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
For some people, even with excellent oral hygiene, there are areas that naturally collect more plaque bacteria than others. Why does that matter? Because those areas in your mouth can quickly begin to decalcify, erode, and develop tooth decay, gum disease, bone loss and even the loss of your teeth. Let’s talk about where these “trouble” spots are, and what you can do about them:
It’s true, crooked and crowded teeth are more likely to develop plaque and tartar buildup around them than straight teeth are. Why? Because it is more difficult to keep them completely clean. Bacteria lodge in specific spaces that sometimes even good brushing can’t get to. You may want to consider asking your dentist about braces!
Yes, once you get braces you’re also more likely to have some plaque hang out in certain areas. If you have traditional braces, brackets tend to have a small amount of plaque adhere to the edges around them. It’s very important to brush around these thoroughly each day so that you can avoid getting scars shaped like white circles on your teeth after your braces are removed.
Margins of Crowns or Bulky Feelings
Every crown has a small margin around the edge that plaque likes to adhere to. Even though you’ve had the tooth treated for decay doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. It’s possible that new decay can develop! Gently brush along your gumlines and floss around each tooth, especially crowns, to prevent plaque from causing gingivitis or decay.
Under Gumlines, Between Teeth
Even the best toothbrushing in the world won’t clean between your teeth or under gum pockets. That’s why flossing is essential! Wrap your floss around each tooth snugly, and slide up and down under the gums a few times every day.
Posted on behalf of Dan Myers
If you are wondering whether routine dental care including checkups and cleanings are really necessary, the answer is a resounding “Yes”! While modern dentistry has a wide variety of excellent restorative dental techniques to replace missing teeth and repair damaged teeth and gums, by far the most effective dental technique is prevention.
The majority of Americans are missing one or more teeth and ten percent of Americans are missing all of their natural teeth. Missing teeth are especially prevalent among older Americans and studies have shown that tooth loss is linked to a decline in health. Tooth loss, even when addressed with dentures, leads to a poor diet and jaw bone loss.
Despite being almost completely preventable, gum disease is the primary cause of tooth loss in adults. Gum disease is caused by naturally occurring bacteria in the mouth. Bacteria forms plaque, a sticky substance that adheres to tooth surfaces and causes tooth decay. Brushing and flossing removes most plaque, but some plaque will harden into tartar that can only be removed with a professional cleaning by your dentist or dental hygienist.
In addition to attacking the surface of your teeth, plaque and tartar irritate the gums and cause gingivitis and gum disease. Left untreated, gum disease can result in permanent tooth loss.
Regular dental checkups and cleanings are the key to preventing gum disease. Plaque and tartar is removed and your dentist can examine your teeth and gums for signs of gum disease, cavities, and other imperfections. Any cavities or other tooth damage can be repaired while the damage is minor. Otherwise, the tooth damage can progress to the point where the tooth cannot be saved.
The millions of naturally occurring bacteria in our mouths form a sticky film called plaque that adheres to the surfaces of our teeth. Unless this layer of plaque is removed, it hardens and creates tartar (or calculus). Removing plaque before it hardens prevents the formation of tartar and also prevents the bacteria from damaging the teeth and causing cavities. Plaque is easily removed but tartar can only be removed with professional help by a dentist or dental hygienist.
The key to controlling tartar and preventing plaque formation is maintaining healthy habits. By following a few simple habits with consistency, you can avoid plaque build up and have healthier teeth and gums.
Regular brushing with a soft bristle brush is the first habit that will avoid plaque build up. Brush twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque from the surfaces of your teeth.
Flossing once a day will remove plaque from areas where your toothbrush can’t reach. Flossing removes plaque that forms between teeth and at the gumline. Be sure to floss gently to avoid irritating the gums.
Dental cleanings and checkups are important to remove tartar build up. Even those who practice good brushing and flossing habits will have some plaque build up that needs to be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist. Having your teeth cleaned once a year is the minimum and twice a year is even better.
In addition, adding crunchy, healthy foods to your diet can scrape off plaque between brushings. Raw carrots, celery, apples, and other crunchy fruits and vegetables can help keep your teeth free of plaque.
Finally, limit sweets and sugary drinks (especially soft drinks) to limit plaque formation. Bacteria feed on sugars and release acids that can damage your teeth.
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