What is Plaque?
If you have ever run your tongue over your teeth late in the day and felt a “fuzzy” film along the surface of your teeth, then you have experienced dental plaque. This plaque is the leading cause of most dental issues – both small and large. Plaque is laden with bacteria that causes cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease if it is not removed on a daily basis through brushing and flossing. Understanding exactly what dental plaque is and how it harms your teeth will help you have the knowledge to combat its assault.
There are millions of bacteria living inside your mouth every single day. These bacteria try to “help” you out by breaking down the tiny food particles that are left behind inside your mouth after you eat. However, as these bacteria go to work, they use the sugars in your foods to produce acids in order to assist them in the breakdown process. It is the production of acids that eat away at the tooth enamel, and repeated attacks cause the enamel to break down and the gum tissues to become infected.
Due to the fact that plaque exists inside your mouth because you eat and drink every day, it is imperative that you take the proper means of practicing good oral hygiene on a daily basis. While brushing the teeth at least twice a day is essential to keeping your mouth clean and your breath fresh, flossing daily is even more critical. Floss cleans the tight spaces between the teeth where toothbrush bristles cannot reach and saliva does not help to rinse away particles in the mouth. Plaque is constantly growing in your mouth, and if it is allowed to harden it turns into tartar buildup – which is permanently attached to the teeth until it is scraped off at the dentist’s office.
Another way to combat plaque buildup inside your mouth is to eat a well-balanced diet, limiting your sugar intake (because bacteria are more drawn to the sugars in foods), and limiting snacks between meals in order to give bacteria less food particles to work with.
Visiting your dentist on a regular basis, preferably every six months, will allow your teeth to be thoroughly cleaned recurrently in order to prevent oral health issues. Definition Dental welcomes new patients into our dental practice. We want to help everyone achieve a beautiful, healthy smile that will last a lifetime. Call today.