What is Dental Plaque?
Plaque! Every human being on this earth has plaque in their mouth. Yes, even those who brush and floss several times a day will still develop plaque. A good majority of the patients we see believe that plaque is simply food debris that hasn't been cleaned since they last brushed. Although plaque can certainly include some leftover food, that is just a minor part of it.
What exactly is Plaque?
Plaque is a sticky clear-yellow film that forms on the surfaces of the teeth and makes them feel lumpy instead of smooth. According to NCBI, plaque is primarily composed of bacterial colonies that are very organized, along with some leftover food debris and acids they produce.
Proper brushing and flossing is certainly the best way to remove plaque, but even if you were to remove all of it from the surfaces of your teeth. It will still form later throughout the day as you consume food/drinks. Leave plaque on your teeth for too long and it can harden and turn into tartar that will require scaling from your dentist or dental hygienist to remove.
Why is plaque bad?
The main reason why plaque is bad for your dental health is because they feed on any leftover food debris (particularly carbohydrates/sugars) that stay in your mouth after you eat and drink and damage the teeth and gums. As mentioned on a previous blog, some of these bacteria will consume these sugars and produce an acid that begins to remove the minerals from your tooth enamel. Eventually leading to the formation of a cavity. Other type of bacteria will cause gingivitis (a type of gum disease) causing in where the gums turn red, swell and can bleed)
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