Plaque 101

At this point, you’ve probably heard warnings about plaque. Still, I see a lot of patients in Merrillvile and Munster who have been misinformed about what plaque actually is and what it does to your mouth. Here’s a quick breakdown of this gross and troublesome buildup, as well as some tips for how you can prevent or reduce it in your life. As always, if you have any questions about dental hygiene, don’t hesitate to reach out or set up an appointment to discuss it in greater detail. We’re happy to help!

What Is Plaque?

Plaque is incredibly common. In fact, it’s hard to find an individual who does not deal with it on a regular basis. You might notice a film on your teeth after you eat, drink, or forget to brush your teeth. That’s because plaque develops as sugars and bacteria are introduced into your mouth and stick around on your pearly whites. Simply, plaque is a clear and sticky coating that rests on the surface of your teeth until you remove it through brushing and flossing.

What Does It Mean For Your Health?

If plaque is not removed in a timely manner, it can build up and turn into hard tartar. Plaque is also a big cause gum disease. If left ignored, this can lead to more extensive damage to your roots and gums and even require tooth extraction and replacement. If you notice significant redness, swelling, or bleeding on or around your gums, it’s important that you quickly have it evaluated by a dentist. Plaque buildup also puts you at risk for an increase in cavities, which can be painful and often require drilling and filling. Remember that when cavities are small, they are much easier and less expensive to treat.

How Can You Avoid It?

It’s difficult to avoid plaque completely, but you can reduce its damage by brushing and flossing regularly and avoiding starchy or sugary foods that can increase your odds of developing more extensive build up. There are many toothpastes that specialize in tackling and reducing plaque. If you have questions about which brand or specialization is best for your mouth and oral health needs, we would be happy to have a conversation about what you should choose. Additionally, it’s important that you schedule and attend regular professional dental screenings and cleanings. During appointments, we target your teeth with descaling agents and remove plaque with specialized tools that simply can’t be matched in your home bathroom. Because dental decay from plaque build up is not always physically obvious, we will also take a closer look at your mouth using x-rays during an exam. This helps us ensure that there is no hidden dental decay between your teeth.

Plaque might seem like a small thing upfront, but it can cause major problems in the long run if you avoid removing it. By tackling it early, you can prevent problems from happening down the line. Start now, and don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it.

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