The buildup of plaque on your teeth is a major cause of tooth decay. The highly acidic nature of plaque means that it can eat through tooth enamel, creating damage that can lead to eventual tooth loss. With diligent oral hygiene, however, you can control this threat to your oral health.
What is Plaque?
Plaque is the waste product of the bacteria that live naturally in your mouth. These bacteria feed on the sugars and food particles that collect around your teeth, then leave behind white, sticky plaque. Over time, plaque hardens into tartar. Tartar is more difficult to remove, and generally requires special tools supplied by your dentist. It is also highly acidic. If tartar is left to build up on your teeth, it will eat through the enamel and can also cause the gums to pull back away from the roots of your teeth.
- The long-term effects of plaque buildup can include:
- Extensive decay
- Severe gum disease
- Tooth loss
If you experience eventual tooth loss due to the build up of plaque and tartar, the results can include abnormal wear, misalignment, damage to the jaw joint, and the loss of even more teeth.
Preventing Plaque Buildup
You can remove most of the plaque from your teeth by practicing regular oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing will clean plaque from your teeth as well as any food particles that might be left behind that could encourage the growth of bacteria. However, some plaque might be left behind even if you brush regularly. This plaque can then become tartar. In order to remove any tartar buildup, you should visit your dentist for regular cleanings.
Good brushing and flossing habits will help ensure the best possible results from your regular hygiene routine. If you’re not sure about the best way to brush or floss your teeth, ask your dentist for guidelines. Using an electric toothbrush can also help you clean your teeth more consistently and more thoroughly for better long-term results.
For more tips or to schedule an appointment at A Smile Above, contact us today.