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Plaque buildup along the gum line

Plaque – What it is and How to Prevent it?

You may already know that it is essential to brush your teeth regularly and follow a good oral hygiene practices to prevent plaque buildup in the mouth. However, do you know what plaque is, exactly? Why it is formed, how it affects your dental health, and why it is important to remove it regularly?

Scroll down to have all your questions answered! Learn all about plaque and read helpful tips for preventing plaque to keep your teeth strong and gums healthy.

What is Plaque and How it is Formed?

Have you ever noticed a thin sticky film around your teeth? That’s plaque! You can feel it by simply moving your tongue over your teeth and it is most prominent when you skip on brushing your teeth. So, what is this sticky film and why does it appear? Well, the plaque is formed due to bacteria that are present in the mouth.

Even if you brush your teeth twice a day, there are still more than 300 different types of bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria work to form plaque all around the clock. In other words, everyone develops plaques. It is always forming and the only way to protect your teeth, gums, and dental health is to remove it regularly by taking proper measures.

Keep in mind that food particles stuck in your mouth encourages these bacteria to produce plaque. The bacteria break downs the food particles and feast on the simple sugar. This sugar consumption allows the bacteria to produce plaque, which is nothing but harmful acids that can harm teeth in multiple ways and promote to the deterioration of your dental health.

Why is it Important to Remove Plaque?

Failing to remove plaque can lead to a number of dental problems. It not only affects the teeth and gums but it can even affect the overall health of your body! This makes it utterly important to remove plaque before it can cause any damage. Here’s a list of dental problems that can arise from plaque buildup in the mouth.

1.    Morning Breath

Have you ever noticed that bad breath is most noticeable in the morning before you get a chance to brush your teeth? This happens due to the nightly buildup of plaque in your mouth. Therefore, whatever you do, make sure you never skip brushing your teeth in the morning. Brushing teeth before hitting the bed at night also helps control plaque formation and, therefore, bad breath.

2.    Chronic Bad Breath

We already know that plaque can cause breath. However, if you experience bad breath even after brushing your teeth, it might be a case of chronic bad breath. While it is possible to develop chronic bad breath due to multiple reasons, the plaque is one of them. It is quite possible that the plaque has hardened or you are not brushing your teeth correctly.

3.    Gum Disease

Sure, plaque is produced around teeth but it accumulates along the gum line, it can damage the gums as well. This can cause your gums to bleed, eventually developing into gum diseases or a bad case of periodontal diseases.

4.    Tooth Decay

The acids released by bacteria attacks the tooth enamel and can result in tooth cavities or infection. Keep in mind that it not only painful to deal with cavities but also quite costly!

5.    Overall Health Problems

Scientists have linked a number of non-dental problems to plaque buildup. Everything we eat goes through the mouth. It has been hypothesized that when there is plaque buildup in the mouth, bacteria can sometimes enter the bloodstream through the foods we eat and cause multiple health issues. Here’s a list of health risks and problems that have been associated with plaque buildup.

  • Dementia
  • Diabetes
  • Premature birth
  • Heart disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Keep in mind that when plaque is not removed regularly, it can harden up and eventually turn into tartar. Tartar is impossible to remove through mere brushing. While you may find a number of remedies to get rid of tartar, once it has developed, it is best to let a dentist deal with the problem. Remember, removing plaque and tartar is crucially important for good oral hygiene and overall health of the body.

How to Prevent Plaque from Forming

Plaque preventing plaque accumulation is always better than having to get it removed by your dentist once things get out of hand. Follow these simple tips to practice healthy oral hygiene and prevent damage caused by plaque buildup.

  • Brush your teeth twice a day and make sure you do it properly. Keep in mind that thorough brushing is required to properly remove plaque.
  • Another way to limit plaque production in the mouth is to cut its source. In other words, mind your diet and try to avoid sugary drinks, sticky snacks, and starchy foods.
  • Flossing is just as important as brushing. Floss daily to remove plaque accumulated between the teeth and along the gum line.
  • Keep in mind that plaque can appear despite following proper dental hygiene. This makes it essential to schedule regular visits to your dentist and have your teeth professionally cleaned when required.
  • Maintain a healthy diet. The kinds of foods you eat impact your dental health. So make sure you consume a balanced diet, which includes all the nutrients required by the body to enjoy exemplary dental health.
  • Regularly use an antibacterial mouthwash to keep the population of bacteria under control.
  • Dental sealants are another great option to prevent plaque However, make sure your dentist recommends it.

When it comes to dental health, a little care can go a long way and prevention is always better than cure. So make sure you follow these tips to prevent plaque and keep it from affecting your health!


Dr Hassan El Awour


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