What is Plaque?
Plaque is a sticky biofilm that develops on teeth because of the bacteria that naturally live in the mouth. As scary as it sounds, it happens to everyone. If you have to deal with plaque, what you do about it determines how healthy your teeth and gums are. When left alone, plaque on teeth turns into tartar and can increase your risk for cavities or gum disease.
What Causes Plaque on Teeth?
Your mouth contains many bacteria that collect on the surfaces of your teeth and create this bacterial film, which often starts at the gum line. The development of plaque is completely normal and, to most dentists, to be expected. It is when the bacteria mixes with sugar and produces acids that a problem develops. If you eat a lot of sugary or sweet foods – or those that contain many simple carbohydrates – the bacteria in your mouth feed on these sugars if you let them linger on the surface of your teeth.
Why Should I Care About Plaque?
Tooth decay and cavities are the first two problems that can occur if plaque on teeth is left to build up. Acids that wear away your teeth's enamel lead to tooth decay, and if these acids are not cleaned off, they can continue through the dentin to the pulp of the tooth. Ignoring this plaque can eventually lead to the development of an abscess or bacterial infection inside the teeth,
How Can I Prevent Plaque Buildup?
It is easy to prevent plaque buildup with proper care:
- 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, where your toothbrush may not reach
- Limit sugary or starchy foods, especially sticky snacks
- Schedule regular dental visits for professional cleanings and dental examinations by a Toledo family dentist like Dr. Natalie Nechvatal
Contact Light Touch Dental Care to schedule your regular dental visit at our Toledo area office.