Did you know plaque is the leading cause of gum disease and can cause many issues if you ignore it? If you want to keep your teeth healthy, you need to learn how to prevent, identify, and treat plaque!
This article will explain plaque, who is most likely to get it, common causes, preventative measures, and treatments. After reading, you’ll know precisely how to maintain excellent oral health and keep plaque away!
What is Dental Plaque?
Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that constantly forms on your teeth and gums and is known to be the root cause of many oral problems. If plaque isn't removed frequently, it can harden, leading to health issues.
Who Gets Plaque?
Everyone gets plaque! However, some people are more susceptible to plaque buildup than others. For example, people who have diabetes, smokers, pregnant women, and those with poor oral hygiene tend to have more problems with plaque.
What Causes Plaque?
Plaque is formed when the bacteria and acids in your mouth mix with foods high in sugar or starch, such as soda, bread, pasta, and candies. Eventually, if you don’t properly clean your teeth after eating, the mixture of bacteria, acids, and food particles mix and create plaque. Not enough saliva can also lead to plaque because saliva helps protect your teeth from acids.
Symptoms or Signs of Plaque
The first symptom of plaque is typically a fuzzy feeling on your once smooth teeth. However, you may not have any symptoms or signs until the plaque has hardened into tartar. Other common symptoms and signs include:
- Gum Inflammation
- Bad Breath
- White Spots on Your Teeth
- Fuzzy Feeling Teeth
Complications of Plaque
It’s critical to brush your teeth 2x a day and floss daily to prevent plaque from hardening! If plaque isn't removed, it hardens into tartar, a rough and porous build-up that can lead to severe gum disease. According to Humana, most plaque hardens within 48 hours of formation, and within several days it will become so hard it’s nearly impossible to remove. Failure to remove plaque and tartar can lead to:
- Gum Disease
- Tooth decay
- Tooth loss
- Periodontal Disease
How Is Plaque Diagnosed?
Plaque is usually diagnosed during a routine dental exam. First, your dentist or dental hygienist will examine your teeth and gums to look for plaque. They may use a disclosing solution, staining plaque, so it's easier to see. Another method is using a UV plaque light.
How Can I Prevent Plaque?
Good oral hygiene is the best way to prevent plaque. For example, brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and using an antibacterial mouthwash will help prevent plaque build-up. It's also important to see your dentist every six months for professional cleanings. Try Doctor Plotka's Antimicrobial Toothbrushes with Flossing Bristles and the new 100% Natural Whitening Toothpaste with Propolis for great results.
If you have plaque, your dentist will remove it with a professional cleaning. The cleaning involves using special instruments to remove the plaque from your teeth. You may also need to have tartar removed if it has already formed. After your teeth are cleaned, continue to practice good oral hygiene to prevent plaque from coming back!
Plaque can be a severe problem if not taken care of, but fortunately, it's easy to prevent and treat. Just remember to brush, floss, and see your dentist regularly. Thanks for reading!