Plaque is a dental health condition that can cause a lot of oral health issues. Here, we’ll explain what plaque is, how it’s dangerous to your teeth, and how you can prevent it.
Plaque is a clear, sticky, soft biofilm that constantly accumulates on your teeth. Dangerous bacteria are present in plaque and when you eat foods that contain sugar, that bacteria turns these food particles in your mouth into acids. The acids then attack and weaken your tooth enamel.
Plaque is dangerous to your teeth because when the bacteria in plaque wear away at your enamel, your teeth are at risk of developing bad oral health issues such as cavities or tooth decay. If you let the plaque continue to build up, it can transform into tartar. Tartar is a hard, yellow or brown deposit that strongly bond to your tooth’s enamel. As the tartar attaches itself to your enamel, your gum tissue can become swollen and red, and even bleed when you’re brushing your teeth, signaling the beginnings of gingivitis. If the tartar is still not removed, it could eventually lead to periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease that can cause the bone supporting your teeth to break down, your gums to recede, and you might even lose a tooth.
Beyond the oral health related risks of plaque, there has been research that shows a connection between other health issues caused by plaque. These include diabetes, dementia, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and even premature birth. It is supposed that inflammation is the culprit behind these issues as gum disease can cause inflammation throughout the body.
The good news is that you can easily prevent plaque buildup. The best way to keep plaque at bay is to practice good oral hygiene habits. This means brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each, flossing at least once a day, and making sure that you are getting enough fluoride. A healthy diet can also keep plaque at bay because the bacteria in plaque can’t feed off of foods that are low in sugars and carbs.
Another important way to keep plaque from building up is by coming in for regular checkups and cleanings every six months. Contact us to schedule an appointment today!