What is Plaque?
October 31, 2016
Plaque is a dangerous substance that accumulates throughout the body and leaves a path of destruction. Plaque that builds up in the arteries prevents a healthy supply of blood from reaching the heart and the rest of the body. Plaque that builds up in the mouth coats the teeth in a constant assault and leaves the teeth vulnerable to decay, disease, and tooth loss.
On any given day, there are millions of bacteria that can be found inside your mouth. Sounds like something out of a horror movie, doesn’t it? Well, these bacteria are present with the intent of helping your mouth. These bacteria congregate around the tiny particles left behind inside your mouth after you eat and drink anything besides water. However, as these bacteria congregate in large numbers, their “helpfulness” quickly turns into destruction. As the bacteria go to work at breaking down left behind particles, they begin producing acids to assist them. It is these acids that wreak havoc on the mouth.
Dental plaque is made up entirely of bacteria and acids, and as it coats the teeth throughout the day, it is constantly assaulting your teeth and gums. If you have ever run your tongue over your teeth at the end of the day and felt a fuzzy film, then you know just how much plaque can accumulate on the teeth in a single day. The acids within dental plaque work like any other acids, in that they will eat their way through whatever is in their path – this being your tooth enamel and gum tissues. This is what makes plaque so dangerous to your oral health. Cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss are direct results of dental plaque.
Dental floss is the most important tool in your oral hygiene. Dental floss is the only tool specifically designed to remove plaque from the teeth, yet it is often the most neglected. While brushing your teeth twice a day is important, dental floss is even more important. The bristles of the toothbrush cannot remove plaque from the teeth, but dental floss is designed to glide underneath the plaque and scrape it away. Daily removal of plaque is essential in preventing it from accumulating in large amounts and assaulting the teeth in dangerous amounts. Also, if the scraping done by the dentist is your least favorite part of a dental visit, flossing at home is your best prevention.
At Heritage Dental, we want to encourage our patients to take dental plaque seriously. We encourage you to floss on a daily basis in order to prevent plaque from building up on your teeth and compromising your oral health.