Dental plaque is that sticky coat of film that covers the top of your teeth especially after you have had a meal. It occurs due to the action of thousands of bacteria. The plaque is so stubborn that it requires vigorous brushing to dislodge it. The condition is exacerbated especially after you have sugary foods, beverages and pop.
This is because the bacteria love to feed on sugary foods. Here are some pertinent and interesting facts that you need to know about dental plaque.
The Formation Of Calculus And Tartar
Calculus and tartar are formed on the surface of the teeth as a result of the action of dental plaque. Accumulated dental plaque forms a hard coating on the surface of the teeth that is called as tartar. Calculus is the tough portion of the tartar that cannot be removed. It needs deep cleaning to be dislodged from the teeth. Often the dentist uses scaling and dental root planing to remove hard deposits of tartar.
Plaque Leads To Cavities
A lot of people underestimate the potentially damaging effects of dental plaque. Dental plaque can often lead to unprecedented cavities in the mouth. This happens due to the constant and persistent action of the bacteria in the mouth.
These bacteria cause holes and cavities in the enamel and dentin areas of the tooth. If unchecked, it can lead to tooth abscess and tooth decay. This can only be remedied with the help of dental fillings and root canal treatments.
What is Dental Plaque?
Dental plaque is a thin layer of bio film made up of millions of harmful bacteria. Streptococcus mutans is one of the most commonly found bacteria present on the surface of the tooth. It occurs on the surface of the teeth also called as supragingival. It can occur on the roots of the teeth below the gum line. This is called as subgingival plaque. It can also occur on the gums. This necessitates the need to brush every part of the gums and teeth. This can give you a healthier mouth and prevent the onset of caries and cavities.
Plaque and Gingivitis
Untreated plaque as discussed earlier leads to the formation of tartar around the gum line of the teeth. This can lead to a condition called as gingivitis, which causes bleeding and swollen gums. Gingivitis in isolation is not serious as long as you get yourself treated by a dentist.
The dentist will clean and scale your teeth and remove the built up tartar. Gingivitis that has been neglected can lead to a condition called as full-blown periodontitis which is a more serious and severe form of gum disease. Sadly, all these problems occur as a direct result of dental plaque.
Getting Rid of Plaque
Getting rid of plaque is easier said than done. Many people are careless and complacent about their dental hygiene. This can lead to several problems like cavities. Brushing, flossing and the use of a good mouthwash can reduce the action of dental plaque. Ideally, you should brush your teeth at least twice a day. Minimize the intake of rich and sweet foods and make sure you rinse your mouth well after every meal. It is also very important to floss the teeth. Flossing gets rid of stuck food particles in between teeth, which then gets converted to tooth destroying plaque. Use of a good mouthwash reduces plaque in the mouth by at least 50%.
Plaque is Not Seen Easily
Most people are seemingly unaware about the presence of plaque in their mouth. Shiny white teeth may give the apparent illusion of sound dental health and hygiene. Plaque is not easily seen as it forms a near visible film of sticky substance on the teeth. With time, it is easily seen as it can lead to massive tooth discoloration. That is why doctors urge all their patients to follow good oral hygiene to keep dental plaque at bay.
Since plaque is very sticky and stubborn, it can only be actively dislodged with the help of the correct brushing motion. The brushing motion used for removing plaque should be gentle, circular strokes as this creates adequate friction on the surface of the tooth to remove the plaque. Harsh and criss-cross brushing action can destroy and corrode the enamel of your teeth and lead to decalcification and tooth sensitivity. The right brushing action can make a world of difference to the quality and health of your teeth.
Tobacco and Plaque
Plaque formed due to the chewing of tobacco and smoking can play havoc with your oral hygiene. So potent is this plaque that is known to increase the incidence of oral cancer in the mouth.
Oral cancer in highly curable if you cut smoking, tobacco chewing and follow good oral hygiene.
Plaque is Directly Responsible for Your Overall Health
It is hard to believe but dental plaque can actually determine other parameters and aspects of your overall health. Plaque can lead to cavities and serious gum disease. If left unchecked the tooth rot and decay can cause severe abscesses in your mouth. Not only this but the bacteria can travel to the other parts of your body either through the digestive system or the blood system and cause severe health problems. This is especially true for pregnant women and their babies who do not follow good oral hygiene.
Cleaning and Check ups
Get rid of dental plaque completely by visiting your dentist regularly. The dentist will carry out deep cleaning procedures like planing and scaling that remove built up plaque and tartar. This is a must to prevent gum disease and cavities. Ideally the clean ups should be done once every six months. If you already have gum disease, you may have to come in a little more often. Speak to the dentist about ways and means of removing the dental plaque and following sound eating habits.
Dental plaque continues to remain the number one causative factor for tooth rot, tooth decay and gum disease.