Plaque is something we’ve been taught to avoid if we want to keep our teeth and gums healthy. Still, it is so easy to hop in bed at night without brushing and flossing. Sometimes, we may even forget to spend those couple of minutes at the sink before we rush out to work in the morning. If you’ve ever noticed a slick or sticky feeling on your teeth during the day, you can be relatively sure that plaque is to blame. Here’s what you need to know about this problem.
Plaque is a biofilm. It contains saliva and debris from foods you have eaten. What makes up the most content in plaque, though, are large numbers of bacteria. You cannot see them, and neither can we; not with the naked eye. We know these microorganisms are there from research that has involved a microscopic examination. And we also see the evidence of bacteria in the form of dental disease.
Plaque Buildup: Is it a Problem?
So there’s a little plaque on the teeth. Is this a big deal in the grand scheme of things? Studies tell us it is. Even before potentially serious health concerns arise, there is the little matter of your breath. The bacteria that reside in plaque deposit byproduct onto the gums, teeth, and the tongue. Nearly immediately, this will cause a bad odor in the mouth.
If bad breath is not good enough reason to keep plaque from forming over teeth, the potential for future health concerns may be. Plaque is a precursor to gum disease. The bacteria in plaque cause gum tissue as well as enamel to deteriorate. This means cavities. It also means gum recession. Ultimately, it can mean tooth loss. And these are only oral conditions. Infection caused by plaque has also been linked to lowered immunity, systemic inflammation, and heart disease.
Here’s What You Can Do
The good news is it’s easy to prevent plaque from taking over your mouth with the following habits:
- Brush gently with a soft bristled toothbrush. Many people go at their teeth and gums with more purpose than is needed. Brushing too hard, and using a hard-bristled toothbrush, can scratch gum tissue and enamel, providing small lines in which bacteria can collect.
- Spend time at the sink. Brush for two minutes. If there is a question about how long that is, set a timer. The time you spend brushing is what will make the most difference in your oral health.
- It takes a minute, twice a day. That’s a small investment of time for a huge reward.
Professional cleanings are also vital for plaque removal. To schedule yours, call our Scottsdale office.