Most people have heard of the word “plaque,” and know it’s not something you want on your teeth. Yet, they don’t know what exactly plaque is or how plaque contributes to dental decay.
What is plaque?
Plaque is a sticky, colorless ﬁlm of bacteria that lives on the surface of your teeth and along the gumline. It accumulates from normal daily activities such as eating and drinking, especially if you’ve been consuming a lot of sugars and starches.
How to tell if teeth have plaque
It’s easy for most people to tell they have plaque on their teeth. In fact, you’ve probably sensed that you had plaque on your teeth before, whether you realized it or not.
Ever had that fuzzy feeling on your teeth that goes away after you give them a good brush? Yep, that’s plaque.
Why is plaque bad?
Plaque is what contributes to dental decay, as bacteria like to consume the sugars in your mouth and excrete acids that wear away at your tooth enamel.
When you don’t regularly brush and ﬂoss away plaque, it forms tartar. Tartar is the calciﬁed substance on your teeth that only a professional cleaning can remove.
How to remove plaque
There are three key steps everyone should take to avoid plaque buildup.
1. Brush thoroughly with ﬂuoride toothpaste at least twice a day.
2. Floss at least once a day to remove plaque that your brush can’t reach.
3. Visit a dentist for your regular dental cleanings.