Cosmetic DentistryDental CareGeneral DentistryWoman asking her dentist what is plaque

Beyond a certain age, most of us know that plaque causes cavities. But what is plaque, really? Does it cause other health problems in your mouth or body? What is the best way to get rid of plaque?

What Is Plaque?

So what is plaque, anyway? This sticky, gooey film of bacteria forms on your teeth and gums around the clock, 24 hours per day. It is colorless, so you do not see it on your teeth or along your gum line. But it is there, causing problems for your oral health and even your body, as a whole.

Bacteria in plaque causes tooth decay and gum disease. Left on your teeth, it then hardens into tartar. Tartar builds up on your tooth enamel and below your gum line, where the gums attach to your teeth. You cannot brush tartar away and must visit your dentist for its removal.

Left on your teeth too long, plaque and tartar cause tooth decay, also called cavities. Suffering cavities is often painful and requires tooth decay services Orlando FL offers at your family dentist’s office.

Can I Tell If I Have Plaque on My Teeth?

We all have plaque on our teeth, at all times. This substance forms constantly and the bacteria in plaque feed on what we eat and even our own saliva. Plaque also contains acids that cause tooth material to break down, starting with tooth enamel. This forms a cavity that requires a dentist’s care to save the tooth, through a filling and possibly other restorative dentistry.

Plaque also causes problems for your gums. It forms along the gum line, with bacteria irritating your gums. Without proper home oral hygiene and routine dental visits, you develop gum disease, called gingivitis. This leads to swelling, bleeding, and also redness of the gum tissue.

Not treated by your dentist, gum disease only grows worse over time. Soon, it becomes a periodontal disease and then advanced periodontal disease. Eventually, you can lose your teeth to gum disease. Studies even show that long term plaque buildup and gum disease increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

How Do I Prevent Plaque Problems?

The best ways to prevent plaque problems start with quality oral hygiene at home. Brush your teeth twice daily and floss at least once each day. You should limit the amount of sugary and starchy foods you eat. Chew sugarless gum for 20 to 30 minutes after each meal to stimulate saliva to help wash plaque away.

It is essential that you visit your dentist twice yearly for exams and professional cleanings. During a cleaning, your dental hygienist cleans away plaque and scrapes tartar from your teeth and gum line.

Other critical dental services you need in Orlando, FL include:

Schedule your next Orlando, Florida dental visit today by calling Keith Mahan DDS at 407.706.3873. Ask Dr. Mahan or your hygienist, “What is plaque?” Get the answers you and your whole family need, as well as tips for your best oral health.