Plaque: Definition, Causes and Prevention


Did you know that plaque, a sticky film filled with harmful bacteria, can wreak havoc on your oral health if left unchecked? Plaque is the main culprit behind cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease. By practicing good oral hygiene habits like brushing and flossing, you can easily remove plaque and maintain a healthy smile.

What is Plaque?

Plaque is a colorless film of bacteria that forms on the surface of your teeth and gums. The bacteria in plaque feed on the sugars in the food you eat and produce acids that can erode your teeth’s enamel, leading to cavities and tooth decay. Plaque can also cause inflammation of the gums, which can progress to the more severe form of gum disease, called periodontitis. Therefore, it is essential to practice good oral hygiene habits to avoid plaque build-up.

While brushing and flossing are effective ways to remove plaque, there are also other ways to reduce the build-up of plaque. For example, consuming a healthy diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals can help strengthen your teeth and gums. Foods that are high in sugar and starches should be avoided as they can feed the bacteria in plaque. Chewing sugarless gum after meals can also help stimulate the production of saliva, which can neutralize the acids.

It is important to note that plaque can quickly harden into tartar, which is harder to remove and requires a dental professional’s intervention. Tartar build-up can lead to gum disease and tooth loss if left untreated. Therefore, regular visits to your dentist for check-ups and cleanings are essential to maintain good oral health. Your dentist will use special tools to remove tartar from your teeth and gums and provide advice on how to prevent its re-occurrence.

In addition to regular dental visits, there are a few things you can do at home to maintain your oral health. Firstly, brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for two minutes each time. Secondly, floss your teeth at least once a day to remove plaque from between your teeth. Finally, rinse your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash to kill any remaining bacteria.

In conclusion, plaque is a frequent problem faced by many people, and it can lead to various oral health issues. By adhering to good oral hygiene habits like brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits, you can prevent or reduce plaque build-up. Besides, a healthy diet and avoiding foods that are high in sugar and starches can also help reduce the formation of plaque. By saying goodbye to plaque and hello to a plaque-free life, you can enjoy a healthy smile for years to come.

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