Dental plaque is a sticky biofilm which is developed in the teeth as a result of existence of bacteria in the mouth. And as you may know, it happens to everyone. In this scenario, how you deal with the dental plaque determines how healthy your teeth and gums are. If this plaque is left untreated, it can lead to the development of tartar which can cause cavities and gum disease.
Causes of dental plaque
Your mouth is filled with various species of bacteria. Some are harmful while some are not. It is completely normal for the harmful bacteria to gather on the surface of the teeth and around the gum line. The real problem occurs when these bacteria get their sustenance in the form of sugar that you eat. As a result, a biofilm is formed. This biofilm is based on the bacteria, sugar or carbohydrates, and the resultant acid which is produced by the bacteria after they feed on the sugar.
Why is it important to care about it?
If the plaque is left to buildup and turn into tartar, it can result in cavities and/or gum disease. The acid produced by the bacteria can lead to formation of cavities as this acid dissolves tooth enamel. The decay formed by the acid runs through the layers to reach internal chamber of the tooth. This internal chamber contains living nerves and vessels. This living part is known as tooth pulp. Once the pulp is infected, the infection can cause abscess in the root area. The only way to treat the problem at this stage is the root canal treatment which means you will need to say goodbye to the tooth pulp along with the infected tissues.
Not brushing your teeth can lead to the formation of tartar on your teeth. And this formation doesn’t take very long. Normally, it takes a day for the plaque buildup to turn into tartar if you forget to brush your teeth. Plaque is usually colorless while tartar can turn your teeth yellow or brown. Moreover, tartar can irritate your gums to cause inflammation. This inflammation can cause gingivitis which is the first stage of gum disease. At this stage, you will not find simple brushing and flossing quite helpful. Your dentist, however, will be able to remove this plaque and tartar to reverse the process of inflammation.
Treating dental plaque
You may not be able to prevent the formation of plaque but you can actually be proactive about it by removing it on regular basis. For this purpose, you will have to make sure that you brush and floss your teeth regularly on daily basis. Make sure that you are using nice fluoride toothpaste to keep your tooth enamel strong. Moreover, you will need to make sure there is enough saliva flow in your mouth. Dry mouth can let the plaque to be built up and turned into tartar pretty quickly. For this purpose, you can chew sugar free gums.
Regular dental visits are very important if you are worried about the formation of plaque on your teeth. These are basically the preemptive dental visits which let you stay away from the major oral health issues.