What is Plaque and How Does it Affect Me?

It may seem like Singla Dental is always telling you to avoid plaque, but it still may be unclear what plaque is and how it can hurt you and your teeth. Simply, plaque is a film of bacteria on your teeth and gums that can feel “hairy” when you rub your tongue along your teeth. This sticky substance on and between your teeth and gum line is a potential cause of tooth decay and periodontal disease (gum disease). Brushing and flossing every day is an effective way to prevent and reduce plaque buildup. 

What is the Process of Plaque Formation?

After you brush your teeth a layer of protection made of saliva buildup called, pellicle. Next, good and bad bacteria attach to this saliva surface. The bacteria multiplies and creates microcolonies that penetrate the tooth’s next layer of protection called the slime layer. Finally, the microcolonies build a complex community and environment on your tooth’s surface. If this process is not interrupted with brushing to prevent and reduce plaque buildup than the microcolonies can create tartar, which needs to be professionally removed.

Does Plaque Affect my Dentures, Bridges, or Implants?

Plaque does not discriminate natural teeth from prosthetic applications such as dentures, bridges, or implants. Reduce plaque buildup on your dentures, bridges, and implants by thoroughly brushing and flossing your natural and prosthetic teeth. 

What Happens When I Skip Brushing?

Well, a lot. If you do not prevent the growth of the plaque biofilm by brushing than the bacterial film will begin to disintegrate the tooth enamel with acids produced by sugar. The plaque can also harden into tartar, also called a dental calculus. The only way to remove tartar is with a professional cleaning, which can be done at Singla Dental.

Plaque

What are the consequences of plaque buildup?

Namely, the biggest consequences of plaque buildup are gingivitis, periodontitis, and caries, also called cavities. This is why it is important to brush and floss regularly to prevent the buildup of plaque on your teeth. When plaque buildup on the gumline, the biofilm of bacteria causes inflammation in your gum tissue. A sign of gingivitis is puffy, red gums that bleed while brushing or flossing. Gingivitis can be reversed with a deep cleaning; however, if it is left untreated it can develop into periodontitis. The plaque buildup on and around your teeth release enzymes that break down the tooth’s bone under the gumline. Periodontitis is an infection that can be furthered with the destruction of bone. Dr. Singla usually treats this with a deep surgical debridement (cleaning).

Lastly, the consequences that patients are probably most familiar with are caries or cavities. This infectious disease forms through the breakdown of tooth enamel through the development of plaque. Once the enamel, the tooth’s protective layer, is broken down the hole in the tooth can progress into the middle tooth, called the dentin.

Preventing the buildup of plaque is an ideal way to keep your teeth healthy. Brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each can prevent the progression of plaque development on your teeth. For information about plaque or to schedule an appointment, call Singla Dental at (972)-298-4677.