Tooth Plaque: Causes, Prevention, Treatment

A sticky colorless biofilm on the teeth caused by bacteria in the mouth is referred to as plaque. Ignoring plaque however leads to the formation of tartar which increases the risk of cavities and gum disease. In extreme cases bacteria from plaque spreads further to other organs like lungs and heart.

What Causes Plaque?

When bacteria in the mouth starts collecting at the gum line and spreads to surface of teeth, plaque starts developing. It is considered normal until bacteria combines with sugary and starchy foods such as soft drinks, milk, cakes, candy, chocolates, etc. and produce acids. The acids eat away your tooth’s enamel eventually leading to tooth decay. If this is not taken care of immediately, it progresses to pulp of the tooth which may lead to the development of abscess inside the tooth.

Treatment Of Plaque
Dental plaque requires immediate attention and a professional dental cleaning session will be required. Scaling and root planning are procedures meant for the removal of dental plaque and tartar. These procedures remove the byproducts of bacteria, prevent tartar from building up and smooth out the root surfaces of teeth.

Prevention Of Plaque

  • The best way to prevent plaque is to get rid of it as soon as it forms. Brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day makes teeth stronger and prevents cavities.
  • Limit the consumption of sugary foods to prevent bacteria from spreading.
  • Use round-tip soft bristle brushes and swap them for new ones after every 2 to 3 months.
  • Try to stimulate the production of saliva as it helps to rinse bacteria off your teeth. For this you can rinse after every meal or chew a piece of sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after eating food.
  • Regular dental visits are also necessary to prevent plaque and tartar from forming and spreading. During dental visits, the tartar is scraped away and your teeth are thoroughly examined for cavities or gum disease. Ask your dentist if you can use sealants for an added layer of protection. Dental experts recommend visiting a dentist every 6 to 12 months.
  • After brushing, use an antibacterial mouthwash to get rid any bacterial residue.
  • Eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet for healthy and strong teeth. Increase the intake of colorful crunchy veggies and fruits. Cucumbers, apples, carrots, turnips, celery etc. are examples of teeth-friendly fruits and veggies. They help remove food particles from in between the teeth and neutralize the acids that cause plaque. Limit the number of snacks you take and try to opt for healthy snacks when you crave something.

For more information, contact Enamel Dentistry at (512) 717-5315.