What is Plaque and Why is it Bad?

Standard toothbrush

Oral plaque is actually bacteria that forms after you eat food. Everyone has helpful bacteria in the mouth to break down food and liquids as they slowly make their way to the stomach. However, poor oral hygiene causes plaque to buildup, encouraging significant damage to teeth and gums.

How Plaque Accumulates

When you eat foods rich in carbohydrates, including breads and sweet treats, some of these sugars remain on the teeth. The bacteria in your mouth use these sugars as sustenance, causing them to accumulate on the tooth surface for better access. As they break the sugars down, they release acid as a byproduct. Over time, these acids damage tooth enamel, allowing tooth and gum disease to strike your mouth.

Negative Oral Effects

If the plaque is not removed and you continue to eat sugary foods, the bacteria essentially strip the enamel from your teeth. Because teeth are vulnerable at this point, cavities set in. These holes simply enlarge as more acid eats away at the tooth’s shape. Plaque can even find its way between the gums and teeth. At this location, tooth roots are vulnerable to decay, eventually causing tooth loss and pain.

Basic Preventive Solutions

Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day are key techniques to fight off plaque buildup. Altering your diet to include more fruits, vegetables and proteins keeps starches from adhering to your teeth in the first place. A dental cleaning twice a year is another smart way to keep your smile healthy. Any cavities can be filled, giving your teeth a fighting chance against decay and disease.

Contact us today to talk about tooth care. It is never to young to start brushing. Even babies need clean teeth to learn proper eating techniques. With home care as a primary tool, you can keep your teeth clean for many years, along with your dentist’s expert guidance.