Dental plaque is a sticky film that gets formed on your teeth due to the accumulation of bacteria. Keep in mind that the formation of plaque is common in people but it is important that you keep removing it so that the development of cavities, gum diseases and other oral problems can be prevented. The bacteria that form plaque also produce acids which can cause teeth decay. If plaque is not removed and left on the teeth for longer, it can harden and form tartar. Hence, it is very crucial that you understand the causes, the symptoms of plaque and the steps needed to take in order to keep your teeth away from plaque formation.
Symptoms of plaque
The symptoms are not always clear and they may or may not be detected. However, the common symptoms include:
- Bad breath
- Red and swollen gums
- Fuzzy feeling on the teeth
Causes of dental plaque
When you eat food that contains excess carbohydrates and sugar such as soft drinks, cakes, pastry, candy, etc., they get stuck in your teeth and attract bacteria. These bacteria begin to feed on these food particles and produce acids that destroy the tooth enamel. Hence, if you do not brush your teeth and continue to eat such food items, the accumulation of bacteria, acids and leftover food particles can mix to form plaque.
Complications of dental plaque
If dental plaque is not treated on time, it may harden and form tartar which is very difficult to remove without the help of a dentist. Further, if tartar is left on teeth for an extended period, it can lead to the formation of cavities, infection in teeth, tooth loss, bad breath, gum diseases, etc.
Diagnosis of plaque
The diagnosis of plaque begins with an oral examination of the affected area, understanding your medical history, eating habits, etc. The dentist will use a small mirror to examine the severity of the condition.
Treatment of plaque
There have been various advancements and innovations in the field of dentistry but when it comes to plaque, the best step you can take to remove them is by maintaining good oral health. However, if your plaque doesn’t go away after following the above measures, you must visit a dentist who will use special techniques to remove plaque from your teeth. Your dentist may also recommend the use of dental sealants, fluoride treatment methods, etc. to address the issue.
Prevention of dental plaque
- Brush your teeth twice a day using a soft toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride.
- Flossing is the best way to remove food particles stuck in between your teeth. When you floss, you don’t give bacteria a chance to grow.
- Use a good mouthwash and rinse your mouth after every meal. If you use a good antibacterial mouthwash, it will kill the bacteria and prevent the formation of plaque.
- Ensure that you eat a balanced diet and cut down the intake of sugary items and food that contain excess carbohydrates. Fruits and vegetables provide essential nutrients required to fight against diseases and they also attract fewer bacteria.
Interesting facts about dental plaque
- The forming of dental plaque is a natural process and you shouldn’t be worried about it if you are taking the necessary precautions.
- Dental plaque can even form on your artificial teeth.
- Dental plaque can form at any age.
- Almost everyone has a dental plaque but it’s harmless and manageable with the right oral hygiene practices.
- Pregnant women are at a greater risk of developing plaque.
- Olive oil and cranberries can help fight dental plaque. Olive oil creates a layer on your teeth that protects your teeth from the action of bacteria.
Frequently asked questions on dental plaque
- What are dental plaques most commonly caused by?
When you eat food that contains a lot of sugar or carbohydrates, bacteria feed on the leftover food particles, release acids and form plaque.
2. Where is dental plaque most commonly found?
It is usually found between the teeth and behind the teeth but can occur anywhere.
3. What is the main bacteria in dental plaque?
Bacteria that form the biofilm on your teeth are known as Streptococcus mutans.
4. What deficiency causes plaque on teeth?
Vitamin B12 deficiency is known to cause plaque formation.
5. What kills the bacteria that causes plaque?
Brushing and flossing can help a lot but along with that antibacterial mouthwash can also kill bacteria that causes plaque.
This blog has been written after performing in-depth secondary research related to the topic from various articles, blogs, and journals with expertise in writing for healthcare. The content on this page should not be considered a substitute for medical expertise.