We’ve got good news and bad news. First, the bad news — plaque is always forming on your teeth. This sticky film comes from bacteria in your mouth. And, when ignored it can cause serious problems.
Now for the good news. Good oral hygiene habits can get rid of plaque and protect your overall health in the process.
Dr. Ana M. Chester at Chester Family Dentistry in Warren, Ohio, regularly removes plaque from her patients’ teeth. Read on to find out how plaque impacts your teeth, how to prevent it, and what steps to take to remove it before it causes problems.
Three dangers of plaque
Everyone has some plaque. In fact, if you’ve ever felt like your teeth were “fuzzy,” you’ve experienced plaque in action. The problem with plaque occurs when it’s ignored, which can lead to numerous issues, such as:
1. Damaged enamel, decay, and cavities
Plaque that sits on your teeth for prolonged periods causes repeated attacks on your enamel. Over time, this eats away at the protective covering of your teeth, causing it to weaken and deteriorate. This increases your chances of holes, cavities, and teeth that appear yellow.
2. Gum inflammation and infection
When ignored, plaque can build up on your teeth and below your gums, triggering tissue inflammation and infection — a condition known as gum disease.
An early sign of gum disease involves bleeding gums when you brush. As your condition worsens, your gums start pulling away from your teeth, causing your teeth to become loose and eventually fall out.
3. Tooth loss
Finally, plaque, infection, and inflammation can penetrate the roots and bones that support your teeth. These structural changes significantly increase your risk of tooth loss.
As if these three dangers weren’t enough, plaque in your mouth can also affect your entire body. That’s because it can enter your bloodstream, increasing your chances of serious health conditions, including heart disease.
Reducing your risk of plaque
Since the main culprit of plaque involves bacteria, you may feel tempted to use antibacterial mouthwashes and toothpaste to eliminate it. However, studies suggest that eradicating numerous types of bacteria in your mouth (both good and bad) doesn’t help solve the issue.
Instead, it’s key to reduce plaque through everyday habits, such as:
- Flossing daily
- Brushing twice daily
- Chewing sugarless gum
- Eating healthy, nutrient-rich foods low in sugar and starch
- Getting regular professional cleanings and dental checkups
Getting enough calcium can also protect your teeth, but you should consume it with vitamin K2, which ensures calcium transportation to your bones. Dr. Chester can offer personalized guidance on whether you need additional calcium.
What to do if you have a plaque problem
Unfortunately, once plaque hardens on your teeth — a substance known as tartar — you can’t address it at home with good brushing and flossing. But Dr. Chester can help.
While plaque is very damaging to your teeth and gums, it can be removed in just one office visit. Dr. Chester can also identify and treat other dental issues at the same time, like gum disease and cavities.
Have you had a professional cleaning recently? Don’t ignore plaque on your teeth — schedule an appointment at Chester Family Dentistry today to protect your oral and overall health.