We’ve all heard a lot about the dangers of plaque. Anyone who has seen a toothpaste commercial knows that brushing is critical to avoid it and its damaging effects—that it is the arch-nemesis to a healthy mouth. But do you ever stop to ask yourself, “what exactly is plaque?” We at TruBlu Dentistry are here to pull back the curtain on the dangers of dental plaque. Here are five facts that you should know:
Fact #1: Plaque is filled with bacteria.
There are good bacteria, and there are bad bacteria. Unfortunately for us, plaque is chockfull of the harmful kind. This sticky, colorless film consists of millions of bacteria and is constantly forming on our teeth. Over time, these bacteria can lead to decay, resulting in cavities and gum disease if not removed daily with a thorough brushing and flossing routine.
Fact #2: Everyone has plaque, even if you can’t see it.
Plaque is constantly forming on our teeth. If you look carefully, it may look like a thick white food deposit. So, although plaque is difficult to see (after all, it is colorless), you most definitely have it. Don’t believe us? Try buying a disclosing tablet at your local pharmacy. This solution stains your plaque temporarily, so you can see just how much of it is there. Then, brush and floss to get all of that stubborn stained plaque off of your teeth!
Fact #3: Plaque feeds off of your sugar intake.
When you eat, the bacteria feed on the sugars in your food and then use it to produce acids. These acids are the cause of decay in your tooth enamel. (That’s why you always hear that sugar is bad for your teeth!) If not removed, this plaque releases acids on the enamel, breaking it down and allowing a cavity to form or irritating your gums.
Fact #4: If not removed, plaque becomes tartar.
Tartar is another term you’ve probably heard quite a bit. When plaque is not removed after 48 hours with brushing or flossing, it begins to calcify. This hardened substance is tartar, and it is impossible to remove with just a toothbrush. Tartar collects along your gum line and can cause inflammation and even bleeding, also known as gingivitis. This is why we need to be extra careful about our dental hygiene routine: if left untreated, gingivitis can eventually become gum disease.
Fact #5: You can easily prevent plaque from building up!
There are several ways you can fight plaque. First, brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste is an excellent way to prevent plaque from sticking to your teeth. You’ll also want to floss daily. Next, be sure to follow a balanced diet and limit snacks between meals. Remember: the more your mouth is exposed to sugar throughout the day, the worse it is for your teeth. Finally, be sure to visit your dentist at TruBlu Dentistry at least twice a year for a professional cleaning and exam. We’ll remove that tartar buildup and ensure your mouth is kept healthy!
Ready to schedule your professional cleaning? Contact TruBlu Dentistry today in Burbank, Chicago, and Hegewisch to set up an appointment.