plaque that is not removed can also irritate the gums around your teeth, leading to gingivitis (red, swollen, bleeding gums), periodontal disease and tooth loss. Plaque is a soft, sticky, and colorless deposit that is continually forming on our teeth and gums. Often undetected, plaque attacks the teeth and gums with the acid it produces from bacteria in your mouth. The bacteria use the sugars from foods and beverages along with saliva, to thrive and multiply. This acid attack breaks down the tooth's enamel, causing tooth sensitivity and ending with varying degrees of tooth decay. Plaque is also responsible for gum disease and contributes to bad breath.

Plaque is controlled by brushing and flossing daily at home and during regular cleaning from your dentist or dental hygienist. Reduce plaque by limiting sugar and carbohydrates in your diet.

Plaque accumulates in hard to reach areas of the mouth. If it is not removed daily, it begins to harden into a calcified substance called calculus, also known as tartar. So my recommendation is:

  • Brush thoroughly at least twice a day to remove plaque from all surfaces of your teeth
  • Floss daily to remove plaque from between your teeth and under your gum line
  • Limit sugary or starchy foods, especially sticky snacks
  • Schedule regular dental visits for professional cleanings and dental examinations.
  • During scaling, plaque and tartar are removed from the crown and root of the tooth.

Follow these simple tips for a healthy mouth!