Plaque: Your Everyday Battle
We have all heard the word “plaque.” It is not a good word and too much of it means trouble. In fact, we engage in a daily battle against plaque when we brush and floss our teeth. But how much do you really know about this invisible enemy? And how does it really work to threaten your oral health?
Plaque is a sticky, colorless deposit of bacteria and sugars that forms on your tooth surface. First, you must understand that there is no way to avoid plaque completely, hence the common phrase “preventing plaque build-up” that we hear often. In fact, in as little as 4 hours after you brush your teeth, plaque starts forming again. The combination of saliva, food and fluid produce plaque that attaches to the teeth at the gum-line. Plaque causes cavities when the acids from plaque attack teeth after eating. With repeated acid attacks, the tooth enamel can break down and a cavity may form. Plaque that builds up will also trap stains on teeth, and it is the leading cause of gum disease. New plaque is particularly attracted to tartar, which is the hard, crusty deposit on your teeth from calcium and phosphate binding. A dental professional is the only one that can remove tartar and plaque that has bonded to your teeth. Therefore, regular six-month cleanings from your dentist are extremely important in your fight against plaque.
To fight plaque between your professional dental cleanings, it is imperative that you brush twice a day, floss regularly and avoid sugary, sticky and starchy foods. If you ignore your flossing routine, your plaque enemy will begin to build up in between your teeth or in areas your toothbrush cannot reach.
The next time you consider skipping your dental hygiene routine, remember the attack that plaque is making in your mouth this very second. Pick up your toothbrush, your teeth need you to fight for them!
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV, Gilreath Dental Associates