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Every Dentist Needs Your Help Keeping Your Teeth Healthy


3 Important Facts About Dental Plaque

Dental plaque is one of the sneakiest and most harmful threats to the health of your teeth. Yet in spite of that fact, many people still struggle to formulate a clear understanding of dental plaque. If you would like to improve your knowledge of oral hygiene, read on. This article will present three important facts you may not have known about dental plaque.

Plaque is not made up of just one type of bacteria.

Many people mistakenly believe that dental plaque is the name of a single type of bacteria. In fact, dental plaque is a physical substance that builds up on the outsides of your teeth. Colorless, sticky, and soft, it is made up of things such as:

  • food particles
  • dead cells
  • saliva

This substance provides an ideal breeding ground for as many as 400 different types of micro-organisms. Most of these are species of bacteria, and most of those bacteria are relatively harmless. Yet a few of them pose a serious threat to your teeth. When allowed to thrive undisturbed, they will begin to chew away the enamel on your teeth, eventually leading to cavities and other forms of decay.

Plaque is constantly forming in your mouth.

Like it or not, there is simply no way to completely eliminate plaque from your mouth. Within minutes of brushing your teeth, plaque will have begun to form again--even if you haven't eaten anything. That's because saliva contains a class of substance known as glycoproteins. These attach themselves to your teeth, forming a precursor to plaque known as dental pellicle.

This layer of pellicle doesn't pose any threat on its own. Yet it does allow bacteria to latch onto your teeth. There they slowly accumulate and grow. If you wait too long to clean your teeth again, the pellicle will gradually turn into plaque. This is why regular dental hygiene is paramount in preserving the integrity of your teeth.

Plaque destroys your teeth indirectly, through the production of acids.

Plaque is most dangerous when it has built up into a layer deep enough to allow the growth of anaerobic bacteria. These bacteria thrive in environments where they are protected from direct exposure to oxygen. Anaerobic bacteria live by breaking down sugars and starches present into the plaque. In the process they produce a variety of acids.

These acids have a highly negative effect on the enamel of your teeth, which they weaken through a process known as demineralization. Once the protective layer of enamel has been compromised, cavities soon follow. When untreated, such decay will eventually lead to even more painful problems, such as pulpitis. 

To learn more, contact a dental clinic like Schererville Family Dentistry, PC.

About Me

Every Dentist Needs Your Help Keeping Your Teeth Healthy

When I was a child and teenager, I always left the dentist's office with the great feeling of having no cavities. When I went away to college out-of-state, I had to switch to a new dentist in my area. It seemed like I was suddenly getting cavities and started wonder what my new dentist "was doing wrong". When I spoke to my mother about it, she reminded me that the reason I never had cavities when I was living it home was because she always made sure my siblings and I brushed and flossed daily and didn't eat too much sugar. I then realized that my late-night study sessions drinking sugary soda and my suddenly bad brushing habits were the true causes of my cavities. I have since learned a lot more about dental health I am eager to share with anyone who needs the advice!

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