Plaque. You know it exists. And you know you don’t want to have it around. But have you ever wondered exactly what this dental bother even is and how you can best avoid it? Today, we’re disclosing the facts on this unwelcome substance that plagues our teeth and giving you some tips on how to prevent it from building up!
1. Plaque is made up of bacteria.
As difficult as it is to think about, this film that we fight to keep off of our teeth is comprised of bacteria, and it is constantly building up in our mouths. Sticky and colorless, the bacteria found in plaque leads to tooth decay and gum disease, so it’s important to keep it at bay.
2. Tartar is an advanced version of plaque.
The word “tartar” is sometimes used interchangeably with “plaque,” but they aren’t the same thing. When plaque isn’t cleared away through brushing, it can eventually calcify and harden, forming a substance on your teeth and gum lines known as tartar. Once tartar has formed, it can only be removed through a professional cleaning at your dentist’s office.
3. Left unchecked, plaque will eventually cause cavities and gum disease.
The acid found in plaque will attack the enamel of our teeth, wearing it down and eventually causing cavities if it isn’t brushed away. If plaque is allowed to fester for prolonged periods, it will irritate the gums, causing them to become red and swollen in a condition known as gingivitis. Over time, untreated gingivitis can lead to gum disease and tooth loss.
4. A robust healthcare routine can help you avoid it.
While plaque is constantly forming on our teeth, it doesn’t have to wreak havoc on our health. Keeping up with a diligent oral healthcare routine is your best defense against succumbing to the problems plaque can cause. Remember to brush your teeth twice a day, floss daily, and use a mouthwash after brushing to help clear away excess bacteria. Brushing your teeth at night is especially important, as this will remove existing plaque before you sleep, giving your teeth a new chance at staying clean and acid-free overnight.
5. Candy is a huge culprit.
Your diet really does impact your overall health as well as your oral hygiene. Foods like carrots and celery help keep your mouth clean by being low in sugar and helping you increase saliva production, which clears away harmful bacteria. However, food high in sugar can lead to a greater buildup of plaque and more chances of developing cavities. In particular, gummy candies are best to be avoided because they can stick to your teeth for hours after you’ve finished eating, allowing dangerous acids to wear down your protective enamel! If you indulge in sticky candies, be sure to brush your teeth soon after eating to help clear away as much sugar as possible.
If you’d like to know more about how you can fight plaque, or if you need to schedule your routine dental checkup, don’t hesitate to give us a call at TruBlu Dentistry in Burbank, Chicago, or Hegewisch today!