You’ve probably heard of dental plaque—and that getting rid of it is important to oral health—but do you know what it is and what causes plaque on teeth? Although it’s impossible to avoid plaque, good dental habits can keep it from causing tooth decay and gum disease. Dr. Cesar Chilmaza, Tampa’s general dentist, explains how plaque forms and the importance of good oral hygiene in preventing plaque-related issues.
Reach out to the friendly team at Westchase Smiles Institute to schedule your free consultation today!
What Is Dental Plaque?
Whenever you eat or drink, the leftover food particles and sugars in your mouth mix with saliva to form plaque, a sticky, colorless, and bacteria-filled substance that coats your teeth. The bacteria causes the plaque to form acids that eat away at tooth enamel, weakening it and leaving teeth susceptible to cavities.
Leaving plaque on your teeth for too long allows it to form into tartar. Tartar is a hard yellow substance that makes your teeth appear yellow and causes bad breath. Over time, accumulated tartar can cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease, severe teeth and gum infections, and in some cases, tooth loss.
How to Protect Your Teeth from Dental Plaque
Knowing what causes plaque on teeth is only the start of good oral health. Taking good care of your teeth to eliminate plaque and prevent tartar buildup is equally important. Plaque can harden into tartar within 48 hours, requiring dental professionals to scrape it off.
To prevent this, maintain a good oral hygiene routine, including:
- Daily flossing. Floss before brushing to remove more plaque.
- Brush your teeth. Clean your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush at least twice a day. Brushing after each meal is even better.
- Eat healthy foods. Sugary and starchy foods encourage plaque development, so eat a healthy diet.
- Schedule professional cleanings. See your Tampa dentist at least twice yearly for a checkup and cleaning.
- Chew sugarless gum. If you can’t brush your teeth right after a meal, chew some gum to help clean your teeth.
Everyone has bacteria in their mouths that support plaque formation. However, the sooner you clean your teeth, the less likely you’ll be one of the 80% of adults with plaque-related periodontal disease. When you clean your teeth right after eating, there’s a good chance you can eliminate all the plaque before it has a chance to become tartar.
Keep Your Mouth Healthy with Help from a Tampa Dentist
Regular dental visits are critical to preventing complications due to plaque and tartar. It’s possible to have tartar buildup and not even realize it, but seeing your dentist ensures the issue does not go undetected or untreated. You can enjoy a healthy smile without bad breath, yellow teeth, or painful infections or cavities.
Now that you know what causes plaque on teeth and how it affects your dental health, check out the benefits of deep cleaning your teeth and schedule a cleaning and checkup at Westchase Smiles Institute in Tampa.