Plaque is the word you hear every time you get your teeth cleaned or see a toothpaste commercial.
What exactly is plaque, though?
Dental plaque is a natural film that grows on your teeth, gums, and tongue. It’s mainly made up of bacteria that mix with a fluid produced by your gums. Plaque also contains traces of the food you eat. The germs surround themselves in a protective slime layer and feed off the food remnants.
All of that gunk combines into a thin and invisible film called plaque.
If that plaque isn’t frequently removed, the layers will thicken and turn more yellow and cloudy. So if you can see a thick layer of “gunk” on your teeth, that’s a germ metropolis!
Why is plaque bad news?
Besides the obvious fact that plaque makes teeth look dirty and dull, it also poses some serious risks to your gum health.
Bacteria in dental plaque include those responsible for triggering gum inflammation. How severely gums respond to the presence of plaque varies from person to person. But plaque almost always causes gums to swell and become more sensitive.
A little gum inflammation is called “gingivitis.” But if not treated, gingivitis can advance to a serious disease called periodontitis. That’s when the swelling and infection infect bone and ligaments around teeth.
On top of all this, when plaque calcifies with minerals in your saliva, it hardens into that ugly tartar. There’s no way you’re getting that off with a toothbrush! Tartar, or dental calculus, needs professional dental tools to remove it.
Clearly, controlling plaque is important to having healthy gums. Contact your dentist for a gum health evaluation to learn more.
Posted on behalf of:
Manhattan Dental Design
315 W 57th St Suite 206
New York, NY 10019
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