We all know that plaque is bad for your teeth. In fact, we hear about it just about every time a toothpaste commercial comes on the television. However, not everyone knows how dangerous it can be to a healthy mouth, or why it is so important to fight this harmful substance. That’s why we’re here to answer your most common questions about plaque and how it impacts your health.
What is plaque?
It’s a colorless, sticky film of such bacteria that forms on your teeth. Your mouth is filled with countless bacteria, both good and bad. Unfortunately for us, plaque consists of millions of harmful bacteria that causes serious oral health issues if left unchecked.
Why is plaque harmful?
Each time you eat, the sugars in your food feed the bacteria in plaque. Once the bacteria takes in these sugars, they excrete acids that break down your dental enamel and irritate your gums. Also, if plaque is not removed with your daily brushing and flossing routine, it can eventually turn into tartar. Tartar is a hardened mineral buildup that can only be removed by a dentist. Not only does it stain easily — causing a dark tint along the gum line — but it also causes gingivitis and, if untreated, gum disease.
What does plaque look like?
You may be surprised to know that it is actually difficult to see. It is colorless and may look like a thick white food deposit. However, drug stores and grocery stores do sell red “disclosing tablets” which stain the plaque on your teeth. Simply chew one and you’ll find where all of it is hiding. Then, you can remove it with thorough brushing and flossing.
How do I know if I have plaque?
The simple answer here is that you definitely do — everyone does! Bacteria are constantly forming in our mouths, and they feed off of the food we consume and the saliva we produce. It is completely normal to have plaque, but it is still important to remove it daily through a good dental hygiene routine.
How can I prevent plaque from forming?
A solid oral healthcare regimen is the best defense:
- First, we recommend that you brush your teeth at least twice a day. Be certain to get those tough to reach places (like the inside surfaces of your teeth), your tongue, and along the gum line.
- Secondly, you’ll want to floss at least once every night to remove any food particles that are stuck between your teeth and gums.
- Finally, we strongly recommend visiting your dentist at College Drive Dental Associates twice a year, where he or she will perform a teeth cleaning and routine check-up to ensure your mouth is in good health.
Ready to start fighting back? Call our dental office in Palos Heights today to schedule an appointment for a routine check-up.