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Causes, Prevention and Treatment of Dental Plaque

Causes, Prevention and Treatment of Dental Plaque

Have you experienced plaque or tartar buildup on your teeth?

Tooth plaque and tartar are a common issue, but can result in a variety of harmful and damaging outcomes if left untreated.To give you a deeper understanding of the causes of dental plaque and tartar buildup, potential long-term effects, and the preventative measures you can take, this article will review and outline frequently asked questions.

What is plaque on teeth?

  • A sticky film that coats your teeth everyday
  • Forms on the teeth everyday and needs to be removed
  • Dental plaque clings to the teeth and gums

What is tartar?

  • Also known as “dental calculus”
  • A hardened buildup of plaque
  • Destroys tooth enamel
  • Can cause gum disease
  • More difficult to remove from the teeth than plaque

What causes tooth plaque?

  • The sugary and starchy foods we consume
  • An excess of bacteria that feed on the sugars and starches on your teeth producing acid in the process
  • Poor dental hygiene

How to prevent dental plaque? 

  • Practicing good oral hygiene
  • Routine dentist visits
  • Well balanced meals

Plaque and tartar treatment and removal

  • Regularly brushing and flossing your teeth
  • Brushing at an angle
  • Use a mouth rinse
  • Dental scaling

What is plaque on teeth?

Everyone is prone to plaque.

Dental plaque is a sticky film that coats your teeth, caused by a buildup of bacteria, saliva and minerals. Healthline describes your mouth as a thriving ecosystem, which needs to stay balanced and well taken care of.

Did you know, that according to the The Journal of Clinical Microbiology, there are more than 700 species of bacteria living in your mouth?

Tooth plaque is sneaky, and likes to hide and stick to hard to reach places like the back molars and on the edges of your gum line on all of your teeth.

An overabundance of bacteria produce harmful acids, that can cause enamel breakdown, irritate your gums, and create holes in your teeth, also known as cavities.

Cavities that are left untreated can lead into an infection in the tooth, also known as a tooth abscess. This can result in further tooth decay, in extreme cases, a potential tooth removal.

What is tartar

Tartar is plaque’s partner in crime – the ultimate dynamic duo.

Over time, tooth plaque builds up and hardens into a substance called tartar or dental calculus; dental calculus is a hard deposit of mineral and plaque build up. My Health Alberta notes that tartar clings to the tooth above and below the gum line, which can lead to gum disease

If you’re wondering what tartar buildup looks like, it may show up on your teeth, gum line, or in between your teeth in shades of yellow or brown.

What causes tooth plaque?

The Cleveland Clinic explains that tooth plaque is commonly caused by sugary and starchy foods that the bacteria in your mouth like to feed on.

The bacteria releases acid that coats your teeth, just 20 minutes after eating, which is why brushing your teeth 2 times a day is a vital preventative measure of combating dental plaque.

How to prevent dental plaque? 

According to Healthline, there are a variety of ways to prevent dental plaque and tartar buildup:

  • Brushing at an angle to get in between your gums and teeth
  • Taking your flossing to the next level with a water flosser to get into those pesky spaces where plaque may be hiding between your teeth
  • Drinking tea, specifically green tea, rather than coffee has been affirmed by the National Library of Medicine as having positive effects towards combating bad breath and cavities
  • Eating a well balanced diet, and including lots of fruits and vegetables
    Try chewing sugar-free gum. The Mayo Clinic notes that chewing xylitol based gum may reduce the risk of potential cavities
  • Avoid chewing or smoking tobacco products
  • Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol 

Plaque and tartar treatment and removal

This may not come as a surprise to you, but the best way to treat and tackle plaque and tartar is by regularly brushing and flossing your teeth.

According to the Journal of International Society of Preventative & Community Dentistry, studies have shown that using an electric toothbrush has proven to be successful in plaque removal and in reducing plaque accumulation.

Regular flossing between your teeth will help to interrupt plaque growth and allow you to get into the hard to reach places that your toothbrush cannot.

To identify dental plaque and tartar build up, the U.S National Library of Medicine suggests using an oral solution that will highlight the areas of the mouth that need additional attention.

Tartar removal may require us to provide a deep cleaning which involves getting your teeth scaled. Healthline notes, that root planing can also help to remove plaque and tartar from the root surface.

Dental scaling involves: scraping away tartar and plaque on teeth, as well as the deposits in between your teeth.

Most importantly, Healthline advises scheduling regular dental check-ups every 6 months. We want to share our tips and tricks to help you fight dental plaque and avoid the formation of tartar on your teeth and gums.

Do you have questions about tooth plaque?

Are your gums red, swollen and bleed when you floss or brush? Do you have chronic bad breath and sensitive teeth? Let us treat and address your symptoms and help you to avoid major complications, like tooth decay and gingivitis.

To book a free consultation, get our professional opinion, or ask any questions, get in touch with us.

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