Facts About Plaque from Your Silicon Valley Dentist

You know that sticky, fuzzy feeling your teeth get sometimes, usually when you haven’t brushed your teeth in a while? That’s a film of plaque, and it shouldn’t be ignored. As you may already know, plaque is a major contributor to tooth decay and gum disease. Harmful oral bacteria proliferate in plaque, and when food particles interact with these bacteria, they produce acids that attack your tooth enamel and weaken your mouth’s defenses. Luckily, you are not defenseless against plaque. Dr. Randall LaFrom lists more facts you should know about the nemesis that dwells in your mouth.

Facts About Plaque

  • There is no permanent solution to ridding your mouth of plaque. It constantly forms around your teeth, gums, and mucosa (the soft tissue of the mouth). You can, however, prevent it from accumulating by brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing at least once. Some medicated mouthwashes are specifically designed to prevent the buildup of plaque.
  • If allowed to remain for more than 48 hours, plaque will calcify (harden) into tartar, an insoluble substance that cannot be removed by simply brushing and flossing.
  • Plaque doesn’t only form on the visible part of your tooth (the crown), it can also develop and accumulate the below gum line.
  • When bacterial plaque digests refined sugars and other fermentable carbohydrates from the food and drink you consume, it secretes lactic acid over the surfaces of your teeth.
  • When lactic or other acids attack your teeth, they don’t just weaken your enamel. They sap your teeth of enamel-strengthening minerals (calcium and phosphate), preventing the weakened enamel from fortifying itself through remineralization.
  • When plaque accumulates beneath the gum line and secretes lactic acid, the acid attacks the connective tissue that holds your gums and teeth together. The harmful microbes can also lead to alveolar bone degeneration, or the loss of bone in the jaw that anchors your teeth. Gum disease and tooth loss will result if the infection is not treated promptly.

You can help prevent plaque buildup by thoroughly brushing and flossing your teeth. Dr. LaFrom recommends brushing or at least rinsing your mouth with water after a meal, especially after consuming foods with sugar. You should also schedule and attend a comprehensive dental checkup and cleaning at least every six months. Dr. LaFrom can inspect your entire oral cavity for signs of infection, and a professional cleaning will remove any buildup that you may miss during your daily routine.

To learn more about protecting your teeth from plaque buildup, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. LaFrom, contact our Cupertino dentist office at (408) 996-8595. We serve patients from Saratoga, Campbell, Sunnyvale, San Jose, and Santa Clara County.

~ by cupertinodentist on July 11, 2012.

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