What Is Plaque & Why Should You Care About It?

Cartoon of a woman in the dental chair getting her teeth cleaned.
Image by Authority Dental under CC 2.0

Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth and along the gumline. The coating occurs in everyone’s mouth and isn’t something that can be avoided. It accumulates from regular activities such as eating and drinking. Plaque is normal, but letting it build up on your teeth can lead to several unfortunate dental problems, which is why you should care about it!

Why Plaque Control Is Important

Plaque is difficult to see but can be felt on the surface of the teeth with the tongue. When plaque remains on the teeth it is particularly problematic because it creates an environment for bacteria to thrive and multiply resulting in tooth decay and gum disease. Plaque buildup will turn into tartar, which can only be removed by a professional dental hygienist.

Causes of Plaque

Though plaque is common, excessive plaque can be triggered by outside factors. Some causes of plaque include:

  • Dry Mouth
  • Saliva plays an important role in controlling plaque. The lack of saliva with a dry mouth does not allow for natural cleansing, causing bacteria to accumulate on the teeth and gums.

  • Snacking
  • Snacking throughout the day, especially on foods loaded with carbs or sugar can increase the production of plaque since bacteria in the mouth feed on sugar.

  • Poor Oral Hygiene
  • Individuals who lack a consistent oral hygiene routine are more susceptible to plaque buildup, especially along the gumline. This can lead to gingivitis or gum disease.

Schedule a Dental Appointment in Eden Prairie, MN

Though plaque can never be stopped from forming, following a daily oral hygiene routine that includes brushing and flossing and avoiding sugary foods and drinks is the best way to control plaque and prevent excess buildup. When left untreated, plaque can lead to serious oral health problems. It’s also important to visit the dentist twice a year for professional hygiene cleanings. With these good habits, you can keep your teeth and gums healthy and strong for years to come. Contact Prairie Dental Group to schedule your routine exam!

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