What exactly is dental plaque and why is it a problem for our health?

Plaque is a soft substance of a color between white and yellow that is formed by the accumulation of bacteria, food debris, remains of proteins and saliva that is deposited on the surface of the teeth and the gum.

In the dental plaque some bacteria that are part of the microorganisms of the mouth are concentrated. Although not all are harmful, some can degrade the sugars in the food we eat and transform them into acids that attack our teeth, destroying tooth enamel and causing tooth decay.

This accumulation of plaque can also cause other problems such as gingivitis. In addition, if it is not removed in time and remains for a long time on our teeth, it can mineralize and can trigger tartar formation or dental calculus. Once turned into tartar, it can no longer be removed by brushing and will require professional cleaning by a dentist in order to remove it.

Bacteria are present in all mouths. In fact, we have more than 1000 different species of bacteria in the mouth. Plaque is constantly formed because bacteria are always present in the oral cavity and because we do not eliminate it properly with oral hygiene. To grow and develop, bacteria feed on waste from our diet and saliva. If this is repeated for a long time, destroys tooth enamel and causes tooth decay. Plaque can cause tooth decay and gingivitis. When it evolves, if gingivitis is not treated, it can cause periodontitis, which already leads to the destruction of the supporting tissues of the teeth and can even cause tooth loss.

That said, it is clear that keeping dental plaque at bay is essential to enjoy a healthy and beautiful smile.

What should we do to prevent the plaque from accumulating?

  • It is essential to brush your teeth after each meal and especially at night, before bedtime. It is important to give it the attention it deserves, choose the toothpaste most appropriate for your type of teeth and dedicate the necessary time to reach each tooth.
  • When finishing brushing, we must not forget brushing the tongue.
  • Brushing alone is not enough to remove all dental plaque, since we do not reach the interdental spaces, so it is important to complement it with dental floss or interdental brushes and mouthwash. Also, using mouthwash is substantial to remove and kill al the remaining bacteria and also to provide a fresh breath.
  • Visit your dentist. The most advisable thing is to visit it twice a year to check that everything is going well and that you enjoy good oral health. In addition, it is important that we perform a professional cleaning that ensures the removal of all plaque and tartar. The dentist and hygienist are the most suitable people to offer you specific advice and they will know what is best for your particular case.

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