Plaque build up on the teeth can lead to serious long-term problems. Plaque is where all cavities begin. It’s possible to remove most of it if you brush and floss every day, but to ensure you avoid the long-term problems plaque can cause; you should visit your dentist regularly.
What’s dental plaque?
Bacteria lives naturally in our mouths as well as the rest of our gastrointestinal system. This bacteria feeds off the food that remains in our mouths after we eat. The bacteria then creates a waste product that is white and sticky and clings to the teeth. This is plaque. If plaque builds up on our teeth, it becomes hard and turns brown. After it becomes tartar, it is much more difficult to remove.
Regular visits to your dentist can help remove plaque and tartar from your teeth. If you brush and floss every day, you can remove the majority of the plaque that builds up, but there will be some left behind that will harden into tartar. Using special tools, your dental hygienist will remove the tartar from the tooth surfaces, thus greatly reducing the risk of long-term effects.
Effects of plaque
Plaque and tartar are both highly acidic. If they are left in contact with the tooth surfaces, the acid can eat through the enamel, creating a cavity. Extensive decay in the teeth can lead to tooth loss. Losing your teeth can cause various problems from malocclusion to eventual deterioration of the jawbone.
Plaque and tartar building up on the teeth can also cause the gums to pull away from the tooth roots, leaving them exposed. This can cause extreme sensitivity and also make the tooth roots more vulnerable to decay, damage, and trauma. The bacteria in the mouth build up, as well, leading to inflammation in the gums that can become gingivitis or, eventually, more extensive periodontal disease.
To avoid the long-term effects of plaque, be sure to brush and floss regularly and visit our dentist, Dr. Kelli Slate, about every six months.