Is Plaque Buildup on Teeth Harmful?
What is dental plaque? Is it the same thing as tartar? Is this something dangerous for your oral health, or is it harmless? Many people are curious about plaque buildup, and it is quite easy to spot. But it can pose a great risk if left untreated.
Having regular checkups, using teeth whitening products, brushing, and flossing can help you avoid the condition in the first place. But there are still a couple of things you should know about this condition and what it might represent.
What Is Dental Plaque on Teeth?
Dental plaque is a layer of bacteria that accumulates on teeth. While it is perfectly normal to produce plaque, the situation can easily get out of hand. And without regular cleanings, it can lead to a variety of dental problems.
You can easily see whether you have a plaque buildup on your teeth, but if you are unsure, you can always visit your dentist. They will be able to provide more details and inform you whether there is something you need to do about it.
Why Does it Appear?
Whenever you eat or drink something, bacteria will start accumulating on your teeth. And if you don’t focus on daily brushing and flossing, the layer of tartar will increase. You will need to put extra attention on cleaning to eliminate the build-up and prevent it from hardening in the process.
Fortunately, plaque is easy to remove. But if you wait too long, the layer will harden and become tartar. In that case, you won’t be able to brush it away. You will need professional cleaning to remove the layer.
It is quite easy to notice the layer of bacteria on your teeth. Usually, it will appear near the root of the tooth (on the gum line), and it will have a yellowish color. Keep in mind that some foods and drinks can darken the plaque making it even easier to spot.
If you consume coffee, wine, or tea, or if you use tobacco-based products, the color of the plaque will change. Common symptoms of dental plaque include swollen gums, bad breath, and a noticeable layer on your teeth.
You will be able to feel it with your tongue, and your gums can also bleed after brushing.
Is It Harmful?
As mentioned earlier, having plaque on your teeth is perfectly normal. Foods and drinks will leave traces in your mouth, and it is a natural process. But the problem will arise if you don’t brush your teeth regularly.
Your goal is to remove this layer of plaque as soon as it appears. And continue removing it on a daily basis. Otherwise, the layer will harden and you won’t be able to remove it on your own. Naturally, the condition will worsen the longer you wait, and it will lead to additional problems.
Since the layer of bacteria is already on the tooth, the bacteria will slowly eat through the enamel. And once it reaches the inner part of the tooth, it can cause irreparable damage. The damage can lead to cavities and tooth loss.
Dental plaque (and tartar) can also lead to gingivitis as well as other forms of gum diseases, dental abscesses, inflammation, and so on.
So, the sooner you address the condition the better. Once again, acting on time will make all the difference in the world. And even if tartar appears on your teeth, your dentist will be able to remove it in no time.
The most important thing when it comes to oral health is prevention. You need to focus on avoiding the problem in the first place. And with healthy habits, you won’t need to worry about dental plaque.
The first thing on your list is to floss on a daily basis. Your goal is to remove food particles stuck between your teeth (and along the gum line), and flossing is the most effective way to reach places where you can’t normally reach during brushing.
Needless to say, you still need to brush your teeth at least twice a day, but that is just the beginning. In case you are unable to brush or floss your teeth after a meal, you can always chew sugarless gum. And if you are wondering which one is a good option, try finding one that has the ADA (American Dental Association) Seal of Approval.
Making a change in your diet can also improve your oral health, especially if you eliminate sugary and acidic foods and drinks. All of this will remove the amount of plaque and help you avoid this problem in the future.
Finally, many doctors suggest that people who smoke cigarettes and use any type of tobacco-based products are more likely to develop tartar. And if you are interested in prevention, you should quit this dangerous habit.
How To Clean It?
In case you already see a layer of plaque on your teeth, you should be able to remove it with a toothbrush. But if the layer is too hard, the only option would be to visit your dentist. Professional cleaning can remove plaque buildup in no time, and the dentist will be able to provide more details about your oral health.
Keep in mind that having regular checkups can also improve your condition, and your dentist will be able to remove it as it appears. It is highly recommended to have a regular checkup every six months, and it will also help you catch any dental problem as soon as it appears.
What To Do?
The only thing you need to do is focus on improving your oral hygiene. But if you already have problems with tartar, the first thing you should do is talk to your dentist. Having a layer of bacteria on your teeth can lead to cavities, and it is something you should address as soon as possible.