If you run your tongue along your teeth and feel a fuzziness, that’s dental plaque. Everyone is subject to plaque and though it is annoying, it’s a normal occurrence. To help you combat the effects of plaque and prevent it from causing harm to your smile, our Cadillac, MI, dentists are here to help.
Here’s the definition of dental plaque, what happens if you don’t remove it from your teeth, and what you can do for improved oral health.
In short, plaque is bacteria buildup. It typically manifests as a soft, sticky film on your teeth largely caused by the combination of saliva, food, and fluids. The bacteria that makes up plaque produces acids every time you eat or drink something. If removed in a timely manner, plaque is manageable. When it’s left untreated, however, not so much.
Aside from forming on your teeth, plaque also likes to collect near the gum line and under the gums on the tooth roots. When the latter happens, your smile is at risk. The best solution is generally to undergo the scaling and root planing procedure. This involves our dentists cleaning above and below the gum line to remove plaque.
The number one way you will be tipped off to plaque on teeth is the feeling. The aforementioned stickiness is hard to ignore and is more likely when you have gone a while without brushing or flossing your teeth. Maybe it’s 5 pm in the evening and you last brushed around 7:30 am. Eating and drinking throughout the day will bring about plaque.
Though plaque can be a pale yellow as mentioned above, it can also be colorless. Of course, this can make it difficult to see unless you are one of our dentists who have access to small dental mirrors. When in doubt, brush and floss for clean results.
Plaque does not have to stay on your teeth forever. It can and should be removed as soon as you’re able to limit the harmful effects. When plaque does sit around for a while and daily oral hygiene isn’t practiced properly, it turns into tartar which is a more hardened version.
Getting rid of plaque is easier when it’s just that, plaque. Once it hardens into tartar, you’ll need the help (and tools) of our hygienists. The main items you need to remove plaque at home include a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and a mouthwash.
Our dentists recommend all patients brush their teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and floss once daily. Following those activities up with a mouthwash is a bonus. In addition to at-home oral care, we also encourage you to receive a professional teeth cleaning every 6 months in our Cadillac, MI, dental office.
You have the power to handle plaque and keep your smile clean. Our dentists in Cadillac, MI, are also here to assist you in removing the sticky film as well as any tartar that may have accumulated. Call LifeSmiles Dentistry today at (231) 775-8281 to request an appointment.