Plaque…yuck! Plaque is a biofilm, and biofilms are any group of microorganisms in which cells stick to each other and often these cells adhere to a surface. This mass of bacteria (yes, you read that right, mass of bacteria) grows on the surfaces within your mouth. Every day, this biofilm forms and appears as a pale white or pale yellow slime layer. You can tell if you have plaque on your teeth by scratching the surface (or near the gum line) with your nail. If you see soft, white substance on your nail – that, my friend, is plaque. When you floss, if you find globules of white stuff on your floss, that too is plaque, but plaque you can’t see because it’s stuck between your teeth.
What Happens When You Don’t Remove Plaque From Your Teeth
The bacteria in plaque is what causes tooth decay and gum disease. If you don’t regularly remove this plaque, the acids from this mass of bacteria can cause your gums to become inflamed or infected. If plaque sits too long, it hardens into something even worse called tartar. Tartar can form really quickly, in just a little over a day! Once tartar has formed, only a dentist or dental hygienist can remove it.
Removing Plaque Daily
Brushing and flossing is very important, as these activities will dislodge plaque from the crevices between your teeth. Brushing also removes this biofilm that harms your enamel. Beyond brushing and flossing daily, you can also use a mouth rinse to help fight the bacteria that causes plaque. The most important thing one can do to remove plaque is to be consistent. Consistently brushing twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and using a mouth rinse from time to time, these are the preventive habits that you can practice at home to prevent the build-up of plaque that turns to tartar.
Pro Tip: Dogs Get Plaque Too, So Brush Your Best Friend’s Teeth
If you have a dog, it’s important to brush their teeth with a toothpaste that is specifically and specially formulated for dogs (i.e: don’t use your Crest on your dog!). Brushing your dog’s teeth daily will help prevent tartar and dental problems down the road.
It’s also important to have your teeth cleaned once every six months to remove any plaque or tartar that you can no longer reach with your toothbrush or floss. Schedule your appointment with Williamsville Family Dentistry today to schedule your next appointment!