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Why Plaque is Bad for Your Teeth

Thursday - 06/24/2021


Toothpaste companies advertise their product's ability to fight plaque and control tartar. But what is dental plaque anyway? Here we cover dental plaque, the dental problems it can cause and how you can prevent plaque build-up.  

What is dental plaque?

Plaque plays a big part in causing tooth decay. When you wake up in the morning, do your teeth feel sticky or fuzzy? This happens because a layer of plaque has formed on your teeth overnight. Plaque is a sticky, clear film that constantly develops on teeth.  

Plaque is bad for your teeth because it contains cavity-causing bacteria. When you eat sugary or starchy foods, or drink sugary drinks, the sugars in these foods mix with plaque. The bacteria in the plaque use these sugars to create an acid. When acid forms, it slowly eats away at tooth enamel, compromising the strength and health of your teeth. This can lead to cavities or cause existing cavities to grow larger.  

What is tartar? 

If plaque isn't removed with regular brushing and flossing, it may harden after a few days. Hardened plaque is called tartar.  

If tartar develops above the gum line, your gum tissue may swell and bleed easily. This is a symptom of gingivitis, which is an early stage of gum disease. Tartar is also called ‘calculus’. Tartar forming below the gumline may lead to loss of the bone supporting your teeth.  This is periodontal disease. 

Tartar is difficult to remove and usually requires treatment by a dental professional. 

Can dental plaque cause bad breath? 

Yes. The bacteria in plaque can cause bad breath. 

Can dental plaque cause heart disease? 

Some studies show a correlation between gum disease and heart disease. Gum disease can cause bacteria to enter the blood stream, setting up an inflammatory response which can allow arteries to build up atherosclerotic plaque and cause hardening of the arteries. This can lead to blood flow issues, heart blockages and an increased risk of having a heart attack. 

What will remove dental plaque? 

Brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day, flossing daily and regular visits to your dentist can help prevent plaque and tartar buildup. 

A regular at-home oral hygiene routine can do wonders in keeping your mouth and body healthy, and your smile bright.  

Did you know...

More than 1 in 4 people have untreated tooth decay

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Advantage Dental Oral Health Center

This blog is designed to provide general information and discussions about health and dental-related subjects. No doctor/dentist to patient relationship is established by your use of this blog or website. We are not providing any treatment or diagnosis on this blog, and it is not intended to offer specific dental or medical advice to anyone. The information or other content provided in this blog is not a substitute for professional dental expertise or treatment. We will do our best to provide you with information that will help you make your own healthcare decisions, however no guarantees or warranties are made regarding any of the information contained within this blog. If you have questions about any of the information presented on this blog, you should consult with your dentist. The dentists at Advantage Dental+ are licensed to practice in the states of Alabama, Massachusetts, Oregon and Washington and this blog is not intended to solicit patients from other states. External links may be provided on this blog as a service and convenience to our patients and other visitors to our blog. These external sites are created and maintained by other public and private organizations, and we do not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance or timeliness of any outside information.