What is Plaque and Why is it Bad?

what is plaque and why is it bad

Everyone has dental plaque. While it occurs normally, it can be harmful to your mouth if we don’t treat it. In addition, untreated plaque develops into tartar, a harder substance that is difficult to remove. Luckily, regular dentist visits and a good oral hygiene routine can help to prevent tartar, resulting in a healthy smile.

What is Plaque?

Plaque is a sticky film that forms over the teeth when bacteria from the mouth mix and react with sugar and starch found in various foods. The bacteria in plaque produce acids after you eat and drink, which can easily form into tartar if left unmanaged. Tartar is a hard deposit that coats and traps the teeth, leaving your teeth and gums vulnerable to cavities and gingivitis.

What are the Symptoms & Complications of Plaque?

A tell-tail sign of plaque is a fuzzy feeling on the teeth. Some other more severe indicators are bad breath, or tender gums that may bleed after brushing. Plaque can easily lead to tartar buildup, which is when several oral health complications may occur. Tartar can cause cavities, gum disease, tooth decay, tooth loss, or abscessed teeth.

How Can I Prevent It?

Sticking to a consistent oral hygiene routine can prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar. We suggest brushing at least twice a day for two minutes at a time – don’t forget to brush your tongue! Brushing after every meal is ideal. Flossing afterwards with dental floss or a water flosser helps get rid of any food particles or plaque between teeth. Rising with an antiseptic mouthwash will kill the bacteria found in plaque and also freshen your breath.

In addition, making wise food choices, such as chewing sugarless gum, cutting back on starchy or sugary foods, and choosing water over sugary drinks or coffees reduces the production of plaque in your mouth. Lastly, seeing your dentist for regular checkups will leave your mouth plaque free and healthy.

I’m Having Trouble Managing Plaque Buildup – What Can I Do?

Even after a solid oral hygiene routine, you may still struggle with plaque buildup. Visit your dentist! During your appointment, your provider will manually scrape the plaque and tartar from your teeth. They may also recommend the following:

Fluoride Treatments

These treatments slow the production of plaque by killing bacteria in your mouth. This can also help to treat tooth decay.

Dental Sealants

This is a thin, see-through coating painting onto the surface of your teeth to block any plaque or tartar formation.

Dry-Mouth Medication

This medication stimulates saliva production. Saliva contains phosphate, calcium, and bicarbonate, which help to neutralize acids found in plaque.

Call Us Today!

Visit any of our Winn Smiles locations for your next dental checkup! We’d love to help you manage plaque. And, even better, we’re ready to provide the expert cleaning and dental care you need. Call us today to book your next appointment. We’re excited to meet you!

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