What is Plaque?

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Ever had a fuzzy and rough feeling on the surface of your teeth?  If so, that’s “Plaque.” Plaque is a sticky, clear film that forms on teeth, in between teeth, above, and below the gum line and it contains millions of bacteria.  Everyone develops plaque because bacteria are constantly growing in our mouths. Plaque that is not removed from around the gum line can cause inflammation and irritation to the gums around your teeth.  If you do not remove the plaque daily when brushing and flossing your teeth, it can finally harden into tartar.  When you eat foods high in sugar like cakes and cookies, sweets, and even fruits can speed up plaque growth.

Problems Caused by Plaque

• Cavities can form- the acids from the bacteria in plaque can weaken your tooth enamel over time.

• Gingivitis can develop- accumulation of plaque and bacteria can cause the gum tissue surrounding the teeth to become reddened and inflamed.

• Bad Breath- a buildup of plaque from poor oral hygiene can cause this bad odor in your mouth.

How Can I Prevent Plaque Buildup?

• Brush your teeth at least two times a day for at least 2 minutes for the top teeth and 2 minutes on the bottom.

• Floss daily to remove plaque from between your teeth and under your gum line where the toothbrush can’t reach.

• Limit your diet where it isn’t filled with sugary, starchy, nor sticky foods.

• Avoid smoking.

• Schedule regular dental visits for your professional cleanings and dental examinations.

Remember the best way to protect your teeth from the dreaded “Plaque” attack is to brush and floss and to rinse your mouth with a mouthwash daily.  Your teeth never get to have a vacation.  You must take care of your teeth on a daily basis.  I tell my patients to brush and floss the teeth they want to keep!  I hope this Tooth Talk has helped to explain what Plaque is.

If you have any questions please call or email me, Dr. Jacqueline Butler Mitchell, DDS, (615) 445-8700, dr.jmitchell@integritydentalcares.com, Integrity Dental Care, PLLC.

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