Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria and sugars that constantly forms on our teeth. This bacteria forms as a result of the foods we eat and our saliva. If it is not removed daily, it can harden into tartar and cause cavities as well as gum disease. Tartar is simply plaque that has built up and hardened onto the teeth and gums. It is sometimes referred to as “calculus.”
Dental decay is caused when the acids from plaque attack our teeth after eating. With repeated acid attacks, the tooth enamel can break down and a cavity may form. Gingivitis (red, swollen, bleeding gums) is caused when plaque that has built up irritates the tissues around your teeth. If not properly treated, Gingivitis can lead to periodontal disease and tooth loss.
The best way to remove plaque and prevent it from building up and hardening into tartar is to brush your teeth thoroughly at least two times per day and floss your teeth at least one time every day. It is also important to see a Dentist regularly for dental examinations and professional cleanings. It is recommended that most patients see a Dentist once every six-months for a checkup and cleaning. If you have serious dental problems, you may need to see a Dentist more often. Once plaque has hardened into tartar, it can no longer be removed by simply brushing and flossing and must be removed by a Dentist or dental hygienist using special instruments.
If you have not had your teeth professionally checked and cleaned in more than six months or if you think plaque may be building up on your teeth, schedule an appointment with a qualified Dentist today. When it comes to your dental health “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
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