Plaque on Teeth: How to Keep It at Bay?
Plaque on Teeth Isn’t Always a Big Deal
Many people don’t know a lot about dental plaque. That makes sense because plaque is constantly removed when we’re brushing our teeth and flossing. However, sometimes we’re not doing as much as we could, and plaque starts solidifying.
While plaque removal is a simple procedure, things can take a different turn if you leave it untreated. You may end up needing periodontics, i.e., periodontal treatment. If you think you’ve let your plaque go unchecked for too long, learn all you should know about periodontal care on our page.
Educating yourself about the plaque on teeth is beneficial in many ways. First, you’ll know what you’re dealing with. Then, you’ll learn all about removing it. You shouldn’t worry if you have a bad plaque on your teeth because your dentist can easily remove it. We’ll give you all the information you need to know to prevent and get plaque treatment on time.
Why seek treatment at all if plaque isn’t a big deal? That’s because this kind of bacterial buildup can severely affect not only your teeth but your gums, too. Gum conditions need a different kind of periodontal therapy, and while there is a solution to them, you don’t want to wait that long.
What Is Plaque Exactly?
So, what is plaque on teeth? Plaque is a sticky film that forms over your teeth. This film consists of bacteria that release acids when you drink or eat. This acid can eat away at your teeth and gums, causing tooth decay and gum diseases. Unfortunately, plaque can also go underneath your gums and start destroying your jawbones. This is a scary thought because you can’t see or prevent it from happening. Luckily, your dentist will be able to do something about this.
This bacterial film is easy to remove by brushing and flossing. Many people don’t brush as much as they should, causing plaque on teeth to build up and harden. Once plaque hardens, it becomes tartar which is much more difficult to remove, and you can’t do it on your own. That’s why your dentist is so adamant that you brush and floss regularly. Flossing is equally important because plaque can form between the teeth, too.
Plaque on teeth is so common that it’s safe to say everyone has it. You can check if you have plaque by running your tongue over your teeth. Smooth feel means no plaque, and everything else means you may want to brush your teeth or visit a dentist.
What Causes Plaque on Teeth?
But what causes plaque buildup on teeth? We did say that bacterial film forms naturally. But these bacteria release acids only when they come in contact with food or drinks. We’re talking about foods and drinks rich in sugar, starch, or carbohydrates. Some examples of that kind of food or drinks include:
- Fizzy drinks
Naturally, we can’t just start avoiding all the nutritious food because of a bit of plaque. Cleaning your teeth after meals is a great practice, and don’t worry if you skip it a few times. What matters is that you’re removing the plaque on teeth buildup and the acids that try to destroy your teeth.
On the other hand, foods and drinks aren’t the only culprits of plaque on teeth. You may also get plaque buildup if you have a chronically dry mouth. This happens as a result of medications, dehydration, or other conditions. Additionally, smokers are more prone to plaque than most, especially if they don’t upkeep pristine oral hygiene.
Symptoms and Complications of Plaque on Teeth
Since plaque isn’t always a big deal, many don’t give the removal much thought. But things take a turn when the symptoms of plaque on teeth start showing. There aren’t a plethora of symptoms, but you’ll surely notice them. They include:
- Halitosis (chronically bad breath)
- Fuzzy feeling on teeth
- Sensitive gums that bleed while brushing
Many people make the mistake of thinking that bad breath only comes from not brushing teeth as much as they should or the bacteria on the tongue. However, plaque buildup can produce a really nasty smell that’s difficult to get rid of unless you visit a dentist.
Similarly, there are many complications of plaque on teeth. It may look harmless even when it’s hardened and turned into tartar, but here’s what plaque is actively doing to your oral health:
- Causing cavities
- Speeding up tooth decay
- Causing all kinds of gum and teeth diseases and infections (gingivitis, periodontitis, etc.)
These complications are quite severe but easily avoidable. All you need to do is follow your dentist’s advice on how to upkeep the best oral health practices. This will ensure you never have to worry about plaque on teeth, let alone any complications.
How to Remove Plaque?
Now, let’s talk about how to remove plaque buildup on teeth. As you already know, what you can do is brush, floss, and avoid some types of foods and drinks. But what if your plaque on teeth has already hardened, turned to tartar, or you’re experiencing sensitive gums? This is when you’ll need to visit a dentist or periodontal specialists.
Hardened plaque or tartar is easy for your dentist to remove. They’ll use a scaler and a dental drill to remove all the hardened plaque near your gum tissue. This process is fast and relatively pain-free. Patients may experience some discomfort, but that’s it.
Keeping Plaque at Bay
The best way to ensure you don’t have to worry about plaque is by following your dentist’s advice. They can tell you all about the correct way to brush your teeth, how many times you should do it, and how to floss correctly. Don’t be embarrassed to ask your dentist any question you may have because they’re there to help you.
Maintaining the best oral care you can is the best way to keep plaque at bay, so don’t skip on brushing and flossing, no matter how bothersome you find it to be.