What Is Dental Plaque?

What is dental plaque?

Plaque is a soft and sticky biofilm that builds up on your teeth. It contains millions of bacteria that promote changes to take place the minute you put anything in your mouth. Plaque is colorless at first, which is why it is so important to make sure you are thorough when cleaning your teeth through brushing and flossing.

Plaque consists of food particles and saliva. If someone does not remove plaque from his or her teeth, that plaque will turn into tartar. While plaque is soft, it will harden and turn into tartar if one does not remove it on a daily basis. Tartar is a pale yellow or brown, forming between the teeth, along the gumline and even below the gumline. Plaque can lead to cavities, irritation to your gums, gingivitis, gum disease, and excessive bacteria build up.

Removing plaque vs leaving it there/How to remove and eliminate plaque

Removing plaque is a much simpler process than leaving it there, having it turn into tartar, and then having to remove that tartar. Removing tartar has to be done by a dentist, but removing plaque is something you can do at home through a healthy consistent routine of daily brushing and flossing.

Make sure to brush twice a day for two minutes each time and floss at least one time each day. After 24 hours plaque begins to harden and starts to calcify, turning into tartar, which creates much bigger problems. It is imperative that you floss your teeth once a day at minimum. Since brushing your teeth only removes a partial amount of plaque, flossing takes care of what the toothbrush cannot reach.

Regular dental cleanings and checkups are important since plaque and tartar can get below the gumline or reside between teeth; essentially growing in blind spots of the mouth. Once tartar hardens, brushing and flossing cannot remove it. Removing plaque leaves your mouth clean, while also supporting a healthy and protected environment for your teeth, gums and mouth.

Consequences of not properly cleaning plaque off of your teeth

Neglected teeth with that have buildup will also have a direct effect on your immune system. In fact, plaque can lead to inflammation in the body that results in systemic disease and premature aging. Your body can experience exhaustion, spending so much time and energy fighting off all the problems that stem from not having good dental health.

To avoid further irritation, you need to practice better brushing techniques. It is important to brush with a soft bristle brush, angle toward your teeth/gums and use a gentle brush in a circular motion going down and away from the gums.

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