Plus Dr. Loper’s Top Tips for Fighting Plaque
Everybody has heard of plaque – your dentist may have even talked to you about managing your plaque buildup. But do you know what plaque is? Do you know where it comes from and why it’s a problem? Below are the top four things that Loper Family Dentistry thinks everyone needs to know about plaque.
1. What is Plaque?
Plaque is that fuzzy goop you feel on your teeth when you haven’t brushed for awhile. It’s made up of the bacteria that live in your mouth, and the substances secreted by the bacteria. Plaque is best combated by brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and flossing at least once a day. Focus your brushing on the area where your teeth and gums meet; this is usually where plaque collects. Using an antibacterial mouthwash also helps rid the mouth of plaque by getting rid of some of the bacteria that create plaque.
2. What Causes Plaque to Grow?
Plaque develops on your teeth after you eat sugary or starchy foods. The bacteria in your mouth love sugars and starches, and they produce acid as they gorge themselves on the leftovers from that milkshake you had with dinner. Over time, the acid created by the bacteria breaks down the enamel on your teeth and makes you susceptible to cavities and gum disease. If the acid gets below the gumline it can also destroy the bones in your jaws that support your teeth.
3. Does My Diet Affect Plaque Buildup?
Reducing the sugary foods you consume is not just better for your waistline, it can also improve your oral health by “starving” your oral bacteria and thus reducing the plaque buildup on your teeth. Eating raw fruits and vegetables can also help slough plaque off your teeth.
4. What Are the Consequences of Plaque Buildup?
If plaque is not removed from your teeth within about 10 days, it becomes tartar, which is a hard yellow substance that cannot be removed with a toothbrush. The rough surface of tartar is an ideal habitat for additional plaque formation, creating a vicious cycle that will lead to tooth decay and other problems. The only way to get rid of tartar is by having your oral hygienist remove it with professional dental tools.
Plaque buildup is a serious problem that can lead to a variety of problems, including bad breath, gum disease, and tooth decay. Maintaining simple habits like brushing twice a day, flossing regularly, and visiting your dentist twice a year will help avoid the horrible consequences of plaque buildup. Loper Family Dentistry is currently accepting new patients; call us at 614-864-7731 to make your appointment today.