What Is Plaque?
Plaque is a clear sticky layer that forms inside your mouth. A variety or bacteria forms a microenvironment within the plaque. The growth and removal of this bacteria has a direct connection to your health.
Acid is released from the biofilm and can break down your enamel, which leads to cavities (decay). Without proper removal, the coating converts into tartar, also known as calculus. Once plaque hardens into tartar, it becomes difficult to remove and the chance of gingivitis and periodontal disease increases.
What Are The Components?
Dental plaque is primarily composed of water; however, solidified plaque can contain about 70% bacteria. Common bacteria found in plaque is Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacilli. These bacteria break down and feed off the starches and sugars left over in your mouth.
People who consume high amounts of sugar (candy and soda), dairy products, and carbohydrates may be prone to accelerated plaque formation.
Where Is It?
Plaque forms within 4-12 hours after brushing the crowns of your teeth (the visible 1/3 of your teeth). If you run your tongue over the surface of your teeth and it feels textured- that is plaque.
Additionally, plaque can accumulate above the gums (supragingival) and below the gums (subgingival). Supragingival plaque can be removed by brushing twice a day for two minutes. Flossing is highly beneficial because it removes plaque from in-between your teeth as well as below the gum line. Plaque that hardens subgingivally will have to be removed by a registered hygienist or dentist. Scheduling bi-annual cleanings is important to maintain good oral health and prevent diseases caused by plaque.
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