Most people have heard of the word “plaque,” and know it’s not something you want on your teeth. Yet, they don’t know what exactly plaque is or how it contributes to dental decay and poor oral hygiene. Our team at Weddington Family Dentistry has gotten together to help give you a better explanation!
Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that lives on the surface of your teeth and along your gum line. It accumulates from normal, every day activities such as eating and drinking. Plaque build up becomes especially bad if you’ve been consuming a lot of sugars and starches, such as soda, fruit, bread or crackers.
Ever had that fuzzy feeling on your teeth that goes away after you give them a good brush? Yep, that’s plaque. Plaque is what contributes to dental decay because that bacteria likes to consume the sugars in your mouth, which then excretes acids that wear away at your tooth enamel.
When you don’t regularly brush and floss away plaque, it forms tartar. Tartar is the calcified substance on your teeth that only a professional cleaning can remove. During this professional cleaning, one of our dentists or hygienists will use a scaler to scrape the bacteria from in between and at the base of each of your teeth. The more tartar that has built up on your teeth, the longer the cleaning will take, but we will always take careful care to remove every bit we can. In order to keep your teeth tartar and plaque free after our work is done, you MUST commit to a proper oral hygiene regimen.
To regularly remove plaque:
1. Brush thoroughly with fluoride toothpaste (that has been given the American Dental Association’s seal of approval) at least twice a day.
2. Floss at least once a day to remove plaque that the bristles in your toothbrush cannot reach on their own.
3. Try to maintain a healthy diet and avoid snacking throughout the day as much as possible! If you do feel the need to reach for a snack, always use water to rinse if you do not have a toothbrush available.
3. Visit us for your regular dental cleanings and examinations every 6 months!