Plaque is a type of buildup that occurs throughout the body. Plaque that occurs in the arteries is dangerous to your heart health, and plaque that occurs in the mouth is dangerous to your oral health. Dental plaque is a soft, white, sticky film that builds up on the teeth each day. Your mouth is home to millions of bacteria, and they react to the foods and beverages that you eat after every single meal, snack, breath mint, soft drink, or cup of coffee. Because bacteria are constantly at work inside your mouth, your mouth is constantly assaulted by plaque buildup.
Dental plaque is very dangerous to the health of your teeth and gums. The bacteria that live inside your mouth thrive on the food and sugar particles left behind after you eat or drink anything other than water. The bacteria attack these particles and begin to create acids in order to help break the particles down. While they might mean to be helpful, they actually cause a chemical reaction that compromises the integrity of your oral health.
As plaque builds up on the teeth throughout the day, the teeth are left more and more vulnerable to damage. Cavities, gum disease, and tooth decay are all caused by plaque that is allowed to linger on the teeth for too long. The acids in dental plaque eat away at whatever is in their path – this being your tooth enamel and gum tissue. If you have ever run your tongue over your teeth at the end of the day and felt a fuzzy film, then you are familiar with just how much plaque can develop in a single day. Removing plaque on a daily basis is essential to protecting the health of your entire mouth.
Dental floss is the main tool that must be used to remove plaque. While a toothbrush will help to loosen plaque from the surfaces of the teeth, it is not designed to actually remove plaque from the gum line or between the teeth. Dental floss is designed as a thin string-like material that gets under plaque in order to scrape it away. If plaque is not removed on a daily basis with dental floss, it will harden into tartar. Tartar is a hard calcified deposit with a yellow to brown color that hardens to the enamel of the teeth. Tartar forms on teeth when they are regularly exposed to plaque, and the only way to remove it is by your dentist or dental hygienist scraping it off with special tools.
In order to promote optimal oral health, plaque must be removed on a daily basis. Proper oral care truly does not take much time, yet it is still neglected. At Pacific Sky Dental, we encourage you to make your oral health a priority and choose to floss daily.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Raymond Jone, Pacific Sky Dental