3 Questions About Dental Plaque

Dental plaque is a problem that many people have heard of when it comes to their oral health, but you might not fully understand what it is. Knowing the dangers of dental plaque is important, which why you may have the following 3 questions.

Is Dental Plaque A Form of Bacteria?

Dental plaque is considered a biofilm, which is actually a form of bacteria. It is a slimy substance that forms on your teeth that is yellow in color, and allows communities of bacteria to accumulate by giving it a surface to stick to. While the plaque is not what directly causes the tooth decay, it is what will help the bacteria become destructive to your teeth.

What Problems Will Dental Plaque Cause?

The bacteria living in the dental plaque will feed off the sugars from food that you eat. The bacteria will eventually break down sugar into acid, which can weaken your  enamel. This is what will cause problems such as cavities and abscesses.

The problems caused by plaque can be even worse than that. When plaque hardens, it turns into a substance called tartar. Accumulated tartar in your gum line will potentially lead to a bigger problem with gum disease, such as gingivitis.

Once gum disease sets in, there will be much bigger problems you will potentially have to deal with. There have been links between gum disease and other diseases that are not necessarily dental related. You'll have a higher chance of developing a problem like:

  • arthritis
  • heart disease
  • diabetes
  • dementia

Can You Remove Built Up Plaque?

It is possible to remove plaque accumulation. The first step is by making regular dental appointments every 6 months where your teeth will be inspected and cleaned. If you have minimal amounts of plaque on your teeth, this should be sufficient to prevent plaque from building up more than it already has. Unfortunately, waiting too long will require a more advanced technique called root scaling and planing to remove plaque.

When brushing your teeth, make sure to brush with the bristles partially over the gum line. This will help get plaque out of the area of your teeth that are hidden underneath the gums. Pay special attention to your rear molars, since that is an area that often gets ignored because you cannot easily see it.

Still have more questions about dental plaque? Ask your dentist (like Brookside Dental Associate) at your next scheduled cleaning.