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What is Plaque?

Plaque forms in everyone’s mouth. It is a colorless, sticky film of bacteria which forms along the gum line and on teeth. This bacteria can cause gum disease and cavities. If not removed plaque hardens and attaches below the gum line and to your teeth. This substance is known as tartar. Understanding what plaque is can help you to know how important it is to keep up with your regular professional teeth cleanings and protect your teeth.

Symptoms of Plaque

Bacteria is always growing in your mouth forming plaque. It is not easy to see, but if not removed it can cause inflammation and irritation to your gums. Once it hardens it becomes tartar. Tartar appears as a yellow or brown hard substance at the gum line. Regular brushing will remove plaque, but once it has hardened into tartar it can only be removed by professional cleaning.
Plaque damages the teeth because it is a sticky substance which coats your teeth. It contains acids which attack the teeth and form cavities. The acids attack the protective enamel of your teeth and break it down which may cause cavities. Plaque can also cause irritation to your gums and lead to red swollen gums, bleeding gums, tooth loss, and periodontal disease.

How to Prevent Plaque Buildup

Brush and floss twice a day to keep food debris and bacteria from building up in your mouth. Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth hydrated. Avoid starchy and sugary foods which contribute to the growth of bacteria. Keep up with your regular checkups and dental cleanings. If you have tartar buildup your dentist may recommend scaling. Scaling removes the tartar from your teeth with a special instrument. Usually one side of the mouth is done at a time since this can be an intense procedure.
If you have questions about plaque and oral health, call or contact us today.