Dental plaque is common to everyone. Bacteria in the mouth combine with sugary or starchy foods to form this sticky film on teeth. You can remove plaque by brushing and flossing your teeth. Plaque hardens into tartar if you don’t remove it from your teeth on time. A buildup of plaque on the teeth can cause cavities, gum disease (gingivitis), and tooth loss in the long run. Keeping your teeth healthy requires regular dental checkups.
What Is Dental Plaque?
Bacteria form a sticky film on teeth constantly, which we call plaque. Bacteria produce acids in plaque after you eat or drink. In addition to destroying tooth enamel, these acids can cause gingivitis (gum disease).
It is also possible for plaque to develop under the gums on tooth roots and cause bone deterioration. Tartar can form when plaque goes untreated. Plaque can be removed with good oral hygiene, including daily brushing and flossing.
Dental Plaques May Occur More Frequently in Specific Individuals
The following factors may make you more likely to develop plaque than usual:
- Eating or drinking foods or beverages that are high in sugar or starch.
- Medications like antidepressants or conditions like Sjögren’s syndrome can cause dry mouth.
- Smoking tobacco
Dental Plaque Symptoms
If your teeth feel fuzzy, you have plaque. Other indicators include chronic bad breath and gums that bleed after brushing, red, swollen, and tender.
Plaque Can Cause Complications
Plaque can harden into tartar if you don’t brush and floss daily. There is no other way to remove tartar than to visit a dentist. Tartar and plaque can cause:
- Periodontal disease (gum disease) and gingivitis.
- Severe gum infection.
- Tooth decay, loss and infection
What Is the Diagnostic Process for Plaque?
As part of your regular dental checkup, your dentist or dental hygienist uses instruments to find and remove plaque. Dental plaque causes cavities. To check for holes, you may also need dental X-rays.
What Are the Methods of Managing or Treating Plaque?
Plaque and tartar buildup can be prevented by practicing good oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing regularly. A dental professional scrapes plaque and tartar from your teeth during an examination. Additionally, your provider may recommend the following:
- Keeping plaque from forming on the chewing surfaces of teeth with dental sealants
- Saliva-producing medications for dry mouth.
- Treatments with fluoride for preventing tooth decay and slow plaque growth.
- Antibacterial toothpaste (chlorhexidine) or prescription toothpaste.
What Can You Do to Prevent Plaque from Forming?
It is essential to take good care of your teeth and gums to reduce plaque. It is recommended that you:
- Floss daily to Get rid of food stuck between teeth. Plaque is removed more effectively by flossing before brushing.
- Brush your teeth (manual or powered) for two minutes with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Make sure you brush twice a day, preferably after every meal.
- Chew sugar-free gum if you can’t brush right after eating or drinking.
- Avoid sugary, starchy foods and drinks. Rather than snacking on junk food, eat nutritious foods like plain yogurt, cheese, raw vegetables, or fruit.
- Keep your teeth healthy by getting regular dental checkups.